Stuck in the middle

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On January 25, 2021

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For most of us, every year starts the same way. You’re excited for a fresh start, and with 365 days in front of you, the possibilities are endless. So, you plan to take on all those projects you put off last year. You’re going to learn to play the guitar, remodel the bathroom and even learn to ballroom dance, why not! Then Fall arrives and your bathroom, and musical abilities, are the exact same. Naturally, you’re disappointed and the cycle begins again.

This pattern can be so frustrating. You’re not a lazy person and you pride yourself on being a dedicated “go-getter.” So why, then, does it seem impossible to accomplish your goals?

Stuck in the middle

You always hear that “getting started is the hardest part” with any project. And while that makes sense from a motivational standpoint, it’s simply not true. The middle is always more challenging than the beginning. If that were not the case, you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Author Jon Acuff explains in his book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done that “Our culture glamorizes the start and ignores the finish. We have popular phrases like, ‘Well begun is half-done,’ or ‘The hardest part of any journey is the first step,’ but that’s not even a little true.”

Is it harder to buy the running shoes, or go for a run? If you know someone who is trying to quit smoking, ask them if it was easier to start that process, or actually make it a habit that they live. If you compare the start to the finish, nobody’s going to pick the start as the most difficult thing. Actually doing the thing requires commitment and change, neither of which are easy feats. If you bite off more than you can chew, you’ll find yourself stuck in the middle.

Think “small-or-nothing” instead of “all-or-nothing”

A lot of people set goals that are too big. Set your goals based on what you, personally, need or want to accomplish, and not societal perceptions of what a certain task entails.

In an interview with Ryan Hawk,  Acuff uses the example of losing weight. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds and you lost eight, you would’ve failed by two and you’d quit. Most people judge their goals as an all-or-nothing process. Instead, if you cut your goal to five and you lost the same eight, you would’ve won by three, and continued to try.

When you have your final list of goals or new year’s resolutions, before you begin, cut the list in half. This is a strategy Acuff tested in his own research and found that of the participants who cut their goals in half, 63% of them ended up being more successful with them overall.

So this year, make it your goal to learn two chords on the guitar, learn two ballroom steps and paint the walls in your bathroom. Once you start moving in the right direction, you’ll eventually find yourself in a “flow” and by this time next year you’ll be amazed at everything you accomplished. If, by nature, success motivates more than failure, then make sure you are setting yourself up for success!


Reynolds Defense Firm understands that being arrested for a DUI is traumatic. Read more in our  “Tips & Advice” section for guidance for you and your family. And while we hope that you never need us, if you or someone you care about has been arrested for a DUI in Oregon, please call us at (503)223-3422. We’re solid, we’re here if you need us, and we’re very good at what we do.


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