When my children were growing up, and something they’d committed to became challenging, their inclination was to quit. Unless additional factors came into play, I encouraged them to continue to completion because I knew their feelings of frustration or being overwhelmed would likely subside in a few days. Additionally, I wanted to teach them the benefits of persevering and finishing what you start.
It’s human nature to want to give up when what initially seems doable suddenly becomes harder than expected, but the value of finishing outweighs momentary fears and struggles.
Following are some reasons to finish what you start:
Finishing Creates a Sense of Accomplishment
Sometimes it feels like I spend an inordinate amount of time in the gym. While I don’t always see the result I hope for, I gain a sense of accomplishment from maintaining the effort, completing classes, and pushing myself to finish specific workouts.
Recently, a friend told me she stopped going to the gym about five years ago, reasoning the stress of fitting workouts into her schedule wasn’t worth the effort. Now, she sees the negative effect of giving up exercise and wishes she hadn’t quit.
While continuing with an endeavor may seem pointless, we gain simply from moving forward with completion as the goal. The benefits of finishing aren’t always immediately evident, but in time, value surfaces.
Giving Up Too Soon Leads to Regret
Frequently, the decision to quit is based on emotion. Fear of inadequacy or failure often precipitates giving up. Another factor in the decision to quit something you start is comfort. Challenge is uncomfortable. Challenge pushes us out of our comfort zones. It’s much easier to stay in a place of comfort than search for information or skills necessary to finish a difficult project or assignment. While quitting lends immediate pressure relief, the decision is ultimately followed by regret. The immediate gratification of giving up isn’t worth lasting regret.
Pushing Through Equips for the Next Challenge
Our son took private cello lessons during middle and high school. Many times, he wanted to quit because the music was challenging and lessons and practice took up more of his time than he was willing to give. But I strongly encouraged him to continue. He says I forced him.
After he auditioned for a college music scholarship, he told me most of the audition music (which was supposed to be college level and new to him) was music he had already learned. He got the scholarship, received a degree in music, and is now the owner of his own music-related business.
Often when we push through to complete something that challenges us, we gain knowledge, skills, and tools necessary for the next hard thing we encounter. And sometimes that hard thing is in a totally different area of life. We also become more aware of what triggers us to want to give up and that awareness helps us push past future barriers. Each successful completion equips for the next challenge.
The Big Picture Emerges After the Finish Line
Most of the time, when you are faced with challenge, you can’t determine what you are learning during the process. Only when you finish can you discern lessons learned and see the overall benefits from powering through. The big picture perspective emerges after the finish line, when you have time to reflect and accurately assess. Remember that when you want to give up, and instead, maintain forward motion, straining toward the goal of completion.
“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT