The problem with resolutions is “the middle.” It’s “the middle” that causes the issues for most of us. The start, the beginning, is easy; January 1st, January 7th, Lap 1 of a 12 lap race, the start of a marathon, the 1st 12 scripted plays of the game, the beginning of the project, the start of the relationship. We can deal with the excitement of the start. Everyone feels good and is positive at the start. We’ve all got good intentions. In fact, the end isn’t too bad either. We can see the end, the finish line, day 364 of 365, week 51 or 52, lap 12 of 12; “I can do this” we say, I can see the finish line; the end; the goal; that is if we make it that far.
The problem with getting there is “the middle.” It’s February 9th that’s the issue, not January 1st. It’s lap 7 of 12, it’s mile 16 of the marathon, it’s 40% of the way through the project, day 137 of 365, Wednesday morning of the work week, the middle of the 3rd quarter. That’s when things are messy, with choices, fatigue, options, too many details; things aren’t going according to plan, we got hurt, our stomach is upset, it’s cold outside, the team is off course, the race is getting difficult, the project isn’t on schedule, and so on. That’s when fatigue sets in; project fatigue, game fatigue, relationship fatigue, physical, mental, emotional fatigue. It’s easy to get lost in the details. This is where many of us give up.
We lose sight of the start, forgetting where we came from, and of the finish; where we are going. We get lost somewhere between.
Overcoming this is mostly a mental exercise; a mindset. But we need some strategies to carry out to keep ourselves on course. Much of success or failure is a game of attrition. The last one standing wins. The one who endures. The resilient. So, how do we do it?
We need some milestones, mile-markers, benchmarks, records, to assess our progress and status; mental exercises and many self-created markers or metrics to measure against and to keep on a path toward completion or improvememt.
Some things that work for me are noted here. I use them regularly. Perhaps it may help you as well.
Treat each lap of the race, each day in the month or year, each detail in the project, as the 1st one of the next cycle. In other words, January 2nd is day 1 of the next 365 cycle, so is June 27th. But each days is closer to the end, the finish. The work is shorter every day, the finish line closer. The next mile is the 1st mile towards a shorter race to the finish line. Remember the start, keep the end in mind, but know that each step along the way is the 1st step toward a definite finish or improvement towards an ongoing goal.
Set Milestones or Course markers to measure progress. Measure backwards always, not forward. Measure against set criteria; miles completed, money saved, relationship equity built, positive outcomes experienced, budget spent vs budget remaining.
Enlist Support. Get counsel. It helps to have a coach, an encourager, a friend, a peer, someone to clap, to provide input, to provide perspective.
Know that some things have destinations, and some things just run in perpetuity. For the latter, we will never “arrive” fully (like continual improvement in a business.) We just have to measure progress and know where we stand in the process.
For things that have destinations, we can more easily monitor and keep the end in mind or in sight. Finishing a run, a race, a project, a course, a meeting, shipping a product and so on.
There are many ways to accomplish staying strong in the middle. Where the courses and milestones are not marked out for us, we have to set them, whether in our mind or physically. When we are leading a team, we have to use these things to help guide and keep everyone on course.
Happy New Year. New Day. New Hour. New Mindset. Next step. New reality. It’s up to me, to you, to us, to make that, to paint it, to write the story, to take it one day at a time.
How’s the resolution going?