On Finishing Strong

There’s something about being so close to completing a task that makes it so hard to finish. The last 1% of what we do carries 50% of the resistance. Steven Pressfield in The War of Art describes how, “resistance is most powerful at the finish line…It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.”

I find this resistance in so many parts of my life. A quick list:

-Getting to bed late, knowing I should brush my teeth, but feeling the warmth of the sheets and not scrounging up the energy to get up.

-Entering the last room of the house to clean and speed-mopping aimlessly, missing 30% of the floor in a rush to finish.

-Writing a blog post and hitting publish instead of proofreading one more time like I know I should because I want the dopamine hit of being done.

There’s an adage in weightlifting that lifting is not about reps 1 through 9; it’s about rep 10. It’s about how we finish. This is where the growth and resistance live. Knowing that growth comes from moving with resistance is a game-changer. We can work this muscle by embracing resistance in things both big and small. If you are learning to run and decide to run for 20 minutes, know that minute 20 is going to be the hardest – embrace it. Don’t taper off. End as you began. The resistance you feel isn’t a sign that you should quit. It’s a sign that you’re doing it right.

So, start now. Put the shopping cart back when you’re done using it. Push in your chair when you leave a room. Hug your family members when you say goodbye. Finish strong.

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