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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low)

6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low)

There are times in your life when you will have to define a path to achieve your goals. These are moments to decide how you will push through to finish strong.

Will you give up or give it all that it takes? Will you bring all your energy and skills to bear or provide an excuse? The only person that possesses the power to choose your response is you.

It may sound impossible anytime you hear the phrase “finish strong.” This is because your natural tendency would be to settle for the status quo or accept fate, and when you are facing life’s biggest challenges, you may face the temptation to quit or compromise your standards.

The story of Tyrone Muggsy Bogues will inspire you. He lived in abject poverty while his father languished in prison. He was hit by a stray bullet at age five and grew up to be 1.6m tall[1].

All these challenges did not deter him from becoming the shortest player in the history of the National Basketball Association. Tyrone had 6858 points, 1369 steals, and 6726 assists all through his NBA. career. Just like Tyrone, you should not allow life challenges to stop you down from finishing strong.

Here are some fun facts to buttress why you need to push through the end:

  • Most of the points scored in football occur a few minutes before the game ends.
  • The last seconds in a race determines who wins as every runner wants to give the most effort.
  • You work harder when there are deadlines to meet.

Here’s more proof of why the finish is highly significant. People rate the quality of life higher when it ends better, not minding if it was short. This is often called the James Dean Effect[2].

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These five proven steps will enable you to finish strong if you already have goals you want to accomplish.

1. Write Your Goals Down

A study revealed that people who write their goals down have an eighty percent chance of finishing strong[3]. You can create a Goal Journal or adopt the S.M.A.R.T goal technique.

Don’t forget, your goals have to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

While it might look like an additional task to write down your goals instead of storing them in your memory, there are more sides to it.

Two things happen when you write something down:

You are documenting the goals on paper, which makes it easier to assess and audit in the future. Neurologists believe you will recollect visual cues more compared to non-visual cues.

Furthermore, you are encoding those goals as they travel to your brain’s hippocampus, where analysis takes place. From that point, sorting happens. Some goals are stored in your long-term memory while others are discarded. Writing facilitates the encoding process, so write down those goals!

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2. Break Your Goals Into Milestones

Breaking down goals into small bites will help you celebrate your small victories. You need that momentum to finish strong.

For instance, if you are writing a book, you can:

  • Write the book concept or blurb
  • Conduct keyword and content research
  • Create an outline
  • Write the content
  • Edit and proofread
  • Format and publish
  • Market the book

Establishing milestones provides you a clear format that will help you not burn out when working on your goals. Moreover, milestones are those actions you need to take to finish strong.

A study conducted by Gail Matthews shows that those who write their goals have a 33% chance of actualizing them compared to those who only have their goals in their brain[4].

3. Build Momentum

As I stated earlier, you need momentum to finish strong. You can gain momentum when you meet each of the milestones. In his book, Darren Hardy recommends consistency as a sure way to generate all the momentum[5].

How do you build momentum by being consistent? Hardy recommends five actionable steps:

Establish a Morning Regimen

According to Hardy, you may find it hard to take charge of your mid-day, but you can determine how you start the day and end it. Therefore, design your rise-and-shine routine. Do your Most-Important-Task (M.I.T.) in the morning.

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Morning routine to finish strong

    Create an Evening Schedule

    Hardy defines this period as when you cash out on your day. It is a moment to assess if you have accomplished all you wanted to that day. You can ask yourself these questions:

    • Which items do I need to carry over to the next day’s M.I.T. list?
    • What item on my to-do list is still relevant?
    • Which of the tasks do I need to cancel?

    Restructure Your Routine

    It can be boring doing the same thing over a long period. Therefore, inject some excitement into your plan. Visit the park, prepare new food, or take a short, online course. Shaking up your routine will naturally assist you in building momentum.

    Keep a Log of New Habits

    Track new behaviors and log the number of times you perform them. That way, you can compare your goals with the outcome.

    Avoid Negative Self-Talk

    What you say affects how you finish your goals. Positive self-talk is a time-tested method to set goals and follow through. Any time you doubt your ability to finish strong, respond with positive affirmations.

    Do not bow to negative pressure to give up. Control your thoughts, and do not permit external forces, such as fears and doubts, to control them. Here are ten positive affirmations to help you finish strong.

    5. Find a Mentor or an Accountability Partner

    You need all the support you can find to stay the course. A lot of successful individuals attribute their success to the influence of a mentor or an accountability partner.

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    The right mentor will offer you insight, advice, and connections to help you finish strong. A mentor’s role is to guide you on self-reflection and help you ask self-discovery questions.

