There’s too much room for excuses.

Two weeks ago, my brother asked me what I was doing. I said, “I’m working on a song.” He responded, “I thought you were already working on another one!”

At that moment, I realized that I have a severe problem.

I start things without always finishing them. Like right now, I have way too many stories rotting as drafts. I have developed a tendency to start a new story without completing the last one.

Because when things get a little crazy, I find myself searching for an excuse to get out of it.

The story didn’t seem good enough to spend more time working on it. The headline was trash (as if I couldn’t edit it). There was always some excuse for why that story wasn’t finished and submitted that same day.

And I spent mad time on there too, like all day. But I’d move on to another story, hoping to finish this time.

I’ve been doing this way too often without noticing it. Instead of rewriting it, I set it aside and start working on something else.

Unfortunately, that habit boiled over into other areas of my life.

Finish what you start because you started.

Completing things says something about your commitment to what you start. Things can get a little crappy.

Your life won’t always be rainbows and unicorns. You’ll have to go through some stormy days to get to the other side.

I can’t accurately pinpoint when this started because I have always been taught to finish.

From diapers to varsity uniforms, my parents, relatives, and coaches have always preached how vital finishing was and is.

You can get away from all of that and begin new habits — one of those being not finishing.

Just like those habits were formed by the people who were around me at a reasonably young age, other habits can be developed too. It’s not impossible.

Photo by Yunming Wang on Unsplash

Moving on to something else does nothing to what you’ve already started.

Nothing is happening to those stories just sitting there. The words you wrote last year are still there.

Those stories will never improve on their own. It’s going to take you going through it and pulling out what’s hiding underneath the junk.

It’s easy not to give what seems to be a terrible mistake a chance to turn into gold. That is the hard part. But it should be hard. Nothing worth doing should be easy.

By not completing things, you become lazy in your efforts. It always gets to a certain point. You work hard — until the end.

You end up applying this problem to other areas of your life haphazardly. For me, it was music. I would start on a new song before I gave the other song a fighting chance. It sounded terrible to me. So, I looked for an excuse — a way out — to not finish.

The result of this mistake is that you never get a chance to see real value in your work, and no one else does either.

Your toughest battle is with yourself.

When you finish, you learn how to fight through adversity. Everyone will have some difficulty in life. It’s, unfortunately, not an option.

Difficulty will be a part of the journey. It’s a fact of life and reality. There’s no reason why you should be running from it.

One thing I’ve noticed about fighting through difficulty is that finishing teaches you how to get over yourself.

You can quickly put yourself on a pedestal you should’ve never been on, thinking too highly of yourself, as if you’ve made it somewhere.

The truth is, I haven’t made it where I want to be. And I shouldn’t be acting as if I did.

If it takes hard work to get on a pedestal, it’s going to take hard work to stay there.

You are your worse enemy. When no one else is around, you are who you are fighting, not paper, pen, phone, nor laptop — YOU.

That’s a tough battle. But it’s one worth conquering now. If not now, when?

Know how steep the road will be before you commit to starting the journey.

Why would I pack my things for California without knowing how much gas it’s going to take to get there or if I’m taking a plane, the cost of getting a ticket?

It takes knowledge of how hard you’re going to have to work to cross the finish line.

Some say that you should start moving before considering anything. I would agree with that — to an extent. I get that moving is better than not.

But if you begin without even thinking about how difficult it will be, there is a chance that you may not finish.

All of the difficulty should be in your mind going forward, not after you start moving.

Hardship should not come as a surprise. It certainly shouldn’t be buried under a pile of excuses.

There is no point in starting if you have no reason.

A reason is your why behind why you started. It’s the foundation underneath the edifice you wish to build.

With no reason, the building will eventually crumble. It doesn’t matter how much hard work you would have put in to get it done because the first step was left out.

Your why will carry you through the “I’m not cut out for this” days. It will take you through the struggle to start the next paragraph or edit the last one.

There is a difference between finishing and settling for what is.

I’ve stated before that I have submitted work I didn’t feel pleased with to publications.

That’s not a lie. In all honesty, I sent it off because I didn’t feel like working on it any longer, which sometimes worked out great for me.

The majority of the time, however, that always turned around and bit me in the buttocks.

I know I could’ve done better. But I never gave it a chance to turn into anything.

I looked at it for what it was instead of looking at it for what it could be. Settling is something all of us should avoid.

Learn to finish what you start by getting over your biggest enemy — yourself. You might as well learn now that whatever you do will come with hardships.

Excuses are simply ways to get away from those hardships. Drop them.

If you can do better, you should do better.


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