One of my greatest pet peeves is when friends don’t follow through and flake out on me. I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around why someone would say they’re going to do something and then not do it. But it’s important to follow through not just with plans involving other people, but also with goals and dreams you have for yourself. Here are seven ways to help you follow through, no matter what!
1. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
This is the first step in following through, because in order to follow through you have to commit yourself only to plans you can and will do. If you ever catch yourself double booking, stop in your tracks! It’s no fun having to spread yourself too thin, and odds are you’ll end up disappointing one of the people you’ve made plans with. If you can do something but don’t think you want to, don’t say yes just to be polite. It’s okay to say no sometimes, and it’s often better than making up an excuse later when the date comes around.
2. Write Notes
The more you see something, the more difficult it is to forget about it. Think about it, if your dirty laundry is piling up, you notice it and have to do something about it! Likewise, if you clutter your walls with sticky notes of your plans for the week, you’re bound to remember what you’ve committed yourself to. And if you remember what you have planned, you’ll follow through with those plans. How pleased will your friends be when you actually show up at girls’ night in for once!
3. Set Reminders
One of the greatest perks of living in the 21st century is having miniature computers we carry around with us in our pockets. Our phones carry out so many functions that my mom often refers to hers as a "second brain." Her phone and tablet are constantly setting off alarms, remembering her busy schedule so she doesn’t have to. If you’re of a forgetful nature, make use of your phone’s calendar and set reminders for all of your events. Just make sure your phone alerts you well before your scheduled event, so you have plenty of time to prepare for it.
4. Get an Accountability Partner
If you have a personal goal that you want to accomplish, but know that you can come up with a thousand excuses not to, you should tell someone else about your goal. When you tell someone that you’re going to do something, you’ll feel guiltier if you don’t do it than if no one had known about it. Also, it helps to have someone reminding you that there’s no time like the present to write that novel or open up that boutique, whatever your dream is. If no one is there to bring up your goal, what are the odds you won’t just forget you ever had one?
5. Set Deadlines
If you’re more internally motivated like I am, setting deadlines can really help you follow through. Tell yourself, or better yet dare yourself, to accomplish your goal before a certain date. This will encourage you to work toward your goal and do it speedily! When you achieve your goal, you’ll be so elated, it will feel like finishing a marathon- but without all the sweat! And you’ll want to feel that way again, so you’ll keep setting goals with deadlines for yourself.
6. Make a to-do List
To-do lists aren’t just for your dad when he has work to get done around the house on Saturday mornings; they can help you fulfill your personal goals as well. Grab a pen and pad of paper and write down everything you want to accomplish today, this month or this year! Whenever you’ve completed a task, check it off your list. Checking off your goals can be a really satisfying feeling, and as you watch each piece of paper fill up with check marks, your faith in yourself will only increase! Just make sure you keep it somewhere that you’ll see it daily, and review it often that way you don’t forget about all of your fabulous dreams!
Visualization can be a powerful thing. A yoga instructor once told me that the law of attraction states that if you imagine something happening and focus on it, you’ll achieve it. I often use meditation to call my dreams into reality, and it works! When you visualize acing a final or getting hired at your dream job, it becomes far easier to actually achieve those things! Of course you still have to prepare for the things you want, but visualization can make it easier to follow through with goals you have for yourself.
No one appreciates a flaky friend. Of course you love all of your friends, but you want to spend time with them too! And that can’t happen unless they follow through. If you struggle with following through, what do you do to make sure that you stick to your commitments?