    Here are ways to maximize mentorship:

    • Be curious: Ask questions that provoke deeper thoughts.
    • Be honest: Feel free to share your challenges and be open to feedback.
    • Be punctual: Be timely and stick to appointments.
    • Be specific: Establish what you want from the relationship.
    • Be respectful: Respect should be mutual. You should respect the boundaries set by your mentor, and your mentor should do the same.

    You can read more on How To Get The Best Out Of Mentorship.

    Bonus Tip: Engage the Self-Awareness Technique (S.A.T.) to Finish Strong

    It is not enough to be an enthusiastic starter; you must also be an optimistic finisher. What is self-awareness? Self-awareness is getting in touch with how you feel and think. It could also mean connecting to your core values and beliefs to live a life that aligns with them.

    Self-awareness can help you figure out your strengths so you can focus on them. It also helps you discover your weaknesses. The moment you accept what you can’t achieve, you will bring together all of your strengths to achieve what you can.

    An HBR report confirmed that when you have a clear picture of yourself, you can be more confident and unleash your creativity. You will also build long-lasting relationships and communicate better[6].

    Final Thoughts

    As you assess the aspects of your life, you need to finish strong, take time to study your past achievements, and apply the lessons to the last phase of your present pursuit.

    Always remember, you have all it takes to finish what you started.

    More Tips on Completing Your Goals

    Featured photo credit: Ethan Hoover via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    Take Control of Your Focus! How to Avoid Distractions How to Move Forward After Achieving Goal Success FIRED to HIRED with the Fortune Formula Why Having a Goals Strategy Can Help You Achieve More How to Be More Assertive and Go After Your Goals

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    Last Updated on May 16, 2021

    Small Victories: 4 Reasons to Celebrate Small Wins

    Small Victories: 4 Reasons to Celebrate Small Wins

    Are you looking for ways to cultivate more motivation, engagement, or life satisfaction? Celebrating small victories consistently could bring the energy boost you need.

    We all have big goals in life, like owning our own home, writing a novel, or building an NGO. Big goals are key to helping us find satisfaction in life, but when they are long-term goals, we can risk losing motivation and energy along the way. This is why celebrating small victories can be so essential for success.

    What Are Small Victories?

    First, let’s establish what a “small victory” is. Small victories are anything you accomplish that aligns with your intentions. They can be related to work, personal or professional relationships, habit changes, and or finances. Small wins can be easy to gloss over, especially if you’ve been raised on a diet of self-criticism and perfectionism.

    Let’s say that you intend to be less judgmental of others. A small victory might simply be noticing when you start to think something judgmental about how someone else says the word “milk.” Even though the thought still popped into your head when they pronounced it “melk,” you at least noticed yourself in the thought.

    Paying attention to your thoughts opens the door for you to question why everyone must pronounce words the same way. This is awareness, and as they say, awareness is the key to successful life changes.

    Why Should We Celebrate Small Victories?

    Instead of celebrating small victories, why not just wait for the big victories to sweep you to happiness?

    Imagine that the doorbell rings, you answer it, and a spokesperson with way too much fake tan yells, “Congratulations, you have just won 3 million dollars!” Balloons and confetti fall around you. How would it feel to celebrate a big win like that?

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    Surely, with that sum of money, you would not only feel motivated and engaged, but you’d also have everlasting happiness and fulfillment, right? According to research, people who win large sums of money are more satisfied with the quality of their lives overall.[1] However, they don’t experience more day-to-day happiness than anyone else—so much for big wins.

    Small wins keep us on track and moving forward, which can help us avoid procrastination. If you find that this is a problem for you, you can also check out Lifehack’s Fast Track Class: No More Procrastination.

    In fact, the internet is already abuzz with articles that extol the virtues of celebrating the small stuff. But happiness is only one of the dozens of reasons you should celebrate routinely.

    The reasons for celebrating small can be broken down into the following categories.

    1. Energy

    When energy is low, it can be challenging to accomplish anything. Try as you might to set goals, without energy, it’s understandable why the couch would have so much more magnetic pull than the treadmill. When you celebrate your small victories, you will give yourself little hits of energy that will add up over time.

    Try it right now for yourself: think of something small you achieved today. Maybe you took out the garbage even though it was really cold outside, you’re extremely tired, and you didn’t want to. Tell yourself, “I’m so proud of you for braving those terrible weather conditions to keep the house running smoothly.”

    Or maybe you’re celebrating choosing tea over coffee in the afternoon. How does it feel to congratulate yourself? What does your body experience when you point out the little win to yourself?

