I know I’m at fault of doing both—starting and not finishing and not following through. If you often don’t get to check off a task or commitment as “done,” you aren’t a bad person. But I bet knowing this about yourself—and facing the unfinished projects and people or situations that still…after all this time…need you to take action—doesn’t make you feel good about yourself.
So, why not make the decision to finish and follow through…now. The year is drawing to an end. Let’s get some loose ends tied up, shall we?
You Know You Want To…
You know you want to do these things…right? Or maybe not. That’s something to evaluate from the get-go.
I often wonder about how much people really want to do the things they say they do. For example, people often apply for a free Certified High Performance Coaching strategy session with me. They schedule an appointment, and then they don’t show up.
I think, Why did they go to the trouble of filling out the application and scheduling the session—not to mention checking me out online and reading through my rather long sales page—if they weren’t going to follow through and show up? If they got busy or couldn’t make it, you’d think they would cancel. But no… They become no shows.
I know the answer to my query, though. These people don’t show up, they don’t follow through, out of resistance.
Call it fear, if you want.
My sessions require that people look deeply and honestly within to see what is stopping them from stepping into their best selves. They have to be willing to change.
It’s one thing to think you want to change—and so you apply for a free personal-development related strategy session, like mine—and quite another to do it. Change requires courage, one of the pillars of high performance.
Fear of Getting to Done
The same could be true of the things you’ve left undone. They require some sort of change or effort, and so you resist. You are afraid to take action and get to “done.” After all, things could change—even for the better—if you do what you said you were going to do. So follow through actually requires courage, too.
Many of the so-called writers I work with complain to me about how they started a book or blog and…you guessed it…didn’t Follow through. The blog was left for dead, and the book started but nowhere near finished.
It takes courage to put words on paper—and then show them to someone else. And sometimes this process requires a deep dive into our own past, psyche, or failures as well. That’s scary…and emotional.
No wonder so many writers don’t write.
What if You Don’t Want To Follow Through?
It’s possible, however, that you just don’t want to do what you started. Maybe you lost interest. Perhaps the project or commitment no longer aligns with your purpose, goals, or life.
Decide not to do it.
A decision is different. You can take conscious action related to that decision. In this case, that might mean telling someone you have to back out of a commitment. Or it could mean taking that project you started and literally throwing it in the trash.
A conscious decision is much better than unconscious resistance, which operates in the background and causes stress, guilt, and self-esteem issues.
Because you no longer really want to follow through or finish, you’ll do everything possible to avoid these tasks or situations. You’ll devise reasons you can’t take action or show up—excuses (aka lies) rather than come out and tell the truth.
You don’t want to do it.
Tell the truth, first to yourself and then to anyone involved. You’ll feel so much better.
Take an Accounting
If you are ready to clean up your act and follow through—or figure out what you no longer plan or want to finish—it’s time to take an accounting. What projects have you not completed? What commitments haven’t you kept? And what dreams have you started moving toward but left unrealized? Make a list.
Then, put a star next to the ones you do, indeed, want to follow through on. And put a second star next to the ones you can complete before the new year rolls around. Then create a follow-through plan for the two-star items on the list.
Cross off anything on the list that you know you won’t or don’t want to complete. Determine who you need to tell of your decision…and tell those people.
Anything that you want to pursue but can’t complete before year-end gets pushed to the New Year. Purchase a calendar for the New Year and mark on it the start date and deadline for completion.
Don’t think you’ll be alone in this exercise. I, for one, will be joining you. There are definitely some things I need to follow through on before the end of December…and some things I simply need to get off my list.
What stops you from following through on projects or commitments…and how will you change that ASAP? Tell me in a comment below. And if you found this post helpful—or know someone who might benefit from reading it—please, feel free to share it.
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Do you lack follow through? Give me an hour of your time, and I’ll help you see how to start completing projects and fulfilling commitments. In the process, you’ll take huge strides toward fulfilling your potential and purpose and realizing your dreams. Apply for a FREE Certified High Performance Coaching strategy session. Fill out this application.
Or register for my Certified High Performance Group Coaching program here. It’s a great option if you don’t feel ready for one-on-one coaching and want to enjoy the power of group learning.
Photo courtesy of Iulian Dragomir