Crossing The Finish Line

The two most important points of any goal are starting and finishing. There are many forces that prevent us from crossing the finish line strong such as perfectionism, hidden fears, and falling back into bad habits.

Let’s talk today on some techniques that you can use to finish strong and get shit done that you’re proud of.

Cut Your Goal In Half

Chances are, your current goal is overly optimistic. Having goals that are a bit optimistic can sometimes be the downfall of us finishing them. If your current goal can be cut in half today, do it. This will help you reach an initial finish line earlier, to which you can celebrate and even provide you more motivation to get the remaining 50% done on an accelerated timeline. Goals are a marathon, and not a sprint. Does it make more sense for you to build up to a half-marathon or approach it as a full marathon?

Pick What You Suck At

You’ve probably seen the various shape pictures on the internet with the caption of Choose two… where each point represents something significant in your life such as:

  • Time
  • Energy
  • Money

Or another like:

  • Health
  • Work
  • Family
  • Friends
Pick Two…

These items are based on a theory with regards to if you truly want to be successful in a specific area, that you will need to suck at the others.

Option 1: Pick the areas you’re willing to suck in.

There’s no shame in admitting that you are willing to suck in a respective area to reach your goals. Just so you know that it’s a sacrifice that you’re making in order to be successful in the others is the main thing here. However there are a few other options that can help out here.

Option 2: Outsource the areas you’re willing to suck in.

In today’s modern day, you can outsource many of the things that you decide to suck in. For example, if you don’t consider health or energy to be an area that’s important to you today, you can outsource the food you eat by say buying fast food or using a service that prepares your meals for you, especially if you want to eat healthy. One thing to consider though is that outsourcing burners may not be as significant or satisfying to you as they really should be.

Option 3: Constrain the areas you suck in.

By providing a time constraint or energy constraint to an area you suck in can bring light into those areas while majority of your focus is in other areas. You can set time and energy limits to the areas you decide to suck in such as:

  • Giving yourself one day for 30 minutes to work out (If you’re willing to suck at health).
  • Hanging out with friends for a couple hours on the weekend (If you’re willing to suck at friends).
  • Only working your committed hours at work (If you’re willing to suck at work).

Option 4: Seasonally swap the areas you’re willing to suck in.

Finally, you can use a technique that many people use without knowing it, which is to have a seasonal flow in which they change the areas they’re willing to suck in. For example, Summers are typically viewed as a time for you to embrace your family and friends. Thus your health and work may suck because of it. Or Winter, where you may embrace for the cold and focus on health and work, and may suck when it comes to family and friends.

Make It Fun

The number one reason we stop shy of the finish line is failing to make what we’re doing entertaining. Although the things we do will better off ourselves in the future and seem serious, we can sprinkle in fun here and there to keep us motivated. One such way is to reward yourself with something you want, to keep your spirits high and make you look forward to the next reward.

Fears can also motivate us indirectly. We can take the context of our internal fears and make them a little more silly. For example, you might have a fear of not being able to provide for yourself and others in the future. This is pretty serious itself, what if we instead thought of this fear as something a bit more silly such as thinking you’ll end up “Living under a cardboard box and eat dollar nuggets at Wendy’s to get by”. Although these underlying fears are serious, we shouldn’t worry too much about them and focus our attention in an upwards direction.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

When you’re deadset to finish something, one challenge you may run into is falling back into what is comfortable to you. That might be bad habits, or the easiest thing for you to do to absolutely avoid progress on what you’re working on. Every time that we do this, we are adding to a time deficent which will require more work to call something complete.

You may also run into hard things along the way such as making choices that will impact you in the future. Sometimes we block our progress by getting into our heads with phrases such as:

  • “Until I know X, I won’t start on Y.”
  • “If X happens, then I will Y.”
  • “It’s too hard for me to do now.”

This is just your brain preventing you from doing the work. You don’t need to know things to get started. You don’t need something to happen to react to. Something is not too hard until you have tried to do it.

Listen To Yourself

Really you need to just listen to yourself and follow your best interests. Ask yourself the following questions while working towards the finish line:

  • Do I even like this?
  • What’s my real goal?
  • Is how I’m acting match who I want to become?
  • Is it time to quit?

There’s nothing wrong with listening to your heart, however I would really encourage you to see it the whole way through if you’re already pretty invested. You can use data to track your true progress to what you consider done.

Become Data-Driven

Use data to track your progress of completion. You’ll want to track your data as soon as possible so you know where you’re shooting at. This will help you along the way identify any data points you are missing, so you can know where you came from to where you are today. Don’t obsess over the data everyday, but do check it every now and then. Your data will be similar to your bank account, you may not want to check it regularly, but when you absolutely need it, you’ll be glad you have a way to see your progress.

Finish Without Fear

Fears will drive you away from completing. Tackle these fears head on. You may have a fear such as:

  • Fear that it’s not perfect.
  • Fear of what now.

Perfectionism will kill many of your projects dead in their tracks. Learning to be okay with imperfection will let you deliver more often. You may also ask yourself what to do now that you’re done. The truth is, there’s many things you can do. You can continue to make goals and work on it, you can find another thing to work on, or you can even take a small sabbatical to find your head now that you’ve finished something.

