For a lot of people starting things is easy. That’s because the beginning of something new is usually exciting, it’s fresh, it’s easy to be interested in it.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
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Finishing What You Start
How is that some people are able to always finish what they start? What differentiates the finishers, so to speak, from those that quit and give up?
The difference lies in the loss of motivation and our inherent desire to seek pleasure as opposed to pain.
The fact is, when a goal is new, it’s exciting. We get amped and juiced, breathing new air into our lives as we decide to go after that lofty dream. But what happens over time is no surprise. We lose that initial zeal. We hit some roadblocks. We reach some plateaus. And ultimately, we give up.
So why is it so hard to finish what you start?
Whether they’re big or small, following through with something is difficult, especially considering that we’re creatures of habit. Most of us are set in our ways, so our default mode is to return to our old habits and routines.
“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ―Sean Covey
What Holds Us Back From Finishing?
The question then becomes, “What’s really holding us back from finishing what we’ve started?”
These questions plagued me for some time. I used to be incapable of finishing what I started, or so I thought.
I felt like the newer projects were more exciting. The newer goals were more alluring than something that I had started but hadn’t quite finished yet.
Part of the time, the problem was that I felt I either couldn’t finish the project or achieve the goal. And, other times, the feeling was one of diminished newness.
But when I really started to think about things in depth, I had to question my very existence and why I did the things that I did.
What I came to realize was – my daily actions were once unsupportive of my goals. And since 40% of what we do on a daily basis is habit-driven, what I came to realize was, it was my habits that were holding me back from finishing things I had chosen to start.
Ultimately, this taught me two things:
- It is possible to finish what you start even when you start losing interest.
- In order to rekindle interest in something, you need to look at why you started it in the first place and return to that mindset.
So the epiphany became: If you want to finish what you start, work on building up a set of good habits that are supportive of your goals, your hopes, and your dreams while working on eliminating the bad habits that hold you back.
Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. – Napoleon Hill
The Finishing Habits
The people that can finish what they start have what I like to call Finishing Habits. They’re the habits that allow some people to keep pressing towards their goals without relenting.
Overcome “Planning Fallacy” By Setting Interim Goals
This is a concept first studied by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. According to these two psychologists, it is
a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed.
In other words, everything takes longer than you think it does. So, you probably got to a certain point in your project and were dismayed that you were not at the end yet.
Start by setting small goals, then start big. Or, break your one big goal into small parts (like lego pieces) Build your lego taking your time and making certain adjustments.
Get Specific About Your Next Three Steps
With an interim goal in mind, you don’t need to plan out every step between now and done. But create a concrete plan for the next three steps. The next few things that will move you forward. They need to be specific. And you need to set a time for each of them.
As for example, I am planning to write my exam by the end of this month. I surely have to start planning my study schedules before-hand as to lessen my load for the night before the exam date. It won’t assure me A Grade performance, but it will surely keep me 3 steps ahead in my planning and preparation.
Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. – Warren Buffett
Prepare For When It Will Get Hard
We all know that every project will reach a point that gets hard. It happens to all of us, every time. We hit an obstacle. And we don’t know what to do. So we move on to something else.
As for example, I still remember that in June, one night, I read the climate would be terrible the next morning and there would be heavy rains. I prepared my mind for my morning walk. If it did actually rain, I was prepared to exercise at home.
So, I knew in advance what my options were. I didn’t see the rain, get discouraged, and go back to bed. I knew what to do. I knew how to keep going.
Any act often repeated soon forms a habit; and habit allowed, steady gains in strength, At first it may be but as a spider’s web, easily broken through, but if not resisted it soon binds us with chains of steel. Tryon Edwards
Remember What Excites You About Reaching Your Goal
All projects are shiny and exciting at the beginning. We all dream of what the end will be like. How rewarding it will be. How proud.
Then you are in the middle. The middle overflows with details. Small tasks. Next steps that don’t seem to lead you anywhere specific. You lose sight of where you are going. Because it all seems intertwined with your daily life.
Find a tangible way to remind yourself of your goal. Like the morning walk example I mentioned before, I reminded myself of an upcoming weekend trip. Sitting in a sun-soaked warm porch and amazing tan skin drinking a cold drink. The sense of pride, and accomplishment.
Make sure you check in with your specific vision. Keep it in mind as you execute on the tasks ahead.
Planning for the near term, while remembering the big picture can be a delicate balance. Most of us are good at one or the other, but not both. Keep that in mind as you forge ahead. Remember who you are, and what are your strengths.
And remember, with the right framework plus the right mindset, anything is possible.
Feel free to ask any questions or share your ideas in the comment section below. Alternately, I’d really appreciate for you to share this content on your social media platform if you found it useful so that others can benefit from it too. If you have any doubts or want a personal clarification, send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more inspiration, fun, and smiles, follow me on Instagram
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—–Have Hope. Keep Faith—–
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