Fighting to the Finish: How to Stay Motivated Until the End

Motivation | Black Girls with Purpose

It’s May. A month regularly marked by graduations, commencements and the closing of one chapter to move on to the next. It also can be a month marked by a lack of motivation, endurance and the overall drive to fight to the finish. Statistics actually show that only half of students who enroll in four-year institutions (48.3%) actually complete their Bachelor’s degree – with that number varying from college to college.

So how do you become part of that 48.3% and stay motivated? I’ve got three tips:

Get an accountability partner

I’ve found that one of my biggest inhibitions when getting things done is isolation. When no one knows what I’m trying to accomplish except for me, I am ten times more likely to flake out on it. It’s for this reason that I will often share my to-do list with my husband. Usually he doesn’t respond with more than an okay but with him knowing my end game, I’ve given him permission to check me when I start drifting. Whether that looks like vegging out on the couch or napping. Your drift may look like binge watching on Netflix or hours spent on Pinterest. But whatever it is, knowing someone out there is waiting on you to share your progress keeps you focused and motivated to fight to the finish.

Avoid growing complacent

Have you ever told yourself you were going to finish your 5-page paper before going out with your friends? Or that you were going to work out at least three times before the week was up? You start out super consistent – but with two pages down or 2 workouts in you tell yourself you’ve done enough. The rest can wait until next week, you deserve a break. This is complacency. As Merriam-Webster defines it you’ve developed “an uncritical satisfaction with [yourself] or [your] achievements.”

While it’s extremely important to celebrate small wins, overcelebrating or allowing your halfway mark to become your end will always keep you from progressing. You’ll look up one day and realize the last big thing you did was make the cheerleading squad or finish your sorority’s pledge process. The scary part? Years will have passed.

Keep the end in mind

As I prepared this blog post I realized May is also the last full month of my pregnancy and trust me when I say I’m feeling it. Some of you may be in my same boat – fatigued, slightly impatient and a tad bit delirious. You know the end’s in sight but some days you have a hard time believing it.

Picturing my son in my arms is what keeps me motivated and encouraged to push through the uncomfortable nights, the sudden gut punches (him practicing his aerobics) and losing my breath just from standing. Motivation can wane whether it’s for graduating high school or college, getting your first job, writing a book, completing a resume or having a baby. But visualizing your end can help you stick with it. That’s why vision boards are so popular. They allow you to see yourself with diploma in hand, driving in to that big corporate office. You no longer look at your term paper or finals as the devil, you see them as steps to help you get where you’re going.

So what’s next?

My prayer is that as we prepare to move from one chapter of life to the next we will meditate on Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore since we have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.” I firmly believe if we do, one day we’ll be able to declare  2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

  • 2 Timothy 4:7

Keep pushing my dear, you’re almost finished.

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Source: What Free Won’t Fix: Too Many Public Colleges are Dropout Factories

About Brie Daniels

Author of The Black Girl's Guide to Living on Purpose and Executive Director of Black Girls with Purpose.