Have you ever been on the verge of completing a big dream?
You’ve fought long and hard for something you believe in and, suddenly, you realize you’re on the home stretch—just a few more steps and you’ll fulfill the dream that’s occupied the latest part of your life.
You’re excited, but you’re also freaking out because part of you is afraid to finish. Everything you’ve worked on for so long will come to an abrupt end, and you don’t know what comes after.
Will you find something else to motivate you as much as this did? Will this be the peak of your existence, and it’s all downhill from here? Scary thoughts! And they may be so powerful they scare you into inaction.
Fortunately though, there’s something you can do to ensure that doesn’t happen and that you fight off any last-minute anxieties that might stop you.
Keep reading to learn what.
Voyage To Antarctica: The Anxiety Of The Last Mile
Tomorrow, I’ll get on a plane in Portland and begin a two-week voyage to Antarctica. It’ll be a fun trip in and of itself, but it also serves a larger purpose.
While I’m down there, I’ll run a marathon (on a ship!). And if you’ve followed my 1% Club updates over the years, you’ll know this is my 7th and final marathon in my quest to run one on every continent.
Everyone close to me asks, “How does it feel? Are you pumped?”
I am pumped. It’s exciting. I’ve chased this dream for four years and have fought hard for all the wins and losses along the way.
But for the last month, another sensation has been just as prevalent as excitement.
I always feel anxious before a big trip. No matter how much I travel, it never goes away completely.
But this is different.
Nervousness often energizes me and motivates me to act. But this anxiety has overwhelmed me to the point of near inaction.
I’ve put off packing until the last-minute. I’ve done a grand total of three training runs (I normally do at least 8). I wasn’t even sure where my ship was departing from until yesterday. I’ve made things difficult on myself!
I’m nearing the end of a journey. I’m in the last mile, and I just don’t know what happens after this final milestone.
For the last four years, my identity has been tied to this crazy dream. For better or worse, I’ve become “the guy running a marathon on every continent,” and I’m scared to become just “the guy who ran a marathon on every continent.”
I realize these worries are a bit premature—I’ve yet to finish. But, here they are.
Luckily, they won’t be stopping me, and the plan to finish will continue despite my feet-dragging and inner turmoil thanks to a nearly failsafe system I use to get big things done.
Time Bomb Method: How To Beat The Last Mile Problem
Despite my increasing anxiety, everything will proceed as it should. I can do little to sabotage myself short of not showing up.
And why is that?
Because I made the big, critical decisions months ago. All the big, scary, and expensive parts of the adventure are set in stone, non-refundable, and absolutely happening regardless of what I do now.
The whole system is automated and all I have to do now is plug myself into it. The plane tickets are purchased, the cruise is booked, the logistics are set. All I have to do is sit my ass in a seat at the right moment and then get up and start running when the clock says it’s time.
And that’s about all I can manage at the moment!
I call this the Time Bomb Method of goal achievement.
How Does The Time Bomb Method Work?
To protect against self-sabotage and force yourself to act, set up systems that will run whether you show up or not. Then, the consequences will be too great not to.
In my case, months of planning, thousands of dollars, and a lot of credibility will go right down the drain.
That threat alone is enough to snap me out of my funk long enough to get the big things done.
- Want to launch a new project? Announce the launch date first. Your reputation is on the line and you’ll magically find the motivation to pull it off.
- Want to learn a new skill? Sign up for a class with friends. If you don’t show up, you lose the money you paid and you disappoint your friends. You’ll find yourself at the front of the classroom.
- Planning a big adventure? Buy the plane ticket first. You’ll have to sort out the rest of the details or forfeit your whole trip.
Don’t Worry, Everyone Struggles
Doing big things is hard work. And sometimes that hard work feels like too much to bear.
Right now, I feel ridiculous for suffering such a privileged problem. “Oh, you can’t deal with your adventure-filled life that most people only dream about? Whaah!”
Perhaps you’ve felt the same. Everyone following a dream struggles at some point. But what you do with the struggle is what matters.
How you respond to it is what will make or break you.
Despite the gloomy picture I painted above, I’m excited for the adventure I’m about to leave on. And I’m grateful for the experiences that have led up to it.
I’m not sure what comes next, but fretting about it is useless when such an amazing opportunity lies right in front of me.
Most of all, I’m glad I set up some time bombs for myself because, Without them, I might still be sitting on the couch.
Maybe you’re in the home stretch of a big dream just like I am. And maybe you’re feeling the same struggles as the end draws near—fighting yourself to finish. If so, look back at all you’ve done leading up to this point. You’ve made such progress! You’re the hero of your own story, and the hero always wins in the end. The clock is ticking, and it’s time to finish strong.
Today, I want you to ask yourself (and answer in the comments):
What’s your big adventure? And what time bombs can you set to make sure you complete it?
Yours in dreaming,
P.S. Earlier I said I don’t know what comes after this final milestone. That’s not entirely true; I know what comes just next. It’s a party. And you’ll be invited.