I ride a road bike for exercise and fun. I have a very steep hill to climb as I finish one of my favorite two-hour routes. This year that hill has given me problems. Last week on this route I got wobbly half way up, had to get out of my pedal clips, and walk the bike up the last third of the hill. Worse yet, I almost got hit by a car for my troubles. I went riding the other day and that hill was in my head the whole way: should I try it again? What can I do differently? Maybe I should take an easier way and try again another time? The weather was wet and cold. I was just starting to get a cold and not feeling very strong. The excuses were piling up in a nice convenient way. What should I do? After all, the only person that cares about the hill is me.
The hill is a metaphor for me. It represents all the things that I do that require finishing …getting up that hill. There are so many people that are great at starting projects. But how many people are great finishers? Here’s the thought process I go through when I struggle with finishing. I’m not perfect at finishing but I know that I’m better than I used to be:
- What are the consequences of not finishing? Sometimes the most courageous thing to do is quit. If we honestly and consciously think that the “hill” is not that important and purposefully choose to NOT finish, it will be a relief and allow us to focus precious time and energy on climbing more important hills.
- If the “hill” is important then we need to make a better plan to finish. Techniques I use are to:
- Constantly visualize the benefits of getting to the top, of finishing.
- Break the journey up the hill into small progressive steps, declaring little victories along the way.
- Practice new techniques that might help you get to the milestones and finish.
- Get help; coaching can make the difference. Too often we try and do it alone.
- Declare your intention to climb “that hill” publicly. It is transparent and scary but can also be motivating.
Today I decided getting up that hill was important to me and I wanted to finish. I practiced a strategy of changing my gears and attacked the hill by breaking up the climb into “thirds” along the way. I got to the top with a few gears and a little “juice” left. It felt great to finish!
Character Move: be mentally tough and honest enough to decide whether to finish. If it is important to finish make a plan of attack and just do it. Don’t give up or take an easier but less rewarding path. What hill will you climb this week?
Be a finisher in the Triangle,