"Better is the end of a thing than its beginning.” - Hebrew Proverb
The end of the year has come and for many, December is a period of reflection and recalibration. It is also the time when a lot of us start making plans and goals for the next year.
We don’t know what your year has looked like. It could’ve been one filled with realised dreams and goals, or perhaps, some things might not have gone your way. Either way, it is easy to be in a hurry to move on to the next year and focus on making new goals.
It is often said that it is very easy to start something new; the real challenge is in sustaining your interest and fire for it. How often do we finish what we’ve set out to do, and even more so, how often do we finish well?
If you are in a space of year-end reflection and just about to move into making plans for the new year, take a pause and instead look at how you can finish 2019 well.
When so many voices and activities fight for our attention every day, it can be easy to forget what your original goals were. Think back on last December - what had you resolved to achieve this year? Was it to learn a new hobby? Was it to get immersed in an activity, such as Muay Thai, which required you to move out of your comfort zone? Was it to rest more, and be less hectic?
Quite likely, your goals and aspirations might have fallen into the following categories:
You were diligent to follow through, and have either made progress or already achieved your goal.
You forgot about them because you got too busy.
You started out strong but slowly stopped due to various reasons - health issues, lack of motivation, or just the realisation that you are not that interested in pursuing that goal, after all.
If lack of motivation or distraction has caused you to steer away from what you had set out to achieve, know that it is not too late to get back into it!
2. Fight the temptation to run ahead - Be present!
Have you ever realised how easy it is to dream about the future, that you forget to live in the present? It might be close to the new year, but it is still 2019, after all. Commit to being present in the last few days of the year. Enjoy your friendships, community, long breaks, conversations, and everything that is right now. Tomorrow will surely come, but you will never get to live these 24 hours again. Cherish them.
3. Be honest, and kind to yourself.
We’re not infallible creatures, and honestly, some goals we set for ourselves remain out of reach. Such is life.
It is tempting to beat yourself up or condemn yourself for not doing enough to succeed. Unfortunately, dwelling too long on such negativity can be harmful, and frankly, quite pointless.
If you failed to achieve something you had once set out to do, be accepting about the failure, but know that it does not define you as a person. Instead, make a decision on whether you want to try again! Sometimes, you get through plans halfway, only to be stopped by unforeseen situations out of your control. Maybe, you also decide that the goal is not that important to you after all. In either circumstance, be kind and be open to letting go. Rather than trying to force an outcome that either drains you or makes you unhappy, show forgiveness and grace to yourself for not managing to ‘get it’, and move on.
Who knows, closing the door to this opportunity could lead you to one that gives you more fulfilment?
4. Practice gratitude.
The secret to contentment and happiness really starts with a heart of gratitude and giving thanks. If you took a moment to examine your life, it is a guarantee that you would find at least one good thing: From being alive to having a roof over your head, to having the privilege of being surrounded by great friends and supportive family, to being healthy and able-bodied to do the things you love… the list goes on!
Whether you managed to fulfil your plans for 2019, be sure to examine the positive things that you managed to experience. For instance, maybe you wanted to win a tournament this year but fell short. Consider all the progress you made while preparing for the tournament - you are now a better practitioner than before. Consider, too, the lifestyle changes you had made to be physically prepared. You are not just fitter, but probably also healthier because of nutritional changes. What about all the friendships that you managed to foster with your coaches and teammates while training for it? There is a glimmer of gold in every situation, even a bad one. You simply need to look for it.
This attitude of gratitude helps you stay content, but also constantly motivated to keep reaching greater heights! It also gives you room to be kind and giving to others. In short, staying thankful will take you a long way in life.
5. Stay the course!
Many moments in a journey can feel monotonous and uneventful. You will find yourself questioning why you bothered to start in the first place. There will be days when you keep failing, or see no result. Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student and Assistant Instructor, as well as freshly minted Black Belt Tomas G., describes the BJJ journey to Black Belt as an unexpectedly long journey that initially looked like an MRT train ride, but ended up becoming a long-haul flight across the world. However, staying the course makes it worth the while.
Imagine how different things would have been if Tomas, Professor Zoro, or any of our resident Black Belts or Professors had decided to give up halfway through their BJJ journeys, just because of a few setbacks! Aren’t you glad they didn’t? Similarly, we encourage you to hang in there. It will be worth your while.
We sign out of 2019 with a closing note of encouragement to you: No matter where you are with your goals, have a positive attitude towards finishing them well - whether it’s in letting them go with no regrets, or committing to accomplish them with much grit and gusto. May your finishing well in 2019, allow you to start well with new beginnings in 2020!
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts academy located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from Clarke Quay and Fort Canning MRT stations, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai Kickboxing, Kids Martial Arts and Fitness programs are led by experts in their respective fields. So, whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for the whole family.