An Odd Thing (Sometimes) Happens As You Get Closer to The Finish Line - Jacquette M. Timmons

I didn’t watch any of the Olympics in real time. But I’ve enjoyed watching the recaps, especially of Track & Field. And how awesome for Allyson Felix, winner of 11 Olympic medals!!

I’m an avid outdoor runner, as you may likely know. Last year I ran 800 miles; year to date, I’ve run over 500. So, I’m on track to match or even exceed what I achieved last year…yay for me! 

Yet, there are some runs when as I am approaching the end of the run, I do the opposite of what you’d expect. Instead of speeding up and sprinting to the end so I can finish strong, I slow down. 

Sometimes I slow down because of fatigue (especially when it’s hot and humid); other times, it’s because I say to myself, “I’m not an athlete; I’m not running a race; it doesn’t matter how I finish.” 

As you can probably tell, I’m using running to make a larger point. Because reaching the finish line when it comes to running is no different than reaching the finish line when it comes to a project or a goal. 

Are you nearing the end of a project or goal? 

As you read this question, what are you noticing:

Are you picking up the pace to cross the finish line, or are you slowing down?

If you said the latter, you are not alone because this is oddly typical. Here are two common reasons:

Fatigue 

You tend to start work on most projects and goals with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. That excitement is what often carries you throughout the process, and is what sustains your energy – especially when you run into roadblocks. 

When fatigue strikes, you often have to tap into every last bit of any reserve you have in order to keep going. This is part physical (as with running) and it also part mental/mindset. 

Mindset, I

Whether it regards running or a project or goal, you need to prepare both for the process and for what happens once you finish. Here are a few things to help propel yourself across the finish line: 

  • See beyond the moment – fatigue doesn’t just drain you of physical energy; it tends to cloud how well you think, too. Move your locus point beyond the moment when you want nothing more than to slow down (or, gasp, completely stop!) and let the “future” pull you toward it.
  • Psyche yourself out – instead of listening to the voice that is saying “slow down,” talk yourself to and across the proverbial finish line with the wonderful chant courtesy of “The Little Engine That Could” – “yes I can.” This storybook for children isn’t just for them and it’s a classic for a reason.
  • Remember why you started this project or made this goal in the first place.
  • Remember ALL the effort that got you here to this point.
  • And when you cross the line, remember to say to yourself, “Well, done!”

Mindset, II

If you find yourself slowing down right when picking up the pace might behoove you, you may also need to confront an uncomfortable question: Is this due to self-sabotage? 

In other words, are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of leaving your current comfort zone?

Sure, when you commit to a project or a goal, you may not say, “this is part of my identity.” But, they are!

If a project or goal is meaningful to you, then it is definitely connected to some aspect of how you see (or want to see) yourself. Plus, it will likely push you beyond your current comfort level. 

The way I see it…

…crossing the finish line is about growth – in a multitude of ways.

Yes, the desire to want to slow down the closer you get to the finish line is odd. But ironically, this usually happens because you’re approaching the finish line! 

It’s both weird…and natural! So in case you need it, here’s a friendly reminder to keep going…and cross that finish line! 

And not to be too on the nose (or corny) with this example: Be like the Olympian who actually runs past the finish line – full speed ahead!

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