Someone has observed that it’s not what you don’t know that can hurt you, but what you think you know that just ain’t so.
Here is one of those “just-ain’t-so”
It’s not how you start but how you finish that counts”
First of all, if you don’t start something, you can’t finish it.
Secondly, how you start something can greatly impact how well you finish it…whether you are talking about a day, a job, a project or a marriage.
Procrastination is the father of failure and it’s no secret that the biggest waste of time is the waste of time in getting started.
It takes determination, being focused and being proactive, along with a good game plan, to get going. Good intentions and noble desires won’t cut it.
So, as you stand on the threshold of a brand new year with the chance to start lots of things, here are some simple and practical thoughts on starting well so you don’t sputter out three months into it like New Year’s resolutions generally do with lots of emotion and hoopla but with little specificity.
Start with yourself. It is tempting to want to change everything and everyone around you but not begin with yourself. By God’s grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit, where specifically do you want to see some changes in your life?
Start the first step now rather than later. Don’t put off till tomorrow, next week or next month what you can do today. Start right now. Whatever you are thinking about won’t get any easier the longer you wait. Make the phone call now. Go to the gym now. Write that letter of apology now. Begin working on that family budget now. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
I have the germ idea of an article in my head titled “One of these days.” One of these days I am going to get my life in order. One of these days I’m going to work on my health. One of these days I am going to give quality time to my wife and children. One of these days is right now…today!
John Maxwell says:
“It may be a cliché to say that every journey begins with the first step, yet it is still true. Successful people don’t wait for everything to be perfect to move forward. They don’t wait for all the problems or obstacles to disappear. They don’t wait until their fear subsides. They take initiative. They know a secret that good leaders understand: momentum is their friend. As soon as they take that first step and start moving forward, things become a little easier. If the momentum gets strong enough, many of the problems take care of themselves. But it starts only after you’ve taken those first steps.”
Start with the hard ones first. We talk ourselves into saving the hard tasks until later, or last, and then postpone them to the next day, the next week or the next month. Tackle, and finish, the hardest ones first and watch what happens to your motivation, joy and sense of accomplishment.
Start small. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the task before you is not big enough. I need something really big to get me going. The big “deals” are usually accomplished through a combination of smaller tasks. Break down a large intimidating task into small steps and begin with a first step and then another and yet another. Before you know it, you’ll be there!
Start with the end in mind. I read somewhere that author H. G. Wells would, at times, write the last chapter of a book first so he knew how he wanted to end and then begin the first chapter with the end in view. At Mars Hill Church we call this “reverse engineering.” It creates motivation and momentum to start with where you want to wind up in a given area, back up from there and begin with the end in mind.
I finish with the most important tip of all.
Start with Jesus. Do what you do out of love for Jesus--not to be more wealthy, more popular, more admired, or more successful
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 ESV
Be Bible-based, Cross and Resurrection centered, Holy Spirit empowered and Jesus honoring as you start well--and aim to finish well!