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There Is No Finish Line

When you keep pushing the line and never feel the success of completion.


A cat looking at a window

I love lists.

Lists of lists that remind me of all the things I haven't done yet.

Of all the things I have to do.

I'm pretty sure this is something I genetically fell into. I watched both of my parents make lists and throughout my entire life I have made lists whenever I felt stressed, or worried that I would forget something, or felt better after organizing all of the things I thought HAD to be completed.

But the thing about lists is that there is always STILL something to do, something to complete, something to research, something more to learn and achieve.

One day, my sister in law called me and said, "It never ends, does it, Nik?"

I felt a cringeworthy body and brain ache for her. She was feeling the pressure of lists, of completing things, of meeting unrealistic expectations.

But who set these "finish lines?" Who determines the things that should be done or that need to be completed?

If we continue to push the finish line without recognizing how it feels to be completed, when do we ever feel success?

Our inner critic, specifically the Mongor, spends a lot of time wanting to prevent us from failure. It constantly informs us of the ways we could fail and inflates this idea of catastrophic thinking.

Catastrophic thinking is the idea that "the worst case scenario will happen." Here's how the cycle goes:

You think of something you want to do or you need to do something.

Then you start researching and planning it, only to find out that there are going to be hurdles. The Mongor comes in to remind you how it could fail. It bleeds Imposter Syndrome and makes up irrational scenarios to prevent you from even getting started. Then the catastrophic thinking comes in and tells you the worst case scenario and you're then stuck in a loop of negative thinking without resolve. You end up sitting back down and not doing anything.

Sometimes our task completion can look a lot like this, too, or it can begin to look like starting a lot of projects and never finishing them.

Have you ever worked on something, just to get to a stopping point and then not pick it up again?

This isn't always ADHD but rather Perfectionism Procrastination and the stuck point of, well, I didn't finish or do it right the first time and now I don't want to see what it looks like when I go back.

Here are some tips to utilize to start meeting the finish line:

  1. Define what it looks like when it is completed.

  2. For instance, if you want to open your own practice, sit and really think about what it will look like after you have successfully achieved that.

  3. Describe what success with the goal looks like.

  4. This is really easy to think about when we are talking about weight loss or buying something but not so easy when we are utilizing abstract goals like "improving self-awareness" or "learning new coping mechanisms to implement within our life." Think about HOW the success looks.

  5. Remind yourself that mistakes are not failures.

  6. Success comes from overcoming mistakes, not having more success. If you're always succeeding, what are you really learning?

  7. If the goal or task that you are looking to complete does not have a solid finish line, what are the ways that you know you're moving towards it?

  8. This can be something like "self-improvement." We are constantly evolving and growing. Recognizing how you handled a situation better or seeing that you didn’t overthink a situation is a finish line completion. Reward yourself. Write about it. Share it with people who are rooting for you.

  9. DO NOT let the Mongor win.

  10. Yes, not everything we do is a success. But there are very few people I have met that regret taking a risk on a goal that they thought they wanted. Typically, they end up learning something from the process that steers them toward where they actually want to be rather than just quitting altogether.

  11. Your Mongor is going to lie to you because he/she/it does not want you to fail. They cautiously calculate all the steps that you may miss in order to make you feel like you can't do this. If you're really struggling, write down all of the fears, then write out the ways you are preventing them from happening or the research you have found to realize that they aren't as probable as your Mongor thinks.

We are constantly evolving within this world. American culture does a terrible job of making us feel like we have accomplished something. We constantly run as hard and as fast as we can to be the best as we can. But if we don't slow down a bit, if we do not recognize our achievements, then what are we running towards?

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