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Wednesday
Jan302013

The Finishing Line Effect

People love crossing finish lines. Many endurance events, such as 5K’s, triathalons and marathons, continue to gain popularity.  And for many people, the thought of crossing a finish line is their sole purpose for signing up for the event. Finish lines, however, provide so much more than the achievement of crossing it. In the bigger picture, they can propell us toward additional and larger goals we might never have aspired to without the affirmation of what I call the finishing line effect!

Truth #1:  They are great motivators.

Once you commit to an event, you can start planning your finish. This gives you the opportunity to implement a plan on how you are going to finish. If you are running a 5K, you might plan for shorter route distances to achieve each week until the event. Alternatively, if you're entering a weight loss competition, you might start cleaning out your fridge or changing your environment to make your goal more achievable. Whatever the scenario, knowing a finish line is in your future will motivate you to start making changes now so you can cross that line. You learn to set goals, action steps, and an overall structure that will allow you to achieve an objective you've set.

Truth #2:  They provide a sense of achievement.

Once you cross that line, a rush of pure satisfaction will go through your head. All of your planning and hard work got you to that point, and there is no better feeling than achieving something you set out to do.  Crossing that line can provide a rush of feel-good endorphins and wave of positive emotions.  Most of us need to be told we are doing a good job from time to time, and the finish line can be that ultimate, concrete source of positive feedback after all of your dedication and work towards it. 

Truth #3:  They cultivate a can-do mindset.

Many of our members have weight loss goals. Yet, sometimes they may not begin with a real focus or even exact objectives around how much weight they want to lose or how they want to lose it.  When signing up for an event, it puts them into goal setting or planning mode. They have an end in sight and know they have to make changes in order to achieve it. This can be a very positive experience for many people. If they can make a goal, complete a plan and set out to execute that plan and finish, it creates a positive mindset they can tap into to achieve other fitness goals and results.   

Truth #4:  There is no real end.

Although it’s called a finish line, be prepared to ask yourself “what’s my next finish line?” as soon as you cross it. Finish lines create a sense of urgency for wanting to feel that powerful rush of achievement again.  In fact, many people specifically create a year of goals with concrete finish lines to continually move forward and enjoy a regular sense of accomplishment. Incorporating a continuing stream of "finish lines" in the year ahead can create a powerful and positive momentum in your life and can push you to embrace bigger and bolder goals.

So, what is your next finish line? For thousands of Life Time members, it will be this February’s 90-Day Challenge. They’ll be competing against themselves and others to be the weight loss or transformation challenge winner at their local club.  And although the 90-Day brings out the competitiveness in most, many members join it for the accountability and motivation throughout the 12 weeks and to ultimately cross that finish line. If you aren’t competing in the 90-Day Challenge, spend some time planning out your next (or your first!) finish line. Whether it’s an endurance event or a weight loss competition, be prepared for the other positive experiences that come along with crossing that line.

What’s your next finish line?  Share below!

Written by Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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