There are times in your life when you will have to define a path to achieve your goals. These are moments to decide how you will push through a finish strong.
Will you give up or give it all that it takes? Will you bring all your energy and skills to bear or provide an excuse? The only person that possesses the power to choose your response is you.
It may sound impossible anytime you hear the phrase “finish strong.” This is because your natural tendency would be to settle for the status quo or accept fate. And when you are facing life’s biggest challenges, you may face the temptation to quit or compromise your standards.
The story of Tyrone Muggsy Bogues will inspire you. He lived in abject poverty while his father languished in prison. He was hit by a stray bullet at age five and grew up to be 1.6m tall((Youtube: SHORTEST In The NBA | Muggsy Bogues Incredible Story)). All these challenges did not deter him from becoming the shortest player in the history of the National Basketball Association. Tyrone had 6858 points, 1369 steals, and 6726 assists all through his NBA. career. Just like Tyrone, you should not allow life challenges to stop you down from finishing strong.
Here are some fun facts to buttress why you need to push through the end:
Most of the points scored in football occur a few minutes before the game ends.
The last seconds in a race determines who wins as every runner wants to give the most effort.
You work harder when there are deadlines to meet.
Here’s more proof of why the finish is highly significant. People rate the quality of life higher when it ends better, not minding if it was short. This is often called the James Dean Effect((SageJournal: End Effects of Rated Life Quality: The James Dean Effect)).
These five proven steps will enable you to finish strong if you already have goals you want to accomplish.
1. Write Your Goals Down
A study revealed that people who write their goals down have an eighty percent chance of finishing strong. You can create a Goal Journal or adopt the S.M.A.R.T Goal technique.
Don’t forget, your goals have to be:
While it might look like an additional task to write down your goals instead of storing them in your memory, there are more sides to it.
Two things happen when you write something down:
You are documenting the goals on paper, which makes it easier to assess and audit in the future. You can post the paper anywhere at home or in your office. Neurologists believe you will recollect visual cues more compared to non-visual cues((Forbes: Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them)).
You are encoding those goals as they travel to your brain’s hippocampus, where analysis takes place. From that point, sorting takes place. Some goals are stored in your long-term memory while others are discarded. Writing facilitates the encoding process. Therefore, write down those goals!
2. Break Your Goals Into Milestones
Breaking down goals into small bites will help you celebrate your small victories. You need that momentum to finish strong.
For instance, if you are writing a book, you can:
Write the book concept or blurb
Conduct keyword and content research
Create an outline
Write the content
Edit and proofread
Format and publish
Market the book
Establishing milestones provides you a clear format that will help you not burn out when working on your goals. Moreover, milestones are those actions you need to take to finish strong. Don’t forget to also write down those milestones in your journal or work diary.
A study conducted by Gail Matthews shows that those who write their goals have a 33% chance of actualizing them compared to those who only have their goals in their brain((Inc: New Study Says This Simple Step Will Increase the Odds of Achieving Your Goals Substantially)).
3. Build Momentum
As I stated earlier, you need momentum to finish strong. You can gain momentum when you meet each of the milestones. In his book, Darren Hardy recommends consistency as a sure way to generate all the momentum((Darren Hardy: The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success)).
How do you build momentum by being consistent? Hardy recommends five actionable steps:
Establish a Morning Regimen
According to Hardy, you may find it hard to take charge of your mid-day, but you can determine how you start the day and end it. Therefore, design your rise-and-shine routine. Do your Most-Important-Task (M.I.T.) in the morning.
Create an Evening Schedule
Hardy defines this period as when you cash out on your day. It is a moment to assess if you have accomplished all you wanted to that day. You can ask yourself these questions:
Which items do I need to carry over to the next day’s M.I.T. list?
What item on my to-do list is still relevant?
Which of the tasks I need to cancel?
Restructure Your Routine
It can be boring doing the same thing over a long period. Therefore, inject some excitement into your plan. Do something new and exciting. Visit the park, prepare new food, or take a short online course. Shaking up your routine will naturally assist you in building momentum.
Keep a Log of New Habits
Track new behaviors and log the number of times you perform them. That way, you can compare your goals with the outcome.
Avoid Negative Self-Talk
What you say affects how you finish your goals. Positive self-talk is a time-tested method to set goals and follow through. Any time you doubt your ability to finish strong, respond with positive affirmations. Do not bow to negative pressure to give up. Control your thoughts, and do not permit external forces, such as fears and doubts, to control them. Here are ten positive affirmations to help you finish strong.
5. Find a Mentor or an Accountability Partner
You need all the support you can find to stay the course. A lot of successful individuals attribute their success to the influence of a mentor or an accountability partner.
The right mentor will offer you insight, advice, and connections to help you finish strong. A mentor’s role is to guide you on self-reflection and help you ask self-discovery questions.
Here are ways to maximize mentorship:
Be curious: Ask questions that provoke deeper thoughts.
Be honest: Feel free to share your challenges and be open to feedback.
Be punctual: Be timely and stick to appointments.
Be specific: Establish what you want from the relationship.
Be respectful: Respect should be mutual. You should respect the boundaries set by your mentor, and your mentor should do the same.
You can read more on How To Get The Best Out Of Mentorship.
Bonus Tip: Engage the Self-Awareness Technique (S.A.T.) to Finish Strong
It is not enough to be an enthusiastic starter; you must also be an optimistic finisher. What is self-awareness? Self-awareness is getting in touch with how you feel and think. It could also mean connecting to your core values and beliefs to live a life that aligns with them.
Self-awareness can help you figure out your strengths so you can focus on them. It also helps you discover your weaknesses. The moment you accept what you can’t achieve, you will bring together all of your strengths to achieve what you can. An HBR report confirmed that when you have a clear picture of yourself, you can be more confident and unleash your creativity. You will also build long-lasting relationships and communicate better((HBR: What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It)).
As you assess the aspects of your life, you need to finish strong, take time to study your past achievements, and apply the lessons to the last phase of your present pursuit.
What structure do I need to finish?
What help or support will ensure I finish?
How will mentorship or accountability help me to stay on course?
What mindset do I need to shift to liberate myself from limitations or self-sabotage?
How do I sustain the momentum to finish strong?
How will I reallocate time and resources to give the final leg a big push?
The answers to these questions will offer you insight and clues on how you can finish strong.
Always remember, you have all it takes to finish what you started.
More Tips on Completing Your Goals
How To Complete Goals Quickly And Effectively
How to Measure a Goal? (With Examples of Measurable Goals)
Why We Lose Motivation Once in a While and How to Fix It