How to renew your focus to finish 2020 feeling happy

In five weeks, we’ll be deluged with New Year’s resolutions, “Get back to the gym!” provocations and countless stories of encouragement of how to start out our year “on the right foot.” As if starting out on the left foot was such a bad thing. Poor attempt at humor, I know! Usually, at this time of year, we’re just about ready for new beginnings.

But in order to start anew, we need to finish the job and close out what we’ve already started.

Whatever you’re working on, you’ve assigned a particular value to that use of your time. Likely, for good reason. You may have begun taking courses for your nursing degree. Perhaps you’ve just started writing here on Medium. You could be studying for a certification exam, developing a new app or learning a new language. Here’s my advice: make your obsession. Adopt a “closer’s mindset.”

You may be entering the “ninth inning” of your journey on a particular project or goal. How are you going to finish?

“I am convinced that being fully committed to the moment, without any worries about the past or projections into the future, is the best attribute a closer can have. It takes a ton of concentration, and self-belief, to stay in the moment…and not let the highs and lows mess with your psyche.” — New York Yankees pitching great, Mariano Rivera

Identifying Paths and Examining Decisions

There were roads you could have turned down in 2020 but you chose the thoroughfares, boulevards and streets you did. Be confident in that and make sense of the “Why” behind the direction you took. Now, you need to come to terms with whether you should finish the drill or change direction.
Too often, we become obsessed with feeling like each decision that we make is final. That there is no turning back! In instances of choosing whether to flee a homeland — huge decisions prompted by the diaspora facing refugees, for example — or springing into action to save someone else, that may be the case. Those are decisions and choices dictated by extremely challenging external forces.

As it pertains to most of our personal decisions, we can always turn back. We can start over and change course. So much of my 2020 has been defined by the need to adapt to challenging circumstances. Every time in my life I’ve faced adversity, I’ve always attempted to find the opportunity in the challenge.

I am where I am today because I committed to a game plan and stuck to it. Each month and each week I put together goals and a plan to help me achieve. Long ago, I promised myself I would never, ever give up and that I’d continue to fan the flames of desire to propel myself toward the finish line. From there, I believed fervently in what I was doing and kept my eyes on the prize.

I know from experience that once something awesome is within our grasp, there will be that “devil on our shoulder” that tries to distract us and convince us we’re not capable or worthy. The same application of faith that helped you begin your endeavor is now equally as important to help you finish things off.

Make sense of the paths you’ve chosen, the activities and projects you’ve started. What did you learn? Is there work yet to be done? What’s your plan to get to the finish line — the fulfillment of achieving your goal?

And as We Wind on Down the Road

“Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” — Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Closing out our business requires discipline and fortitude. The way we achieve results is through planning, smart ideas, faith, the sheer force of will, desire and skillful application of our talents. The list can go on, but those are strong fundamentals to begin with. Add to that a persistent, dedicated mindset and you’re continuing to develop greater confidence to see things through to completion.

As you progress throughout life, you’ll be less likely to give up or stop what you’re doing when you’ve built a strong foundation. You’ll have built up a resistance to taking the easy way out. Closing out what you’ve started is difficult. Make no mistake — anything worth working toward is not easy.
Responsibilities come up, family obligations, our own mental blocks, physical ailments, social anxiety. These are all real matters that we need a game plan to help us manage. But when we start placing blame and concentrating our energy and thoughts toward these things in a negative matter, it builds up mental, emotional and even physical fatigue. Spiritually, we’re impacted because often times, we stop believing.

We start focusing on things that don’t matter — we make excuses and give far too much credit to the things that hold us back, as opposed to optimizing our energy and willing ourselves to believe and follow-through on our goals. We value ourselves less and place insignificant worries on a pedestal.

In Closing

“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” — Neil Gaiman

I’m willing to bet there is something out there that you started this year that has been placed on the back burner or been sacrificed in favor of something else. Perhaps, something more pressing. A “fire drill” that demanded your attention. Now you may be asking yourself, how do I find the time and the ability to do what I really want?

Commit to a large, overarching goal. That begins with an idea. Then, start inspiring yourself. Come back to this great publication for inspiration and motivation. Heck, you’re welcome to reach out to me and ask me about my own journey. Perseverance and committing to action is what leads to all great rewards.

There’s never an excuse for a lack of planning or for feeling that you don’t have enough tools or resources at your disposal. Even if you don’t have all the connections, you surely have the technology and the ability to use plenty of free tools to put together your game plan. All you need to do is act. First, it’s best to have a rock-solid foundation of core values to build on.

What promises did you make to yourself? What have you begun that you stopped and aren’t sure whether you will start again? As you think through these pertinent questions, I implore you to step up and take action for yourself, not out of duty or obligation, but out of a burning desire to find achievement and success in what you do.

It’s not just about the end goal. It’s about the journey we take to get there. Because it’s that journey that shapes us, molds us and defines us in the end. We become the sum of the parts of our personal experiences.

That major project you have at work that your boss keeps asking about? Finish the job. That final chapter of your book that you keep putting off?
Finish it. The business idea that you wrote down? Pick up the notepad, read it, and start putting together an actionable plan to give life to that idea.
The final couple weeks of the year are a great time to take inventory and look back at all you started, where you are and what’s to come for next year. Don’t lose sight of the progress you’ve made. Keep pushing forward to the finish line, whether it’s the end of this calendar year or a date in the future. Keep Going. There’s still work to do.

Order my book on Values and Contact me if you’d like.

This article originally appeared in Medium.

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