The Focuses of a Finisher

Any person that has ever finished knows what a joy it is to cross the finish line. There is something in us that when you finish a goal or task, it gives us a sense of self-worth.

However, according to U.S. News, approximately 80% of all New Year resolutions fail by the second week of February.

It’s one thing to be a strong starter; it’s another thing to be a strong finisher. The ability to execute and finish is an essential character trait of successful people. In practice, the discipline of finishing is a habit that is created through habitually deciding to seek results by using initiating, communicating, executing, learning, and completing a project or goal.

“The bookends of success are ‘D’ for deciding and ‘D’ for discipline.” — John C. Maxwell

In my experience, the discipline of finishing depends on three essential areas of focus; controlling your time, creating milestones, and celebrating success. Let’s unpack these areas of focus.

Control your time.

First, set consistent daily hours for work and stick to them. Just as important, set consistent daily hours for non-work and stick to them. You need to rest, recharge and reset your mind.

Second, make a to-do list. I call these mini action plans. You can do this each night before you go to bed or during the last half-hour of your workday. Personally, I like resourcing time-slots in my workday calendar to create my mini action plans. It gives me a sense of control and direction and helps me relax and focus on my family for the remainder of the day. I wrote more about my specific approach in the article; Five Successful Things Managers Do Every Friday.

Create your milestones.

Milestones are measurements of success. When you create milestones, you are creating a roadmap to achievement. One of the main reasons many of us fail in executing and finishing in our business and life is that we simply don’t plan for milestones.

“We set our sights too low when we create a vision for our future and yet we set our sights too high when we look at plans for the short term.” — Bill Gates

Celebrate your achievements.

People often become so caught up in “hustling” and “grinding” that they neglect to stop and celebrate their accomplishments. They simply keep “hustling” and “grinding”.

STOP — and celebrate every small, medium, and large milestone. If you meet a deadline, take five minutes to enjoy the sense of completion. If you hit a major milestone, take your family or friends out to dinner and celebrate. You can even make a coffee break a mini-reward for finishing a routine task that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Long before your family, the boss, the company, the market, or the public decide what you will achieve, you will determine how successful or unsuccessful you will be. Show me a person that quits all the time and I will show you a person that doesn’t execute and finish.

To be a finisher, you must make the decision that no matter what, your project or goal will linger no longer. While decisions can only help us start, discipline helps us finish. Finishers decide what to do and what is needed to do it — then, with discipline, finishers… do it!