Have you ever had a goal that you worked hard towards and then given up at a most critical moment, in fact that moment just before you strike gold?
Not only athletes can attest to the fact that it is the last stretch that is the hardest. The starting and the middle part of any race seem like a breeze compared to the last part – the part that seems to take the most out of you. It is during the last stretch where the voices (what I like to call caricatures) may pop up in your head to start chattering away. One may say – ‘well at least you tried’. Another may say – ‘this is too hard – its ok if you stop now’. Another one may pipe in and say: ‘you can’t finish this – you just don’t have what it takes’. And voila, you give yourself permission to step out of the race.
Indeed there may be times you could placate yourself, and tell yourself it is ok - you can start again. However, you also need the times where you are ass-kicking version of yourself. The one that says : There is no way you can say ‘I almost finished my degree’, ‘I almost lost weight’, ‘I almost …’ (fill in whatever thing you left incomplete) .
Meet Robin, a youth who had worked really hard to finish school. For two years, he attended classes, did extra classes and manage to scrape through. However, Robin struggled with the desire to finish school and the environment he was living in where most of his friends had dropped out. It all came crashing down two weeks before his final exams, when he decided to throw in the towel. His mentor felt very despondent because Robin could have made it, but he had given in to the fear of ‘what if I fail’.
Robin’s story is an important one, because it shows the importance of the not only the desire to succeed, but also making sure that you have the right environment and the right people to support you in crossing the finishing line.
It is completely normal to get started, and lose momentum halfway through, and to lose interest. That moment when you stall your progress, a voice in your head will most likely start whispering that maybe this goal is not for you.
It is important to find ways to deal with these moments where you want to throw in the towel.
Firstly, write down your goal and have a symbol of the achievement of that goal that you can see and connect to whenever you start doubting yourself.
Secondly, have someone that you can speak to when you do start losing momentum. This person’s role would be to just helping you to get back on track, no matter what. Also if your environment is not very supportive of you achieving your goal, try to find others that also want the same goal. You can all motivate each other.
Lastly, have mini-milestones on the journey that you can celebrate. So break the goal up into pieces so that you feel that you are moving.
Harriet Beecher Stowe is on point when he says: Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
So, whenever you are tempted to step out of races (goals) you started, find what YOU need to stay the course. One thing is for sure, if you want to do anything in life – you have to learn how to finish the race. Start with something small – but start finishing the races you start. Because in the end, – ‘almost doesn’t count’.