Live Better. Love Better. Work Better.

Tips for Following Through

Shannon M. Duffy, MFT, LCPC

As we start to create goals or generate ideas, we typically feel motivated to complete the task right away. However, we can easily get distracted by our daily lives and put off getting what we need or want to accomplish. In addition to lack of motivation to accomplish tasks, we can also avoid following through as we lack the desire to take the action to complete them. Here are a few ways to address how to succeed and follow through with your plan, tasks, commitments, or goals.

  • Picture the benefits. Whether you have a to-do list or a specific goal, visualizing yourself accomplishing it can bring on a sense of achievement and comfort in knowing you can follow through. Even with smaller tasks such as completing chores, picturing your house looking clean and noting how that makes you feel positive. Visualizing can also lessen the thoughts and feelings that the effort may seem too intense or that the task is too much accomplish.
  • It’s the right thing to do. Seeing your goal as something that is meant to be done. Noting the positives that can come from setting your mind to a task such as being on time to work can provide a sense of accountability and knowing you are doing the right thing.
  • Being comfortable with being uncomfortable. The easy way can be just to avoid the tasks or keep creating goals and not taking the steps to achieve them. Stepping outside your comfort zone may require more positive self-talk and trust within yourself that you can accomplish what you set out to achieve.
  • Make a public commitment or set a deadline. Creating a public commitment can entail just writing down your task list or creating a vision board of your dreams and aspirations. Telling another person can hold you accountable in following through in knowing that another person is aware of your goal.
  • Make it a priority. Staying focused and mindful of the steps to take to achieve your goals can give a sense of importance to your commitment towards achieving your goals.
  • Self-compassion. Being kind to yourself is the key to keeping yourself focused on what you want to achieve. Self-compassion can also entail positive self-talk towards being your own cheerleader and feeling the success of achieving what you set to accomplish.
  • Tweak your habits. We tend to be creatures of habit, which is where the lack of follow through can feel like a frequent pattern when you feel discouraged to want to follow through. To focus on changing our habits we want to identify the habit cycle in what triggers our thoughts and behaviors. Then our routine is where we can administer the change to be able to see the new behavior as a reward.
  • Rethink the road blocks. The phrase “yes, but” is creating that avoidance we can feel and giving us excuses to not follow through. When we are aware of these road blocks, we can focus on how to eliminate them from our thinking patterns. Ideally in eliminating the “yes, but” to just “yes.” The goal of not allowing the excuses to be an option.
  • Break down your goals. Using SMART (Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Realistic-Timely) goals to address more detail-oriented tasks and keeping a deadline to be able to feel success within short term period.
  • Savor success. The feeling of accomplishing goals and following through creates a sense of self trust and comfort in knowing you have put forth effort and can feel the benefits. Being aware of that feeling of accomplishment is a great motivator and you can build upon those successes to continue to feel more success in every area you are striving towards.

Hopefully, you can start to implement one or all these strategies to create the habit of continuously following through.


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