HOW TO FINISH STRONG IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE
In high school and in college, it was always hardest to stay focused on school work the last month of school. All of the projects were due and then there was a week or two of exams. The weather was starting to get nice and no one wanted to be inside studying. I always had good grades and final exams were more likely to hurt than help me. It was so hard to keep the momentum to the end. I remember my high school chemistry teacher encouraging us to "persevere until the end" and to "finish strong" and that stuck with me through the remainder of my college and graduate schooling. The last month of school is always tough. You are mentally done and it’s hard to push through to the end. But finishing strong and following through is a valuable trait that will make you successful in school and in life.
This quote really applies to most things in life - finishing a job, a project, a race, or putting effort into a relationship when it gets comfortable or hard;
How do you finish well when you are exhausted and ready to quit? I mean, even Sheryl Sandberg said that "done is better than perfect"? I think "done is better than perfect" is a great philosophy for perfectionists who can never finish a project because they always want to put one more finishing touch on it. If you have a long to-do list, then sometimes it is better to prioritize what things can just be done and checked off and what things need to be done well.
Don't leave everything to the last minute
This is very hard for me and easier said than done. Sometimes things just creep up! But if you are able to plan ahead, do. I'm a procrastinator who often does my "best" work and has my biggest inspiration from the last minute pressure. But, I also feel good and much more confident when I have had adequate time to prepare.
For me, the best success strategy in school was to start studying a little bit each day for 10-14 days before the exam (and getting a few good long study sessions in on the weekend). Repetition breeds retention.
Take a break each day
Powering through to the end takes a lot of mental strength and it is important to take little breaks to recharge. I remember studying for finals and feeling guilty for taking any kind of break, but a mental break every hour is key to retention and not getting burned out. Whether this is a day off from training for a race, or taking an exercise class for yourself. Even a coffee break or a dinner date with a friend can be a great break from studying, worrying about a relationship, or working on a project. Know what kind of things recharge your batteries and do that. For me, taking thirty minutes for leisure reading or exercise is refreshing and I try to make it a priority.
Think about why you started
In terms of school, sometimes you do feel like you are there without a purpose or decided major and it is hard to have the internal motivation to finish well. Just know, that knowing how to persevere will payoff in the future and knowing how to stay strong to the end is a valuable lesson. If you are set on your major and career path, it may be a bit easier to stay strong to the end because you have a goal in sight.
In terms of a race or a relationship, think about why you started. When running a race, think about how good you will feel about your accomplishment if you power through to the end. In terms of a relationship, think about why you started. Relationships are tough. People are tough. Think about how hard it is to change yourself - getting other people to change changing is much harder (if not harder). Think about what you saw in the other person in the first place and why you want to keep going.
You're almost there! How many times did other successful people fail? Howard Schultz of Starbucks was turned down by the bank 242 times. James Dyson created 5126 prototypes of his vacuum before succeeding. Richard Branson launched 400 companies before he founded one "out of this world". Thomas Edison created 10,000 prototypes of the lightbulb before succeeding.
"The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running" - Author Unknown