If you have ever set and achieved a goal, then you know that the beginning of the process (when your goal is merely an idea in your mind) and the end of the process (when you enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the idea become a reality) are by far the most exciting. The middle stage (when you are relentlessly working toward the goal) is certainly much less fun.
Yet, the magic lies in the process of following through.
Follow-through is the action of completing something (source).
When you follow-through on an idea, it transforms from metaphysical energy into physical reality. Your persistence in consistently following through, even when the repetition gets boring, makes all the difference in whether or not you actually achieve your goal.
Follow-through also strengthens your relationships with others (including clients, team members, family, and friends) because keeping your word – doing what you say you will – builds trust.
This is why adopting the habit of follow-through can change your life.
Here’s how to make it happen:
Start by making this habit part of your identity. Tell yourself, “I am someone who follows through on what I promise myself and others” and believe it. It is easier to act in ways that align with your identity and your actions then reinforce your identity. As James Clear argues in the book Atomic Habits, every action becomes a vote in favor of your identity.
Set up systems that support follow-through. Memory is not a system. It is too difficult to remember all of the things you need to do to reach your goals and all of the things you’ve promised to others. In order to ensure the greatest success, you’ll need to have clear, documented systems to:
- Record what has been promised and decided
- Schedule when things will be done
- Track progress
- Hold yourself and team members accountable
Create follow-through rituals. This helps you to become specific about when, where, and how you will follow up.
- After every meeting ends, I immediately take 5 minutes to make a list of what I need to follow up on.
- When I finish a listing appointment, I call my admin to let them know what I’ve promised to the client so they can help me keep my word.
- Every morning, before I check my email, I spend 20 minutes taking concrete action towards one of my goals.
When you can master the art of following through, you will act with integrity, become a goal-achieving machine, and stand out in your market.
If you would like help figuring out how you and your team can improve your systems for better follow-through, click here to have a FREE 30-minute consultation with Kathleen Metcalf!
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