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Have you ever struggled to finish something in your life? I was dealing with this issue the other day. I was working on a book manuscript, and I was losing steam. I had done quite a bit of work on the project, but the finish line still seemed so far off. There was a part of me that was getting bored with the writing project, and I wanted to do something else.

My students sometimes struggle with this issue as well. I remember meeting with a student a few years ago, and we were really close to finishing a manuscript. The paper had gotten what is called a “revise and resubmit.” The journal liked it, but it wasn’t quite good enough to be accepted yet. They gave us a list of changes and edits they wanted. If we did a good job addressing the concerns, there was a good chance the manuscript would be published. But we had to finish making all the changes. There was still quite a bit of work to be done, and it wasn’t very fun work. My student wanted to be done with the paper, but we still had to move the paper past the finish line.

The Struggle to Finish Well

Struggling to finish well is a common experience for many of us in our lives. We pour a lot of work into a project, but then we start to lose steam. The excitement of the project has waned, but we aren’t done yet. We still have some work left to do, and we know it won’t be very much fun. But to get the reward that comes from finishing the project, we have to finish it.

Finishing well can be difficult. This is true of projects at work, but it is also true with relationships and just about anything in our lives. So many people start off with such energy, intensity, and passion, but then, like a shooting star, they flame out. Or, they do something stupid and ruin everything they have worked for. It’s difficult to make consistent effort over the long haul, and finish what we started.

The Importance of Finishing Well

But we have to do it. There’s no prize for getting something “most of the way completed.” If a football team gets the ball to the one yard line, but doesn’t cross the goal line, they get zero points, even though they were so close. When we get close to the finish line, we have to muster up our last little bit of courage, energy, and discipline, and finish the job we started. Only then will we reap the rewards that come along with finishing a job well done.

Discussion: What is something you are doing right now that you are struggling to finish? What blocks you from putting in that last bit of effort and crossing the finish line? Could you work a little extra harder today and get it completed?