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The First 1% Is the Hardest ... And the Last 1% Is Tough Too

Updated on May 27, 2013

What's the difference between finished and almost finished?

Surely it's just a case of tying up a few last loose end? After all, the majority of the work has been done. And our natural tendency is to slacken off towards the end of a task, making the final stages particularly tough. So, is it really worth forcing ourselves to push through to completion?

Yes! It is! Resisting the temptation to fall at the final hurdle brings massive benefits.

success in life
success in life

This is because our brains love a sense of completion. Although, logically, the difference between 99% and 100% is only a fraction, the psychological effect from that final 1% is huge. In fact, our brains get so much pleasure from the conclusion of a task, that they reward us, literally, with a surge of happy-hormones!

According to Brain Tracy, author of Goals, when you complete a task of any kind, your brain releases a small quantity of endorphins. He says, 'This natural morphine, Nature's Wonder Drug, gives you a sense of well-being and elation. It makes you feel happy and peaceful. It stimulates your creativity and improves your personality.' That's quite a rush! All from that final 1%.

'There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on...' Robert Byrne

finish your tasks
finish your tasks

This process works whatever the size of the task. Admittedly, the more important the challenge, the greater the endorphin-rush on completion, but even the fulfillment of small tasks can make you feel happy and exhilarated.

Knowing that you'll experience this thrill can provide some much needed motivation to get you through the final stages. But perhaps even more compelling is the lasting effect these mini-successes will have on your self-esteem and self-image. The positive results of these minor triumphs go way beyond the task in hand.

Developing an attitude of achievement in anything improves your chances of success every aspect of your life. When you regularly feel like your are winning, (even if it is only against the Laundry Mountain!), it won't be too long before you become a winner - in whatever you set your mind to.

An entire philosophy of success (Psycho-Cybernetics) is built on this idea. Studies on the human brain have shown that creating and focusing on small successes in everyday life is the basis for more monumental success in any area you choose - health, wealth, career.

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life is beautiful
life is beautiful

'When you experience that winning feeling, your internal machinery is set for success.' - Maxwell Maltz

When you know, with confidence, that your habitually complete whatever you set out to do, you become unstoppable. So whatever your ambitions beyond the home, you can greatly improve your chances of achieving them, simply by finishing those seemingly unimportant domestic chores.

In addition to helping you achieve more, there are emotional benefits to totally completing your tasks. For proof of this, picture the reverse. How do you feel about unfinished tasks? Those niggling little jobs are so-called for a reason. The dictionary defines 'niggle' as: a slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort and anxiety. That last 1% may be proportionately small - but it can really bug you!

Incomplete actions are a major source of stares and anxiety. They rob you of mental and emotional energy, affecting your mood and very often your sleep. Compare this to the feeling of elation and relief when you complete the task, and you wonder, why didn't I do it sooner and save all that stress and worry?

So, it's in your own interest to aim for 100% completion. The only trouble is... it is very tempting (and common) to ease off towards the end of a task, to stop when you are 'more of less' finishes. Total completion will not usually be the easiest option (in the short term). At times, it may take Herculean efforts to get there.

life is good
life is good

Completing is a skill and like any skill, when practices, it gets easier.

The more you force yourself to finish tasks, the more automatic it will become. You'll develop a completion-habit. You will become a nature finisher.

It may also help to keep in mind the triple whammy of benefits that come from completing a task. Firstly, there's the enjoyable (not to mention healthful) psychical high from the endorphin rush. Secondly, your experience a heightened sense of achievement and capability - with long lasting and powerfully positive results. And thirdly, you reduce a good deal of unnecessary angst and stress from your life.

Being aware of these benefits can be very motivating. So when you are tempted to give up at 'almost done', just keep in mind that winning feeling. Remember that by resisting the temptation to give up, you are embedding a powerful message in your self-image. You are training yourself to become someone who gets things done. Simply anticipating the good feelings and the boost to your self-esteem can give you the extra drive you need to finish that final 1%.

So, recognize that you will naturally resist those final efforts, but you can fight this temptation by keeping you eye on the prizes of completion. You can discipline yourself to power through to the finish line. Though these last efforts may feel like the toughest, they will be the most rewarding. They carry with them the promise of satisfaction, fulfillment and a mind set for success.

And this positive mental attitude is the Holy Grail, for greater accomplishment and achievement within the home, and beyond.

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