No matter how enthusiastic we are at the beginning of any new project, to jot down an idea, draw up a plan, imagine an outcome, there’s only one crucial habit that makes the difference between our ultimate success and failure. It’s the following-through that separates what-could-have-been from what is.
So, how can you ensure to follow through on plans?
BUILD POSITIVE EMOTIONS
Most of us start to follow through on our ideas, and then tend to burn out. The reason for this is that you disconnect from the positive emotions that inspired you in the first place. You need to bring back those emotions in relation to your ultimate goal.
To do that, envision the most pleasant and exciting aspects of your plans and write them down, stick this paper on the fridge, mirror or wherever you can see it regularly so as to remind yourself of why you need to achieve this goal. These positive emotions will inspire you to take action and move forward with your plans.
FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Accountability or external pressure is one of the key elements of following through on your goals and objectives. You can use the power of external pressure to compensate for your lack of inner motivation and the push you require.
Find a friend or a colleague whom you can trust, and who also wants to improve himself or herself to be your accountability partner. Discuss your plan with them and the steps you need to take. You can set a review date with this person to discuss your progress every week and hold each other accountable for tasks not completed.
Just like you can practice mindfulness in a quiet moment at work, take some time out to practice your daily affirmations. Write them down and pin them up where you will see them multiple times a day. If you prefer an app from the comfort of your smartphone, Thinkup or Shine are excellent options. This will help you set yourself up for success as well as ensure you follow through on tasks.
If you want to make a real and lasting change in your life by following through on every plan, you need to learn new habits and skills that support your goals. By learning new skills you will be better equipped to deal with challenges that may arise, improve your productivity and prevent you from going off track.
JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP
It often happens that at first everything is going smoothly with your plans, then your life begins to present obstacles in your path. At such a time, instead of giving up, analyse the obstacles to determine if they are truly obstacles or just temporary set-backs. Find out what you can control, overcome and what is out of your grasp. Seek help from people who are ready to support you and inspire you, like friends, colleagues, and even family members. You can also join meet-ups, or find a group of like-minded people on social media. Look for a mentor or adviser who is familiar and successful with your goals and seek their guidance and ideas.
By taking action on what you can change or solve, taking small and manageable steps to deal with the problem you will be able to better manage your plans and set tasks till completion.
Celebrate your accomplishments every step of the way, no matter how small. Get a calendar where you list your daily actions towards your goal or habit change. Every time you take an action, tick it off your list. It sounds remedial but it is truly very satisfying. You can also create a sense of urgency when it comes to your goals by setting deadlines and making them non-negotiable.
Creating a sense of reward after every accomplishment will keep you motivated in the long run and help you see each task through completion.
COUNT THE POSITIVE EFFECTS
The more positive effects a task has on completion, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve it, which makes it more likely that you’ll see it through to the end. Make a list of all of the positive effects that the task at hand will have on your life, career and family.
If the list of benefits that you come up with is short, either discard the project, or look for ways to modify it so that the project becomes more valuable and has a greater number of benefits attached to its completion.