Starting and Sticking Are Two Separate Things

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It’s quite easy to start things. We’re now half way through January. Those who boldly stepped into the new year with grand visions of a “new me” will inevitably hit the wall by the end of the month. Setting goals and starting things are intoxicating. This will be the year, we declare … drop x-number of pounds, read x-number of books, etc. We start the year with gusto and determination. But February is coming …

It is easy for me to be cynical this time of the year. I don’t set any goals or anything like that. I mean, I do and do so on a regular basis, but it is not tied to a new calendar year (I operate more on an academic calendar). I watch year after year as my gym explodes in population with people in the first week of January. I constantly remind myself to be patient while waiting for the leg press. They will be gone by the end of the month, I tell myself. Sure enough, by February it’s back to the same regulars.

Starting is fun, exciting, and even easy. Whether we’re talking about some new weight-loss plan, exercise routine, church plant, or startup business the fun and excitement is in the starting. We’re energized and our stoke levels are off the chart. We pour boundless energy into it as our imagination soars with creativity. But then February hits. It may not be the actual month, but eventually we all hit some kind of a February. Sitting on a stationary bike for an hour is no longer fun, grinding out orders to fulfill isn’t as invigorating, and seeking to expand / grow takes a lot of … well, work.

We call it “work” for a reason or a “work out.” It’s not always fun. In fact, we can and do hit long stretches where it actually sucks. This is where starting versus sticking begins to really diverge. Those with sticking power simply plow through. This could be 2 months into it, 2 years, or 10 years when we hit a (of many) wall. This is the time to push through. While it may be fun to post your WODs (workout of the day) on social media, how about you do so 2 years into it? That’ll save you from posting lots of follow-up comments and photos about “falling off” or needing to “get back on” and more. My motto has always been less talking and more doing or more grinding.

Let your work speak for itself. We’re all captivated by the allure of starting something. What we need is more of a focus on sticking.