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    Over time, you’ll notice that the little celebrations inject you with boosts of energy that will accumulate. Although you’ll probably still hate taking out the garbage, you’ll at least have the energy to do it.

    Once you start experiencing more energy, you might notice feeling more motivated to accomplish all those items—large and small—on your “to do” list. This becomes a positive feedback loop. You accomplish something, celebrate, increase your energy to accomplish more, and repeat. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that celebrating the small victories leads you to accomplish even bigger ones.

    The opposite is also true. When you don’t accomplish the little things, imagine how much more challenging it will be to chip away at the big ones.

    2. Personal and Professional Growth

    Acknowledging small victories helps you keep track of how far you’ve come. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to instill a new habit or make a lifestyle change.

    Behavioral changes can be some of the biggest challenges we undertake.[2] They can also be the most beneficial when you’re on the path to personal or professional growth and development. It can be easy to fall into the “all or nothing” trap.

    For instance, a lot of people feel that if they can’t achieve a behavioral change—like quitting smoking—the first time they try, then they might as well give up.

    Positive reinforcement through celebrating small wins helps you get back on track after taking a temporary detour. “I only had 3 cigarettes today” might be the small victory that would lead you to only having 2 tomorrow.

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    Growth in any area of life is a process, and this process requires the use of tools. Celebrating the little things is an intentional tool you’ll want to use when you’re in the process of becoming the person you have been saying you want to be.

    3. Self-Love

    They say that education is the most important investment you’ll ever make. Imagine if you are trying to get your degree, but you self-criticize to the point of having major test anxiety. If you don’t offer yourself some patience and compassion, it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at your education—you’ll never finish the degree!

    Therefore, self-love is the greatest investment you will ever make.[3] You are the only person you will know for the entirety of your life. When you love yourself unconditionally, you will be able to navigate any life obstacle or storm. Celebrating your small victories is just one of so many ways to take care of yourself[4].

    Self-Love Languages

      When people get married, they celebrate. On our loved ones birthdays, we celebrate. We celebrate because celebrations demonstrate our love for others. Therefore, when you actively celebrate small victories, you affirm the love you have for yourself.

      Celebrating your small victories is a powerful way to demonstrate that you notice how amazing you are. It helps you rely more on your own positive feedback rather than looking to the outside world to tell you what it thinks of you. Here’s something that nobody ever said: “People-pleasing is the gateway to the Kingdom of Joy.” Stop waiting for other people to tell you how incredibly valuable you are and start acknowledging all your little successes!

      As a side benefit, self-love has also been known to lead to better relationships with others.[5] It turns out that when you love yourself, you will show others how you want to be treated.

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      4. Happiness

      According to Jungian psychologist, Dr. James Hollis, our quest for happiness is actually not the focus of our lives. Instead, it would be in our best interest to design our lives around finding meaning.[6]

      So, why is happiness mentioned in almost every single article about celebrating small victories, including this one? Because it’s what we want. As it turns out, the path to what we want is not a direct one.

      According to Hollis, “Joy, and happiness, are not goals in themselves, but they are the by-product of those moments when we are doing what is really right for us.”[7]

      Happiness is a by-product! When we are fully engaged in our lives, our confidence runs higher, our actions match our intentions, our love for ourselves grows, and we experience a life filled with meaning. So, if you want to experience happiness, you must find ways to incorporate meaning into your life. Celebrating your little wins can be a catalyst for finding this meaning.

      Put another way, if you’re not ready to let go of the pursuit of happiness, try viewing happiness as something you practice.[8] And if you want a proven way to engage with that practice, try celebrating all of your small victories.

      Final Thoughts

      Consider keeping a daily log of your little victories. At the end of the week, you can read everything you celebrated, which will help you experience the accumulation of all the little wins. And if you want to experience an even bigger win, re-read your celebration journal at the end of the year!

      More Tips on Achieving Your Goals

      Featured photo credit: Paulette Wooten via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES: Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being
      [2] Harvard Health Publishing: Why Behavior Change Is Hard – and Why You Should Keep Trying
      [3] Medical News Today: Why Self-Love Is Important and How to Cultivate It
      [4] Blessing Manifesting: Self-Love Languages, What’s Yours?
      [5] Psychology Today: Self-Love is the New #RelationshipGoals
      [6] Jung Society of Washington: It’s Not About Happiness
      [7] Jung Society of Washington: It’s Not About Happiness
      [8] Psychology Today: Happiness is a Practice, Not a Destination

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