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:
Or another like:
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.
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.
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.