On 2012 and Finishing Strong


My seven year-old son woke me up at 2:45 yesterday morning. He said he heard a scary sound. Apparently, the rain and wind knocked over a plant outside his window and, well, I can imagine what it sounded like to his little ears. As we walked back down the stairs to his room, I wasn’t too happy with the thought that I’d be spending the rest of the night on his bottom bunk. Although I like sleeping in his room from time to time (“sleepovers”), I had plans to get up early and workout. As I walked down the stairs, I felt the workout slipping away with each step.

I slept through my allotted wake up time (as I knew I would), but because I didn’t have any meetings scheduled until 10:00am yesterday, I did manage to workout. It wasn’t great. I was tired. Exhuasted. I’ve been battling a cold (or something worse) and the last several weeks have been emotionally draining. Suffice to say, the 60 minutes on the rowing machine wasn’t my finest hour.

However, when I got to my last 1000-meter interval, I decided that I wanted to finish strong. I needed to finish strong. Yes, I was tired, but I figured that I could find the effort and give the final four minutes everything I had. Instead of coasting to the end, I was going to push it. I did just that and I felt better for it. As I got dressed, I felt like I had momentum going into the day.

Now a day later, I realize that’s how I need to approach the remaining days of this year. Like many of us I imagine, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that I’m looking forward to next year. I have big plans for 2013, I’ll tell them. The last few weeks have been overly trying, I explain. And I say it all with a kind of feeling that this year is toast. No time to get anything done.

I have friends who have had difficult years. They suffered tragic loss. Heartbreak. They “just want this year to be over.” As I’ve stood with many of them during their year, I understand this. If I were in their shoes, I’d feel the same way. December 31st gives us that end, and the New Year a natural start. We get to “put 2012 behind us.” Looking forward is often such a prettier view.

What if, we changed our collective thinking, however, and instead of throwing in the towel on the next two weeks, opted to finish strong? What if we sprinted (with whatever we have left) to the 2012 finish line instead of limping across it? What if we decided to start now what we look forward to starting in 2013? Maybe we’d all have a bit of momentum when the New Year actually started. Maybe we’d be able to shake off a few of the aches and pains that come with starting anew. If we do our best to finish strong and generate some momentum now, maybe we can really hit the ground running in 2013.

I understand that there may be plenty of obstacles in the way of such a plan. It’s the holidays! People shut it down, are on vacation and aren’t around to returns calls and emails, which can slow down such efforts. But, really, these are just excuses (some of my favorites!). Besides, “finishing strong” can have all kinds of different applications and executions. I tend to think of it in a business and fitness sense, but it’s easily applicable to our personal lives too. Are there conversations to be had that have been put off? Are there letters meant to be sent? Books meant to be read? In truth and maybe in its simplest form, “finishing strong” might just mean tackling things that we’ve been putting off.

In the next couple of weeks (days?), we’re all going to start reading about New Year’s resolutions and the things people promise themselves that they will do in 2013. We will promise to work out more. Eat better. Manage our finances. Find more time for family. Have more perspective. And all the other usual suspects that become ever more popular simply because the calendar clicks from one year to the next. Don’t wait. Start now.

The 2012 finish line is in sight. Let’s sprint to the end of the year and do our best to finish strong. Doing so may just lead to an even better start in 2013. Happy Holidays.

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