Summary

Give yourself the power of done, and finish strong! Cut your goal in half today, pick what you suck at, make your goal fun, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, listen to your heart, use data to track your progress, and conquer your fears. What do you have to lose by finishing something and releasing it to the world? Absolutely nothing.

Better Every Day

If you’re like me, you’re on a mission to be better every day. You are continuously looking to improve, and you have the dedication it takes to take feedback and make small adjustments daily. The hard part is that we can’t see a visible result from our dedication of improving every day. We see progress at significant milestones such as clothes that no longer fit, faster solutions to solving problems, and much more.

Do it every day for a while.

Here’s the thing, although we cannot see our small gains on a daily basis, they compound quite quickly to show at a later day.

Climb higher than you were yesterday.

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to improving your feedback loop to improve every day. Rather it’s up to you to determine what works best for you. Whether you’ve found what already works for you, then great! Keep doing more of that every day. Maybe you find your routine boring today. You can always spice it up by adding something new into the mix.

Our progress tends to hide behind boring solutions and a lack of insight. We may think that there’s a better way to do it, and it’s definitely possible that there’s another mental model that would apply better to how you think, but it’s also one of those things that may be detrimental to go out seeking that ultimate truth.

Here are a few tips that can help you become better every day:

Just do what works

I’m serious. Do the thing that’s old and boring because you know it’s effective to you. You don’t need something new and shiny, you need old and reliable. If you just focused on more consistency each day, you would see amazing results at a later day.

Measure Indirectly

Give yourself the freedom of not measuring the habit directly through your respective measurement(time, distance, weight, etc). Instead, let yourself come to a natural conclusion of what feels right to which you feel you did better than yesterday. Remember that you at least taking the action is 90% of the battle.

You don’t necessarily need a better strategy today. You just need to do what works for you to keep on improving to be better every day.

The Time To Start Is Now

You might be thinking to yourself how obvious it is to start now rather than later. The truth though is that there are many hidden pressures preventing us from starting now although we continuously think of the results that can come from it.

Whether you’re in a slump, too busy with other activities, or currently finding your groove, there is one thing you can do right now, and that is to make time to create a system that shapes your future self.

Ask yourself the following question…Who do you want to be in the future?

  • If you want to be a well-read individual, you might read everyday.
  • If you want to run your own business, you might work on a side project every night.
  • If you want to be in shape, you might workout every morning.

Notice something here? Each of these items have a scheduled motivation. In other words:

At <Time>, I will <Action>.

Many people never see the results they envision because they lack motivation to fuel their actions. Making the time for your habits will provide all the motivation you need to take action.

Setting a schedule for yourself seems simple on paper, but really what it does is puts your brain on auto-pilot to no longer have to think about doing things, rather at a specific time, you just do it.

Think of some of the most successful people you aspire to be one day. Now try to imagine what their day’s schedule looks like. Do you think they sit around waiting for the next thing to happen?

There is a power to ritual that we take for granted because we’re not always mindful that our rituals may not be productive until we make them that way. Rituals remove the need for us to make a decision and instead we act. It’s far more beneficial for you to act than to decide. Otherwise you might become paralyzed by analysis.

Here are three easy ways you can start by doing today.

Step 1

You need to get the ball rolling by at least starting. Read that first page in that book you picked up recently, or go on a 5 minute run around the block. Whatever it is that you want to become better at, you need to at least start.

Step 2

By starting, you need to now picture your end goal and have it in mind as you continue to progress. If you read a page in that book you picked up recently, you might read a chapter next. After that a few chapters, and eventually the whole book. The goal here is to make the end goal easy enough to obtain in a short period of time.

Step 3

Now that you’ve reached an end goal of some sort, this step is really easy. You just need to do exactly what you’ve just done over again and apply it to another thing, or increase the difficulty up a notch. Remember, you don’t want to make it too hard or else you’ll start to lack motivation for something that might not feel obtainable.

At this point you might be following along but you may be asking about staying motivated for a long period of time. We’ll cover that next.

Long Term Motivation

Let’s face it, there will be a time where you will lack motivation to continue on. Whether something else comes by that is more attractive to you in that moment, or you aren’t seeing the payoff fast enough. Here are two strategies you can use to keep your motivation over the long term.

Staying the course

By staying the course, what I mean is that no matter the circumstance that comes before you, you will continue to do the things that are a net positive in your brain. You will continue to workout every morning, you will continue to spend quality time with family in the evening, and you will work on your side project at night. Your perseverance will set the stage for whether or not you put the rep in or not.

The Goldilocks principle

What does Goldilocks have to do with motivation? Well to not go on too much of a tangent here, we need to make sure that we are challenged enough, and by enough we need to make sure it’s just the right amount.

If we make something too easy or too challenging, we will lack the motivation to continue on. Instead, if we can make it challenging to the point where we can come out of the action either excited that we made progress or disappointed that we didn’t get enough done, we are challenging ourselves to do better and makes the habit more attractive.

What can you start doing right now? Are you ready to commit to doing it?