The last time you finished something was at primary school, and only because your teacher was looking. Your resolutions fall to pieces after three days, exercising is no more than a plan to you and your house is filled with unfinished projects. Are you the type of person who never finishes anything? Pay attention, because there’s hope!
‘I never finish anything…’ Can you relate to that? Ouch, apparently, it’s even part of your self image that you’re not a go-getter. That’s difficult, because for you, it may seem like it’s a fixed, innate quality. And it’s not. Oftentimes, giving up is nothing but a habit, and habits are there for changing.
There’s just one thing left to do.
If you want to be a go getter, look at it as a quality that can be trained. It’s not about resolutions or beautiful thoughts and speeches in the mirror. Being a go getter is something you do not by thinking, but by doing. Now, don’t start muttering about ‘I can’t do that’. The following tricks will help you to teach yourself in small steps that pushing through is fun, and, more importantly: that you can do it.
Divide your tasks into tiny portions. Small enough to finish them without putting too much of an effort into it. You will be surprised of how much you can do in just a couple of minutes. Playing an instrument for five minutes, cleaning out a drawer, walking around with a book on your head, calling your aunt, eating three carrots, learning five new words. The egg timer is your new best friend. Five minutes. Go! Hear the timer buzzing? Stop. Job done. New job tomorrow. Doing great!
This approach forces you to take baby steps. That’s a strategy that goes a long way.
Exercising ten times a month. Learning how to speak a new language within two months. Losing twenty pounds in three weeks. Cleaning out your whole house within a week. Oh well. People hardly ever make realistic estimates of how much time things take. Realise that it’s hard to estimate how much time you need until you are really doing it. If you can’t manage to do it in the time you set, allow yourself double the amount of time (tip: secretly keep this in mind from the start – start in time).
Go to the gym with a friend once a week (or hiking, or taking a walk, or whatever you want), take a walk in the woods with your mom on Saturdays or to a museum once a month. If you want to read more, join a book club. Want to learn how to play an instrument? Join a band or an orchestra. Want to exercise more, find the kind of sports you like!
Reward yourself for finishing things. Do something you like, buy something nice (and have it wrapped for you). Or give yourself an imaginary pat on the back. Another useful trick: do your ‘chore’ every day just before dinner. That way, dinner is your reward. (If you’re thinking ‘that’s how I train my puppy too… you’re right, it’s a bit like that.)
Does it seem all too logical and simple? It is. The thing is: you have to do it. That’s why the first trick is the most important one: start with baby steps. Make sure the tasks you have to do, are the ones you’re able to finish. Because your mind doesn’t realise it was a five minute chore. All it knows is: hey, something got finished!
Every time you persist in doing something for five minutes, you shake up your fixed self image a little bit. There will come a time when you look back and realise that ‘I never finish anything’ simply isn’t true anymore. Even more so: one day, you’ll find yourself thinking ‘I’m actually quite the go getter’.
Sure, you’ll just have to do it, first. But finishing the end of this article, is quite a good start.
Text: Anne Wesseling – Photo: Pablo Heimplatz
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