Do you ever struggle to finish what you start?
It’s crazy to think about all the things we start that never get finished — very few of us will actually complete everything we commit to. And more profoundly, the “follow through” is at the top of most people’s list of things they want to improve. Of all the commitments we make to ourselves and others, the most important ones have to do with our health and wellbeing.
That’s one of the reasons we end up with piles of self-help books and courses that never get completed. We tell ourselves we will change our habits and do better this time. We start a diet, exercise program, stress management plan, make some progress, and then fall back on old behavior patterns.
I am a serial entrepreneur. It started with dog walking, cat sitting, and selling Christmas cards from an advertisement in the back of a magazine when I was a kid. It’s not just that my mind is bursting with great ideas I want to bring to life; it’s because there are a zillion things I want to accomplish in my years on earth. I, too, have courses never finished, books left unread, and commitments only partially completed. It happens to the best humans because life is busy, complicated, filled with distractions; and sometimes, we just want to focus on other stuff.
But, that doesn’t mean you should punish yourself or feel crappy about having good intentions and changing your mind. If you want to get better at finishing what you start, I have some tips you can use to put the odds in your favor.
It begins with self-talk and what we believe to be true.
Negative self-talk and the thoughts that go with them are a form of hypnosis. The more we think, say, and believe our thoughts, the more they become embedded in our character. Do you ever catch yourself thinking or saying:
- “This is too hard.”
- “I am not ( fill in the blank, smart enough/talented enough/experienced enough/etc.)”
- “I don’t have what it takes.”
One of the best examples is doing a grueling workout at the gym. When you think to yourself – this is so freaking hard there is no way I can get through, you tell yourself to quit. When you think about how great you will feel after completing the challenge and focus on what you are doing, positive energy fuels you to the finish line. Professional athletes use the power of the mind for a competitive edge and you can too.
Our subconscious mind is like a sponge absorbing our words and thoughts. When we flip the negative to the positive, we cultivate greater confidence, train our brain with supportive language, feel better, and finish more of the things we start. Reframing is a powerful psychological technique anyone can use, and the best part is it works. So, consider every word you say after “I am” and put a positive spin on it:
- “I am ready to do this.”
- “I can do hard things.”
- “I am up for this challenge.”
The change of seasons is the perfect time to practice wellness follow through. We all want to look and feel our best, especially when we transition out of sweats and into lighter, skimpier clothing.
Your Wellness Karma Action Plan
- Decide what it is you want to accomplish. Lose a few pounds, level-up your fitness game, reduce stress, improve sleep, become more productive, or whatever you fancy.
- Reframe: Turn negative self-talk positive and tell yourself you can do it. Practice positivity because you are a positive person, and things are always working out for you.
- Do NOT compare yourself to others. This can be hard, but comparisons will take the wind out of your sails. You are doing this for yourself and no one else. Own it and give yourself some love.
- Accept a minor failure. It’s ok if you experience a setback, skip a workout, have a crappy night’s sleep, or overindulge in the wrong things. Reframe challenges as a positive opportunity to double down on what you want to accomplish instead of being an excuse to quit.
- Limit distractions. This can be hard but learning to say NO to someone else in order to say YES to yourself is a valuable lesson.
- Focus on how you want to feel and stop thinking about what you want to achieve. It might sound counterintuitive but getting out of your head and into your feelings is one of the most potent tools for following through.
Everything you want for yourself becomes more accessible when you start living in a positive can-do mindset. You make decisions that align with your wellness goals because you see yourself as someone who does these things. It is no longer a struggle to finish what you start because you are excited to have the power to accomplish whatever you set out to do.