If you had to rate your strength in terms of being awesome at 1. STARTING, 2. MAINTAINING or 3. FINISHING – which one do you do best?
Which one may be holding you back?
A lot of us are fairly good at starting things. I absolutely subscribe to this …the attraction of an exciting (distracting!) new opportunity. Limitless possibilities AND the endorphin hit you get just thinking about a new goal and the difference achieving that goal would mean to your life.
To achieve of course you must finish.
…and often also maintain.
I’ve found of all 3, maintain and finish are the steps most stumbled upon in weight loss, so let’s explore them today.
A great place to begin is to acknowledge the activities in which you are already successful at maintaining or at finishing. These are your reference points for success.
What are your current long standing (maintain) habits, in any area of your life?
=> If you’re a mum who will always insure her child has great snacks… Ok, it’s proof you can chose to continually show the same care to yourself.
What do you always finish?
=> Perhaps once you start cleaning the house or washing your car you won’t stop till it’s done… and you can relax, proud of a job well done. Ok, exercise is the same, each session deserves your all, right till the finish – no early marks, no slacking at the end and no rescheduling till another day.
When it comes to implementing a new action to maintain or to finish, it’s a good idea to first look at an area of your life that is fairly safe and non-confronting. So how about we start with your kitchen and bathroom habits instead of your eating and exercising habits.
I also recommend ‘conspiring for your success’ by starting small… and then building on it.
Here are some ideas if maintain is your ‘to work on’ step:
=> stick a laminated card with your goals in the shower and read it every morning.
=> buy a pot plant, some herbs or just a vase of flowers for your kitchen window… and water or replace (if flowers) as required.
=> while you’re at it, how about downing a glass of water yourself before each meal or snack.
For your ‘maintain’ new habits it can be helpful to link them to something you already do. If you’re pretty good at remembering to have your morning coffee (!) and want to drink more water… Have a couple of glasses of water before your coffee.
Here are some finish ideas:
=> take a look inside your fridge & cupboard. I’m guessing there are plenty of half finished bottles, jars, tubes… double ups, out of dates, never to be used again items… Your finishing task is to throw them out. Do the same in your bathroom… the old shampoos, dried up moisturizers and caked over make up. Ditch the items you’re not using.
=> how about those household tasks? If you’re a non finisher like me you’ll do 80% of the dishes & leave a couple of items… Or perhaps you wash it all & leave it to drain rather than drying & putting it away. Your task is to finish the job you start.
For your ‘to finish’ new habits a well chosen reward can be compelling (not food!)… and it doesn’t have to be costly like a massage at the end of a great eating and exercising week.
It could be strategically placed instant scratchies next to the tasks you’ve previously not finished that you get to scratch on completion. Or it could even be a time reward, as in your choice of how you spend your time after finishing an important task – perhaps, preparing a week of dinners to freeze earns you 60 minutes guilt-free reading time?
In the same way that building your will power muscle (this post covers Will Power in 6 steps:) in any activity can lead to a corresponding increase in will power with your health habits, so too does getting better at maintaining or finishing.
Looking for more incentive?
Beyond the reward (be it the achievement of that end goal or the little rewards you may choose to set yourself on your journey) a huge benefit to getting better at finishing is escaping the massive energy zap that your list of ‘to finish’ activities holds over you.
It’s one thing to accept that you will never get it all done, I believe this is the first step to overcoming overwhelm which I discuss here…
However that is only an effective approach when you prioritise what does get done AND make it happen. Once you decide something is a priority – and then you repeatedly do not maintain it or do not finish it… that is what becomes a massive self belief shattering energy zap.
On ‘maintaining’ specifically with regard to your eating and exercising I’d love to share with you that it’s only going to get increasingly easier to stick to these healthy habits you’re creating as you get closer and closer to your goal. Working hard for something you don’t have yet is tough – working to keep something you have, Love and truly Value is…well, fairly easy.
What is one thing you’re committing to maintain or finish today?