We are now well into the second day of 2016 which means the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned and are well on their way to being forgotten.
Many of us have experimented with resolutions and I’m sure the majority would agree we don’t stick with them because a) they were made impulsively, b) not much thought was given to either strategy or execution and c) at the time they were made, New Year’s Eve seemed a long way off.
In addition to posting this blog every Saturday I have, for the past several years, been posting a second blog each Wednesday morning.
My Wednesday blog has a theme: it is about habits and the process has been to write about one habit for three consecutive weeks and then switch to another.
This past Wednesday I introduced a new habit – The Habit of Finishing What You Start – and if, in fact, New Years resolutions are worthy of pursuit then the one resolution that will benefit all of us should we choose to focus on it, is to resolve to finish would we start.
Most, if not all of us have set out to achieve some type of goal, be it a physical one like losing weight, getting in shape or quitting smoking, a financial one like becoming better managers of our own finances, personal improvement and development goals like spending less time devouring brain candy (watching TV) and more time reading to improve our knowledge, only to find our interest wane, our commitment to the importance of our goal diminish, our enthusiasm evaporate and our efforts cease.
We humans have remarkable ability for justification and can easily make a case for why quitting our efforts was the right thing to do but, the sad truth is that many of us are far better starters than finishers and finishing what we start is not always part of our DNA.
The problem with being a strong starter and a weak finisher is that overtime we become more and more disillusioned with ourselves and we progress from being regular starters and finishers to seldom starters and poor finishers and eventually we simply become non-starters.
Non-starting is the point we frequently reach when our history of starting but not finishing has led us to conclude that there is no sense in even trying further.
The truth is the past does not equal the future and previous experiences of starting and not finishing should have no bearing on our future activities.
If there is one resolution I urge all to adopt starting right now, it is to make finishing what we start an irreplaceable ritual in our everyday lives.
Too often when we start out in pursuit of a new goal or objective we do so by gingerly placing one toe in the water to gauge the temperature, then another, then perhaps one foot, then both feet and by delicately entering the water a little bit at a time we soon decide it is too cold and climb back out again.
Dabbling in anything is a sure-fire way of not finishing what we start. If we set a goal and are serious about truly attaining it, we must take the plunge, dive head first into the water regardless of the temperature and stay there, committed and determined, for as long as it takes to reach our objective.
And when we do this, we learn an interesting lesson. As cold and uninviting as the water initially seems to be, the longer we stay in the water and the more we move around, the more comfortable it becomes and the longer we can stay.
The same is true in pursuing goals. The first while can feel overwhelming while producing little in the way of results. Just like the cold water, we are tempted to climb out but the longer we stick with it, the easier it becomes and eventually the goal we are seeking comes into sight.
This can never happen when we fail to finish what we start and, regardless of the temptation to climb out of the water, if we keep reminding ourselves why we dived in the first place and if we hold true to a promise to be not only good starters but great finishers, it won’t take long before our lives change in ways we have long desired.
Finish what you start – it really is the answer.
Happy New Year.
Till we read again.
Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think.
Your opinion truly means a lot to me.