In light of a recently emerged video showing a University of Oregon track runner prematurely celebrating his assumed win, it became very clear to me how important it is to finish strong.
We’ve all seen football players celebrating touchdowns too early, just to drop the ball before crossing into the end zone.
In some way, we feel embarrassed for the player’s silly, common mistake. These players learned the importance of finishing strong the hard way.
Now that spring is upon us, it’s almost the end of school years everywhere and finals preparation has begun.
However, even if you aren’t preparing for finals, the practice of finishing strong is universal.
Below are five things to keep in mind to help you finish strong:
Keep Up The Consistency
Consistency is a direct product of work ethic. Speaking from experience, it is very easy to reach a point of burnout or disinterest right before completing a task.
Whether you are tired, burned out or just simply “over it," you should always power through until the end. Do not let your hard work turn into a vain attempt.
It's very disappointing to not accomplish what you set out to achieve in the beginning.
Unfulfillment is one of the worst feelings to have, and it can lower your self-esteem. Remind yourself the finish line is in sight and keep up the consistency.
Ramp Up The Intensity
Keeping up the consistency might not be enough. If you’re like me, you might find yourself coasting through the semester.
I often need to feel the heat in order to rise to the necessary level to accomplish the task at hand.
Procrastination comes in different forms. All too often, we justify our procrastination by saying, “I work better under pressure,” or “I’m clutch when it comes to deadlines.”
There’s actually some truth to this phenomenon; it’s referred to as Parkinson’s Law. A summary of Parkinson’s Law states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
When you have a lot of time to do something, it usually takes a longer time to finish it.
The corollary of this principle suggests that when you have less time to complete a task, your mind sharpens its focus and you will skip all the unnecessary steps. “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.”
To utilize this law to your advantage, set time limits and run against the clock.
Doing so will train your brain to only do what is necessary, without adding unnecessarily complex elements to fill the time.
An intensity increase may require a change in your routine, even if only temporarily.
During finals, I make more trips to the library and typically spend more time studying than I normally would throughout the semester.
This is also true for working professionals who have to put in longer hours at work to meet deadlines or who work longer hours during specific times of year, like tax season or the quarter's end.
Reevaluate Your Goals
After we’ve set our goals, the intensity drops because the goals leave the forefront of our minds.
One often-overlooked practice of goal-setting is constantly reminding yourself of the goals you’ve set.
I often rewrite my goals monthly or weekly to keep them fresh in my mind.
Sometimes, I’ll set daily goals before I go to sleep, and then I review them first thing when I wake up.
I’ve found this helps to keep my purpose in mind, which accelerates goal achievement.
Recall Your Purpose
Keeping your purpose in mind is key. Often, we get caught up in the nuisances of our everyday lives and our purpose needs refocusing.
Having a purpose is one of the ultimate driving forces in our lives.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
Without understanding our purpose, whether that be to win a game or pass a test, it’s difficult to finish strong. When that purpose is clearly set, finishing strong comes easy.
Don’t Let Your Pride Get In The Way
Too much pride can make us complacent or cause us to underperform. A perfect illustration of this principle is the track runner whose pride led him to give up a large lead, ultimately resulting in his defeat. If he would have focused on finishing the race, he may have received that first-place blue ribbon.
A humble competitor respects his opponent. A humble attitude will keep you from underestimating the competition or the task at hand.
Swallow your pride now so you can celebrate your victory after you achieve your goal. In other words: Grind now, shine later.
As you approach the end of the semester (or whatever equivalent), remember to keep up the consistency, ramp up the intensity, re-evaluate the goals you’ve set, recall your purpose and swallow your pride.
These tips have worked for me, so hopefully they will be beneficial for others, too.