Let's Forget About Morning Routines for a Second and Talk About Finishing Strong
It’s like, really important to start your day off right.
There are exactly 12 bazillion articles, videos and books that pontificate this point to us each day. Geeesh -- we get it! Now can we talk about finishing the day right when your whole morning has gone wrong?
Because no matter how hard you try to perfect a morning routine, life’s still going to happen.
Maybe your car goes kaput on the highway...
Or your kid breaks his leg in gym class...
Or you woke up allergic to work for some reason and capitulated to every distraction that entered your monkey mind...
Whatever the case is, it will be impossible for you to stick with your normal routines and get stuff done the way you planned. Then the day winds down. You’re back at home. Your frazzled mind begs you to turn on the TV and drown out the memory of this Godforsaken day, and you almost want to go full tilt: social media, pointless articles -- anything to divert your brain from this wasted day.
And that’s when you have the option: Finish weak? Or finish strong?
It’s okay to have some weak-sauce days as an entrepreneur. No one is perfect. But when you get in the habit of finishing strong no matter how the day began -- whether that’s knocking out one critical project before you go to bed, or taking an hour to study your craft -- you create momentum that spills over into tomorrow morning.
If you could make that herculean effort last night even when it seemed impossible...there’s nothing that can stop you today. No-thing.
And isn’t that indomitable mindset kind of the whole point of a morning routine?
Strong finishes redeem even your worst days
I built my writing career on strong finishes. If I felt even remotely dissatisfied with my day’s effort, I got in the habit of forcing myself to write an article or knock out a few projects before I allowed myself to sleep.
Sometimes I’d be up till 1:00 or 2:00 (or 4:00) when I had planned to go to bed by 11:00, but I didn’t care. The only thing that mattered was that I went to bad satisfied with my effort and feeling like a badass. That way I’d wake up confident instead of defeated, which pretty much eliminated my chances of having another bad day.
When I looked back on the mostly excremental day before, my strong finishes turned a wasted day into a redeemed day, and another reason to feel pride in my work.
Like yesterday. It was 10:00am. My car was in the shop and I needed a few items from the Smith’s a couple miles from my house, so I perambulated. I grabbed some lunchmeat and a two bottles of sparkling water, and when I got to the checkout I’d already drunk a bottle, which isn’t unusual. I love me some spark.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t have been a problem. Except that when I swiped my card, the pin didn’t work; and it wouldn’t work again. Then I maxed out my attempts and, being cashless, was left unable to pay. I couldn’t change the pin by phone because I didn’t have my phone. My only option was to walk four miles to the bank and then four miles back to finish my transaction.
In 103 degree weather.
I was cussing under my breath every couple steps because there were a hundred things I needed to be doing instead of roaming high-desert Albuquerque like a guttersnipe. And when I got home after the whole fiasco, about as hydrated as a bucket of sand, it was 4:00 pm.
Day = wasted.
I was dead-set on putting on a movie and just forgetting that the day ever happened. But that’s when my inner badass kicked in.
I realized that the day was still young, and that I could sit my not-so-happy butt down to write an article I’d been putting off for a while. So I did. And the day was instantly redeemed.
Having a little more juice at that point, I went to my to-do list and proceeded to check off five more mission-critical tasks before the night ended, which left me fully satisfied with my effort -- energized, even. When I reflected on this day in my journal, I regarded it as the biggest win even though I had written it off as a total loss.
Strong finishes like this are how I took ownership of my solopreneur writing and coaching career, and it’s how you’ll find success too.
If I was willing to make these sacrifices to be such a dedicated writer and human being, that meant my work was more valuable than other writers, in my mind.
This is how I developed the confidence to pitch the largest companies in the world with the best paying contracts. And they chose little old high-school-dropout me over thousands of seasoned professionals because they the saw grit, determination and value that was a product of my ''finish strong'’ lifestyle.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a degree and had only written for two years. I finished like a boss. I took pride in my work. So my work spoke for itself.
And if you start finishing strong, it’ll work the same for you.
There’s not really a formula or routine to show you how to do this. You just have to adopt the attitude that you’re not going to go to bed less than satisfied with your efforts. You have to be okay getting an hour or two less sleep in these instances. And you have to believe that confidence and pride are far more valuable to you than a few winks -- or several hours of watching TV.
It’s helpful if you have a daily plan that you can get direction from when you make the choice to finish strong, too. To solidify how important these strong finishes are to your confidence and career, I recommend picking up a journaling habit. That way you can write and remind yourself about the wasted days that you redeemed. This fully integrates your inner badass.
If you learn how to finish strong every night, and go to bed satisfied with your efforts, you will find success in your career as an entrepreneur. You’ll also wake up with so much confidence and energy that you won’t need some fluffy morning routine to get your mind right.
So finish. Strong.