Don’t See the End Too Soon

I make a lot of mistakes when I play golf. So many in fact that there are days I wonder why I play the game at all. People who play with me would tell you that the biggest mistake I make is that at some point during a round my swing gets too fast and I lose all control over what I’m doing. That’s not entirely true, sometimes my swing is too fast right from the start and never slows down.

That is indeed a big mistake, but it’s not my biggest one. When my swing gets fast my score goes up, the round is pretty much over and there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it. At least it seems like I can’t.

I think my biggest mistake on the golf course is seeing the end too soon. Here’s what I mean by that. There are days when I play well, at least by my standards. Everything seems to work and I even seem to catch a few breaks. Then I look at the scorecard and start to think….Geez, if I can par the last two holes, or even just bogey them this will be an awesome score.

I instantly stop doing whatever I was doing and boom, the last two holes are double or triple bogeys… or worse. I saw the end too soon and just stopped doing the things I needed to do to successfully complete my round.

One of my mentors once told me that as important as it is to start well, it’s even more important to finish well. I’ve come to learn that’s true, not only in golf, but in most parts of life.

As I publish this post we have about 10 days left in 2014. 10 days left to finish well. These are the days when most people take their foot off the gas and kind of cruise to the end. They are seeing the end of 2014 just a bit too soon.

When I was a high school student, a former Vice-President of the United States came to my school to speak. He had recently lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon. He gave us some advice that I have never forgotten. He said to be careful what you say in your concession speech because it’s really not the last speech of your campaign, it is actually the first speech of your next one.

These final days of 2014 can either be the end of this year or you can choose to use them as a springboard to a successful 2015. You can slow down or you can hit next year running. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds in 2015 you could lose 1 by the end of 2014 and have only 14 left to lose in 2015. You could be 1/15 of the way to your goal before the year even begins.

Here’s the point, you can make all of 2015 better, easier, more productive, and more prosperous by finishing 2014 strong.

As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” Don’t let your 2014 be over even one day too soon!

Quit to Be Better in 2014

It’s that time of year. We’ll here it daily for the next week or so… Have a Great New Year!

I appreciate the sentiment and do not doubt the sincerity of those who offer it. I also assume that most everyone would like their new year to be better than their old year, no matter how good 2013 was for them. 

How about you? Would you like to be better in 2014? More productive? Happier, wealthier, and wiser. 

Are you hoping for that, wishing for that, or planning for that? There is a huge difference between the three. The first two can provide a bit of enthusiasm for a while but only the third one, planning can make a long-term difference in 2014.

Your plan must include doing something different in 2014 than you did in 2013, at least if your 2014 is going to be better. You simply can not be different without doing something different. Most people believe that doing something different means doing something in 2014 that you’re not doing in 2013. That could be right but for many, many people success and improvement in 2014 will be determined by what they stop doing.  

Successful plans are not just a list of things you need to do in order to succeed. The very best plans also include a list of things you need to stop doing. You may just find it easier to let go of a bad attitude than to have a positive one. Once you decide to let go of negativity the positive attitude you need for success may just find you. 

You probably didn’t have a lot of extra time in 2013 so if you’re going to start doing more in 2014 you best be prepared to leave some of what you were doing in 2013. Many people fail to do “the new” because they are burning their time doing “the old” stuff, often unproductive stuff, from last year. 

If you really want a better 2014 then don’t commit to do even one new thing without also committing to stop doing one old thing. You’re likely just kidding yourself if you think success will come from just piling more on to your already overburdened schedule. 

It is by the way, entirely possible to have a better 2014 just by stopping something old. There is no requirement to do more to have more. If you quit just one unproductive, unhealthy, or unwise thing in 2014 you could have a better year ahead of you.

Stop, maybe just stop, quit, or give up to succeed in 2014. That’s certainly easier than just committing to more that you can’t do anyway.