Follow Through : Be Someone Who Gets Things Done

There’s a six-word formula for success. Think things through, then follow through.

Eddie Rickenbacker

Words are meaningless without intent and follow through. Without follow through there is no action. You are breaking a commitment with yourself and others. This leads to erosion of dependability and trust.

Watch the commitments. It’s so easy to want to help others, to want to say yes, and if you are regularly saying yes, then watch it. Before you say yes, remind yourself that right now you (motivated you) is putting your reputation on the line for something that later you, may not be as motivated to actually see through. Think it through for a second before you commit or over commit.

Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed.

Brian Tracy

What do you want?

Understand what you true goal is, what is at the heart of it, and be very clear with yourself on the goal.


What are you giving up? It’s important to come to terms with the choice you are making. Choices are a matter of tradeoffs. If you haven’t wrestled with this, it may come back to haunt you.

Timeline and Deadlines with waypoints

You must have an end date. Breakdown your goal into a timeline of action with deadlines along the way. Know what you will do and by when. Hold yourself to it.

Schedule it

Like any commitment you make, schedule it. It’s no different than a dinner date or a doctors appointment. Put it on your calendar. It’s not a real commitment if you don’t schedule it.


Any task or goal that takes a while to get to the final result takes work. The more opportunities to decide if you will do a thing, the more likely a barrier will present itself and you won’t follow through.

Develop your habits so that the goal you have is being worked on regularly and nearly automatically. You don’t decide on if you are going to make movement, you just follow your habits and routines.


If this is an individual goal then include a friend or mentor. This will help you keep accountable to yourself and apply some social currency to the situation. It’s harder to give up and admit defeat when you’ve shared it with someone you respect and that you want to keep respecting you.

If this is not a an individual goal but one you’ve agreed to complete for someone else, you are accountable to them. Your reputation is on the line and so is your character.

Overpower Fear

Fear is normal. It is inevitable. We each work through it differently. The key is to work through it and not allow fear to become an insurmountable roadblock. Work through it and keep moving forward.

Close the Loop

Get it done. Deliver on what you said you would and get that thing done. You’ll feel good. You’ve made forward progress. Celebrate with a quick pat on the back and then get on with your next goal. Time is precious.

You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.

Rosalyn Carter

There are a number of reasons you can struggle with not following through on your commitments. If you regularly find yourself having issues with follow through consider a couple of things.

Do what you love

Are you doing what you love? If you are not spending a significant amount of your time using your strengths in the pursuit of something you are passionate about, this can cause major hurdles to overcome in order to take action.

Simply you have to expend so much energy to force yourself to do something you don’t love, that you may be running at a mental deficiency to get it done. Willpower is not enough. Motivation is not enough. Look at the core of who you are, what your strengths are, and if you are simply committing to a result that may not fit for you.

It’s not enough to want the result, you must also want the action that gets you there. Before you commit to a goal, understand the steps it takes to get there, and love those steps.

If you don’t love the process, and are only working for the result – it will take a herculean effort to stick with it and see it through.

Do what you said you were going to do. Carefully consider what you commit to. Be realistic and don’t over commit. Be clear on what your goals are and what a win looks like.

Enlist the help of others. You don’t have to be amazing at everything. Sometimes you can delegate to others, or take others as partners to get it done.

You’ll feel much better about yourself when you follow through and accomplish what you set out to do.

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