Some people like to choose a word to describe their focus for the year. Of course, this usually happens around new years, as a replacement for the much maligned new years resolution.
It’s Easter Sunday, so we’re decidedly no longer in a new year, according to the main stream calendar. I suppose the church calendar would say this is a new year, marked by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Regardless, sometimes we need to work backwards in life and see what God is doing in our lives and to discern a direction. This then, allows us to carry forward, somewhat secure that we’re headed in a right path.
I just realized today, that is I knew what path I would be on, personally, I would have picked the work “complete”, as my word of the year. I have historically not been someone who completes things. I have started and stopped many, many things. Some of them certainly we of no consequence, but a few big things I did not complete an I regret them. There are at least two training programs I started and did not complete, which I really regret, because I think they would be of use today.
More so, I regret it because of the reasons why. I typically haven’t finished many things because of a lack of self-confidence, a lack of motivation, and a lack of organization. Really though, I just got to a point where it got too hard. I wasn’t able or willing to push through the hard stuff and take that next step.
Why is that? Am I not “man” enough? Am I really not strong enough? Am I not able to persevere? Am I really just a persistent failure that can never achieve? Well, I certainly felt like that a lot. This is related to my earlier post on the twin fears of success and failure. Eventually, I started failing just to be consistent with how I saw myself. I was no good because I kept failing and even when I was on the verge of success, I would cause myself to fail, just to prove I was right.
It’s important for us as humans to be consistent with themselves, so if you believe you’re a failure, you will cause yourself to fail. The solution of course is to reorient your thinking:
1) Decide, no matter how you’re feeling in the present, that this feeling of being a failure, is unacceptable.
2) Accept that people fail, but people are not failures. Failure is an object, it’s something that happens and yes, you may be the cause of it, but you are not a failure.
3) God made you and you are therefore not a mistake or a failure. God doesn’t fail. Realize who you are in Christ, who you were made to be, and live as if it were true. Slowly, every so slowly, you attitude and mindset will shift and you will understand a truer reality.
4) Your job is to see what isn’t working, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure it doesn’t happen again. So, look back on some recent failures and figure out what happened. How can you ensure you don’t fall into those traps again? Make a plan and follow it.
5) What resources, if any, do you need? Do you need the help of other people? Is there something you’re not good at, that you need the expertise of someone who is skilled in that area?
6) Assess your schedule. Are you too busy to realistically do all the things you have committed to do? Do you need to cut out, or ask to be let out, of some commitments? Be realistic with your time, energy and other resources. You can only do so much. Don’t fall into the trap of martyrdom or the cult of busy. Even Jesus had his quiet time.
7) Commit to complete. Commit to following through and completing what you start. It’s true, there may be something that you have going on right now that aren’t really serving your higher calling, and those you may need to consider dropping (as per point 6), but from now on, make sure you’re someone who, when they make a commitment, will stick it out and see it done.
8) Start small. One of my goals for this year is to finish a lot of the books I’ve started by have never finished. I have a bunch of half read books laying around and I want to finished them. I bought them for a reason, so I may as well finish them.
9) Aim high. My other bigger goals, is to finally complete this battle of the bulge. I have about 60lbs to lose and I am currently 10lbs down. This is a project that has haunted me for at leas the last 15 years, so I will be happy to have this one completed. Weight loss is a continual project, as you move into maintenance and work to keep the weight off, but getting to that number will be a huge accomplishment.
Being a completer is a work of consistency and commitment. It requires thought, goal setting, taking one step at a time and doing the hard work every day of prioritizing your actions towards one activity, over and above those of another. If you want to finish your half-ready books, you may need to watch less TV (you probably need to anyway). If you want to loose weight, you may need to prioritize a slightly decreased social life, over being able to make wiser decisions about what you eat (if they’re worth it, you’re family and friends will understand and adjust to support you).
Being a completer is about feeling awesome on the inside and when you start that snowball of completing one thing after another, you’re internal awesome will start to show on the outside and you’ll start to spread the awesomeness to others.
Being a completer is about closing as many loops as possible, while being ok with the loops left open, knowing you did your best and will get back to them one day, if they are worth closing.
So, what’s one thing you can finish today? Make the bed, do the dishes, wash the floors, go for a walk? Start and finish. Decide. Commit. Succeed. You can do it. You are worth it.