Following through seems like one of the most natural things in the world to do. You start something and you finish it but that is not the case with most people.
Lack of follow through creates enormous problems:
Don’t follow through on pursuing healthy lifestyle – weight gain and sickness
Don’t follow through on schoolwork – poor grades
Don’t follow through at work – poor results at work and poor work image projected
Don’t follow through at home – clutter piles up, frustrations mount and bills go unpaid
Don’t follow through when disciplining children – disrespectful and unruly children
Don’t follow through on getting car serviced on time – greater damage and higher repair costs
Don’t follow through on backing up digital photos – computer crashes and photos lost
Don’t follow through with saving money – crisis hits and you are not prepared
Don’t follow through on opportunities – opportunity lost
So if all these terrible things are going to happen to us because we don’t follow through, then why don’t we follow through?
I have found 6 main reasons people fail to finish what they start:
1. Not paying attention. We mindlessly go through a day instead of being deliberate about using our time and energies wisely.
2. Tired. We are all running and going and doing but the fact of the matter is, if you take those few moments, even when you are tired, to follow through on tasks that need to be attended to, in the long run, you will feel less tired and overwhelmed.
3. Not scheduling time. Many people have good intentions but never set aside the time to do or complete something they have set out do.
4. Wrong reason for setting a goal or agreeing to do something. Many times we say yes to something without thinking it through, we agreed to so something because someone else we know is doing it or we are convinced we are the only person that can get it done.
5. Following through is going to be hard. There are many things in life that we have to persevere through and many of us don’t want to be bothered. We want things to be simple, uncomplicated and quick. We don’t want to feel some of the uncomfortable emotions or feelings we will feel when we press through.
6. Forgetting. Many times we just forget to do something we said we would do; call someone, write a note, make a meal, etc.; we just forgot.
Here are 6 easy steps towards becoming better at follow through.
1. Pay attention to what you are committing yourself to and why. Don’t commit to something you don’t have passion, time, or energy for.
2. Press On. It is easier to give up when things are hard but when you press through the hard stuff of life, eventually you will come to breakthrough; you will get to the other side.
3. Be deliberate. When you walk in the door or office, make sure you take those few extra moments to put things where they belong or take 15 minutes at the end of the evening. When you are going through the day, take regular “timeouts” to self-check if you are being deliberate about your day or see if you are mindlessly going through another day.
4. Self-talk. This is one of my strategies to make myself follow through. Your brain is telling you something all the time anyway, so why not control some of what it is telling you!
5. Make a note or schedule the time. Put things you need to do on a list of things to do or put it on your calendar. If it doesn’t get done, keep moving it to your current to do list until it gets done or you realize it shouldn’t be there in the first place.
6. Delegate or get help. Many times we need help completing a task. This can mean you involve family, friends, co-workers or of course your friendly professional organizer! Whoever it is, when it is time to ask for help, by all means, enlist help.
Follow through is a habit. When you have the mindset that you don’t have to follow through, then most of the time you won’t but if you believe that following through is the only option, then most of the time you will.