I am so excited to announce my guest blogger for the week Elexa from Women Gone Wednesdays ( find her at @womengonewednesdays on Instagram). In April of this year, Elexa started this beautiful campaign for one reason: we all need to be encouraged, and we all need to learn how to encourage others better. Women need it; Wednesdays are that mountain of a day to climb in the work week.
I would love if you checked out her wise words below!
The Race is On
Starting a new thing can be difficult. Starting a business takes endless work, many persistent phone calls, and plenty of late nights at the office. Starting college can be scary; you don’t know what “pulling an all-nighter” means yet or what your roommate will be like. After taking the plunge and getting married, you find yourself receiving questions like, “So, when are you starting a family?” Hearing the gun go off at the 5k run means it’s time to “Go!” The race is on. When the bell rings, it’s time to begin. Green means go. There are so many “starts” that we are faced with everyday.
But stopping says a lot about someone, too. Everybody wants to start something, but there are few people who say the words, “Stop!” out loud. Everyone talks about how they are starting a new exercise regiment or beginning this new book or that one. But nobody talks about finishing. We celebrate weddings (the start of a marriage), but there’s little to celebrate about divorce (stopping one). No one says they didn’t finish the book they started reading. And nobody likes to admit they stopped that exercise plan they started last week, if they did.
Are you known for what you start or for what you finish?
We all love to start new blogs and campaigns and movements and diets and book clubs and exercise plans. But do we get as excited about finishing them, and do we even view that as important? Starting says, “I’m going to do this.” Finishing, and purposing to finish well, says, “I’m serious about doing this and about making it count.”
So, how do we finish what we start? How do we make what we do matter?
1. Don’t start everything: Just because your friend is going to Zumba classes doesn’t mean that you need to, too. Is what you’re starting important to you at this time, or, if it’s a long-term commitment, is it important for what you think your future will be? Identify what is important to you. And, does what you’re thinking about beginning line up with that. Don’t start something you don’t really see as important because I can guarantee you won’t finish it.
2. Weed out things from your life: We often don’t finish what we begin because we’re too busy trying to keep up with the unimportant things we’ve started. (This is why Step 1 is crucial!) Think about what’s holding you back and why you’re not achieving your dreams and pouring in to the real purpose of your life. Eliminate the unimportant or delegate those things to someone else.
3. Make to-do lists: I make lists nearly every day of things I need and/or want to accomplish. I read a short book awhile back called “Eat That Frog!”. It talks about tackling your biggest and most challenging tasks first in your day because after you accomplish that difficult, insurmountable thing, you can conquer everything else easy peasy pumpkin squeezy! When I make lists, I do two things: 1) I do something fun and 2) I do the hardest thing. Then, I do everything else. Find what kind of list-making works for you, and stick with it.
4. Make to-be lists: What?! One recent morning, my to-do list felt overwhelming. “I’m never going to get all these things done,” I thought. So I did something different (sometimes, you’ve got to change it up). I made a “to-BE” list. “Today, I need to be… more graceful towards my husband. Today, I want to be… kinder to my little brother. Today, I want to be… fearless.” This approach has helped me conquer everything on my “to-do” lists with a completely different attitude. Who are you being when you’re doing? The attitude and grace with which you tackle your daily tasks may determine how and when you finish them.
Above all, figure out what’s important to you and what you value. What attitude do you start things with, and how do you approach the finish line? How are you treating those around you as you start and when you end? P.S. I’m writing this as much to myself as to any of you. I want to finish the encouragement I’ve started, and I want to finish it well.
Quit the things that don’t matter, and start the things that do. Then, finish them. Make it count, and encourage those around you during it all!