Starting right, finishing well
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer.
We all know about starting the race right but how many of us complete what we started well?
So, as the new year begins, once again, hope looms in the air for changes, goals and resolutions that we hope to accomplish. In the age of immanence and immediacy, keeping our eye on the finishing line while enjoying the journey is no easy task.
Countless times, we have observed this in the Olympics, Formula 1 or the Motor Grand Prix etc. We have come across an abandoned building project. Even from our school days, we know of those who have started well, but didn’t quite finish as well in their careers or life. And in the same breath, vice versa.
Therefore, what strategies can we employ to ensure that we not only start right, but we finish well? Here are some of our thoughts.
- Set specific and measurable goals that are reachable within achievable timelines
- Break these goals down into small steps by creating subgoals
- Aim for the 80% rule – don’t try to get everything correct at the same time
- Use visualization techniques
- Another mental strategy that has helped top athletes is “meta-analysis” of implementation intentions – a series of if/ then statements that help direct your behaviour. For example, if I eat desert, then I will have 2 servings of vegetables.
- Detail out possible stumbling blocks and strategies to deal with them
- List down your “cheerleaders” who will help keep you on track on achieving your goals.
- Know your Whys – your very reason for desiring the goal
Staying On Track:
- Make ONE change at a time
- Re-evaluate your progress – consider what stumbles and inspires you
- And keep modifying your approach until you find one that works for you at this point of your life
- Track your progress – be it online, on a smartwatch or in a journal
- Be supported – online, inspiration and groups
- Focus on your Whys to keep you motivated and keep moving on
- Create your own space – practice gratitude
- Forgive yourself for your shortcomings and others for theirs. A wise man once said that unforgiveness is the poison that you drink in hope that the other person is harmed. Ironic, but true.
- Cultivate character. In a Forbes article, Angela Duckworth’s extensive research following works by Aristotle, revealed that high achievers and exceptional performers have developed grit and tenacity as they persevere towards their goals. These are exemplified by conscientiousness, courage to fail, endurance, resilience and commitment to excellence.
How have you kept your eyes on your goal and achieved it in the past? What could you learn from your past and apply it to your present so that your future you will thank you for it some day? As the year unfolds, we wish you all the best in starting right, staying on track and finishing well.
As Zig Ziglar, once said, “it’s not where you start but where you finish that counts”.