The Art of Finishing Well

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If you’re any bit like me — or I like you — then we have a million things to finish before 2015 closes its door. Holiday tasks, writing deadlines, bills, end of year finances, school projects, work deliverables. It’s a huge list just about now.

And there’s no reason to blog about ‘finishing well’ on December 31, when there’s no time left to make a final adjustment in the home stretch.

However, on November 30, there may be good reason — because we may still have a shot at recalibrating our mind, heart or routine just enough to finish well — or at least to finish a bit better than if 2015 ended today.

How?

  1. Remember our goals from the start of the year. For me, my word for 2015 was SHED. My hope was to shed unnecessary responsibilities and obligations, shed clutter in my home and life, shed weight, debt and other similar burdens. I definitely have done some of this, in each category, and will evaluate more fully in a month or so. Sure I could have done more, but there’s still a bit of time. There’s value to a final revisit of our goals or mindset from last January — because we just might be able to eke out a bit more of our objectives than if we just ran around senseless in the holiday errand aisles.
  2. Don’t let up. One of the reasons sports has always been so compelling to me — both playing and watching — is because there are few arenas in life where ‘finishing well’ is more obvious. You can play fantastically well the whole game, but if you give out and collapse at the end, the fine prior work could all go for naught. Conversely, ramping up our effort at the end might end up putting us over the top – and inspiring others to do the same. Don’t stop now, and don’t fear the finish. Give it all you have – that’s the only way we can avoid regret.
  3. Focus on what matters most. There are so many distractions bearing down on us all right now – holiday frenzy, negative people, dramatic situations in work and community, other pressures. This is the time, despite the increased busyness, to pray more, rest more, read more, and yes — write more. The crazier it is, the more we have to make time for what matters most, what renews us, strengthens us the most.
  4. Don’t miss the cues. It’s remarkable how our busyness sometimes results in creativity bubbling out of our subconscious — precisely because we haven’t been trying to force it out…we haven’t even been thinking about it! So when ‘it’ comes, that idea or inspiration, take the cue — stop what you’re doing and get it down on paper or on a voice memo recording. Recognize the direction your thoughts are going in, and follow them, even if for only a few minutes each day. Similarly, we have to listen to our body/heart regarding other clues as well — like overtiredness or frustration. If we sense that we’re just past our point of effectiveness, it’s time to step back or take a break, let up, let loose. Take a break from the discussion. Go out for air, or go home a little early to rest. Otherwise, we’ll be too spent to finish the year well.
  5. Share your story. Tell your closest friend or family member(s) what your goals and hopes are for the last month of the year – and perhaps, beyond. Just so they can keep you accountable — or perhaps it helps you keep yourself more accountable! Hug and kiss them and ask their help or advice. They may not have any, but it’s worth finding out. Plus, saying our needs/objectives out loud somehow makes them more real to us and keeps us far more mindful of them.

Go into that home stretch and finish well. Onward!

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