We are all guilty of it.
We start a book, only to leave it a few chapters in to pursue another book or some other distraction. We start a sewing or craft project, only to abandon it in pursuit of another that looks more interesting. Or we may have a few renovation or yard projects that only need an additional hour or so of attention before the job would be complete but we keep procrastinating.
One of the 60 Characteristics identified in Complex Trauma is Great Starters, Poor Finishers.
January comes and there are many who make resolutions to become more fit, lose weight or any number of goals are always set with the best of intentions. Two weeks later, we tend to fall off the wagon and by the time February 1 rolls around, we have lost all our motivation.
- New job: we excel at what we do for about two weeks. Then we feel unappreciated because the daily validation stops or we don’t get along with our coworkers. Then we quit.
- We buy a house and have a few renovation projects we undertake. We pursue them with enthusiasm for about two weeks. We become busy and distracted, put the tools down and walk away.
- Gym membership: we are excited and determined to become fit and go every day for about two weeks. The momentum wears off as we have worn our bodies out and have not seen any results. We stop going.
- Going back to school: we are super students for about two weeks. Then the course may be too easy, too hard, boring or the instructors are not providing us enough support. We quit or change courses.
It is a brain thing.
New pursuits give us an adrenaline rush. Our limbic brains love a new challenge and we always start out full of enthusiasm, with the best of intentions. After about two weeks, when the monotony of the routine begins to set in, we discover it may not be what we anticipated or we lose interest.
We begin to find fault with the plan and we find a way to use someone else as an excuse to quit or abandon the project.
Many with Complex Trauma have a hard time focusing on one project or goal at a time. Our perfectionism may be holding us back if we are unable to complete the tasks without fault.
We become hypercritical of ourselves and others when it comes to a goal or task. The first two weeks of anything is a learning curve. It is when we need to be open to training and expect some criticism and instruction on how to succeed. If we are hypersensitive to criticism or feel like we are failures for not getting it right the first time, these are Complex Trauma traits we need to address.
There is hope.
Creating awareness of our habits and patterns and understanding why we are unable to follow through is the first step to having those projects and goals realized.
Some of us had parents who were also great starters and poor finishers and they are our role model.
Overcoming this Characteristic has great rewards. If we are great starters and great finishers, we:
- New job: work for awhile and are rewarded by being able to support ourselves and our families. We are able to support a charity, possibly a care child overseas and they write us a letter of gratitude. We are able to save a bit of money and purchase a car, home or take a trip. Gaining experience can lead to promotions, or a better job down the road. We can plan for retirement.
- We buy a house and have a few renovation projects we undertake. Focusing on one task at a time, completing the jobs, fills us with pride at our beautiful home. Entertaining friends and family is rewarding.
- Gym membership: we are excited and determined to become fit. We work with a personal trainer who sets a realistic fitness routine. After three months, we feel amazing and see results.
- Going back to school: we are super students and pursue our studies. This leads us to work in our chosen field or in a career we truly love. We are rewarded with an excellent workplace and ability to create a fulfilling life.
Our limbic brain in the drivers seat keeps us hopping around from one pursuit to another. Using our cortex brain, this provides us the discipline required on our way to living a healthy, happy, joyful life.