Finish What You Start

Finish What You Start

Picture by Viktor Hanacek: picjumbo

This guest post is by Jose Ramos. I found it to be an insightful take at what it takes to finish what you start. You guys already know how much I support small steps, but Jose’s additional insight that commitment and flexibility must coexist in your plans is fantastic. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. If you want to write for Deep Existence, check out the guidelines. Ok Jose, take it from here. 

The journey to achieving big goals is uncertain with countless setbacks. Focusing on the challenges leads to being overwhelmed and paralyzed into inaction. The cure is to get started without overanalyzing.

Soon after starting, we crash into obstacles that halt our early progress. It’s easy to give up once we lose momentum. Instead, we can finish what we start by adding a dose of commitment and flexibility in our approach.

Just get started

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu

It starts when a distant dream pops into your head in a fleeting moment. The exciting vision resurfaces sporadically. You entertain the dream scenario in more detail with each re-appearance.

You start daydreaming about it. You tell friends about the idea. Yet, it’s still so far from reality that it doesn’t feel attainable. You don’t even know the steps that lead to achieving the goal.

Most dreams die at this stage. Sometimes, for reasons unknown, you keep the dream alive by digging deeper. You search for others who have already achieved what you want. Your belief grows each time you confirm the result is possible.

The more you focus on the goal, the more possibility you see. It’s similar to deciding you want to buy a new Honda Accord, and then spotting an Accord everywhere you go. The moment you take the mental leap of belief, you’re motivated to take the first concrete actions towards the goal.

You’re thrilled to learn about the road map that leads to the goal. As you stack one small action on top of another, you gain momentum. You’re fueled by the early progress and excitement of the hopeful journey.

You’re like a snowball rolling down a mountain, picking up speed and growing along the way. The snowball effect gives you confidence to continue chasing the goal.

The momentum you create by pushing past the uncertainty and taking determined action is paramount. You need more than momentum to succeed though.

Commit to the result

“If you want to take the island, then burn your boats. With absolute commitment come the insights that create real victory.” Tony Robbins

The excitement from the start of the journey wears off quickly. If your resolve is weak, you’re likely to give up the first time you struggle. On the other hand, if you’re determined to keep working until you achieve the result, you don’t give yourself an easy out.

Since failure isn’t an option, you persevere through the unavoidable valleys. After the initial momentum slows down, commitment to the result fuels your continued efforts. The greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, didn’t make the varsity high school basketball team until his junior year.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” when asked about his many failed attempts at inventing the light bulb. Jordan and Edison persevered through setbacks.

They were willing to pay the price because they knew what they wanted. When your goals and the whys behind them are clear, you push through the hard times. You need more than commitment to succeed though.

Be flexible in your approach

If you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.” Jeff Bezos

Commitment to the goal without being flexible in the approach leads to frustration and stalled progress. When we’re singularly focused on a plan without being open to alternate routes, we keep doing the same thing repeatedly, regardless of the effectiveness.

When our progress is met with resistance, we push harder to break past it. If the current strategy isn’t working, we must find another way. I learned this lesson several years ago when I set out to improve my personal finances.

I would start budgeting and learning about allocation strategies for retirement savings when I was motivated. After a few days, the inspiration disappeared and urgent errands popped up. This chain of events occurred every four months.

I used the same strategy each time I started. I didn’t make significant progress until I took the time to analyze what wasn’t working and changed my approach. I created a detailed plan and set aside time on weekends to work on my finances. I found another way to achieve the goal.

When you’re flexible to changing your strategy until you find what works, your chances of success skyrocket. You’ve committed to the result but you’re not tied to a specific road map.

An openness to different strategies enables you to find resources, mentors, and mindsets that will produce the desired result. As you gain experience, you discover better road maps. Your skills and abilities improve.

What you thought was a great plan when you started seems unrefined and inadequate once you’ve learned from experience. That’s a normal part of the process. When you’re in the middle of the fire, it’s hard to step back and analyze the results without clouded judgment.

If you accurately assess your progress and the factors that are holding you back, you can successfully tweak your plan to produce better results. Sometimes all you need is a shift of a few degrees to get on the right track.

Just get started is a simple step that jump starts your journey towards your goal. Adding commitment to the result and adjusting your plan along the way makes success inevitable. That’s how you finish what you start.

Jose Ramos writes at Upgrowth Effect about living the life you want. Learn the tools and strategies he used to take control of his life, finish what he starts, get results, and take his life to the next level. To change your life, access his FREE Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals.

About the Author

I accepted guest posts at my old blog, Deep Existence, but I am not currently accepting them for this website. I'll let you know if this changes!