Ever noticed how just when you're about to finish something- a project, a goal, the finish line, you want to quit? And it takes as much effort to do that last final push as it did to do all the work to get there combined!
This is something I've seen happen in my life again and again. I notice it when I go for my morning run. Toward the end, I just want to stop and walk and I have to push through and force myself to "finish strong."
Or maybe I spend hours working on an article and then never actually send it to the publisher. Sound familiar? We all do it - in subtle or more obvious ways. And once we know this is a potential pitfall for success, how do we get ourselves to push through?
From a developmental perspective, what's going on is that we're expanding ourselves.
It isn't until the completion of something that we gain a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and breakthrough. When we prevent ourselves from finishing, we cheat ourselves of that expansion, that new skill acquisition or accomplishment, landing us back where we started.
So, if we know this trait may pop up in our lives, how do we deal with it?
Try these 4 simple steps and see if they help:
1. Finish Big
Set your mind on a big splash at the end. For many joggers, this is a sprint done just as they're approaching the end of a run. Have a party to celebrate an accomplishment or even just do a little happy dance. When we honor ourselves for breaking through, it creates more momentum and motivation to keep doing it.
2. Be Gentle
Sometimes our self talk can be really scolding or harsh. The voice might say something like: "You're so lazy, why can't you just finish that paper?" or "Seriously, you're not gonna send that email after all the work you did?" or "Who do you think you are anyway? Why would someone want what you have to offer?" These self-defeating statements harm us and can prevent us from doing what we know is best for us - because when we stretch ourselves it's scary. Being gentle can really help. Try something like, "I know this is hard but you can do it." or "Maybe you're afraid and that's okay." or "Just run to the end of the road."
3. Ask for help
Maybe it's hard because I'm not really sure what to do. In this instance, I can ask for clarity, guidance or support. Is there a person in my network who can offer assistance? We're often afraid to ask for help because we think we should know how or that we might look ignorant. What I've found when I'm willing to be humble, is that people are so happy to help me and through that process I learn even more AND feel better.
Often one of the best ways to complete things is to be accountable to someone else. This can be a super motivator for a number of reasons. First, we don't want to look bad or flakey in front of others. We also don't want them to be disappointed or angry. We might even lose a job or not get paid. This is why people hire personal trainers, life coaches and mentors.
So, the next time you get almost done, don't abandon ship, push through it and use these steps to help. You'll be amazed at how great it feels to accomplish what you set out to do and it will energize and motivate you. After all, success breeds success!