" The only person you're accountable to is yourself. Finish well and shine."

Martin Parnell
5 Steps to Finishing what you Started

5 Steps to Finishing what you Started

Posted by martin.parnell | Determination Finish Obstacles Potential

We are a society of non-finishers. On January 1st we wake up with a bright idea for a New Year’s resolution. In the UK, a ComRes poll for Bupa, a global health and care company, identified losing weight, getting fitter and eating more healthily as the top three resolutions. So off we go and buy that gym membership, diet program or treadmill. It is estimated that more than 40% of North Americans make New Year’s resolutions. However, as the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and a University of Scranton research study found that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals.

It isn’t just New Year’s resolutions that we have problems finishing. We face the same challenges in the business world, whether it’s completing a project or making a sales target. So what can you do to give yourself the best chance of finishing what you started? Over the last 10 years I’ve learnt a thing or two about finishing. Challenges have included cycling across Africa, running 250 marathons in one year, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 21hrs, setting 5 Guinness World Records and, most recently, recovering from a clot on the brain.

What follows are 5 steps that will allow you the best chance of crossing that finish line:

What motivates you?

We say we want to lose weight, get fitter or eat healthy. The question is why. The motivation has to be strong enough that in the dark days you will continue to pursue your goal. To say you want to look better doesn’t cut it. To say you want to keep you with your grandchildren on a ski trip you’ve planned just might.

Visualise and commit to your goal

The key is to set a goal that has an identified outcome by a certain date. Then tell everyone about it. Remember life is like a plate of eggs and bacon, the chicken participates, the pigs committed. Fear of not accomplishing what you said you would do is a great motivator. If you want to run a 5km race in 3 months then visualise what this looks like as you cross the finish line, how you feel and the sense of accomplishment.

Have a plan and measure your progress

The key to success is having a road map and sticking to it. One of my favourite quotes is “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m making good time”. Don’t let this be you. Understand what you control and what you don’t. Keep a diary and write down what you’ve done that day. Share your progress with others even if it’s not always good news.

Get help

Whatever your goal is get help. When I started running I joined a running club, when I learnt to play lacrosse I got help from a grade 9 gym class and the Calgary Roughnecks. Never be afraid to ask, once people know what you’re trying to do they will step forward to give you a hand. Everyone wants you to succeed.

Be flexible but focused

You are going to hit obstacles, it’s not if but when. Accept them as part of the journey and do not beat yourself up about them. We all have bad days. However don’t take your eye off the ball. You may have to adjust the schedule and be creative but if at all possible stick to your goal.

Finishing what you started is not easy. It takes leadership, perseverance, discipline, team work, tenacity, creativity, resilience, attitude and courage to name just a few. Don’t let this put you off. The effort is well worth it and it will be a step along the road towards achieving your full potential. 

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