Let’s talk follow through + intention.

Many of you flew into 2017 with vision, purpose, and passion. You took the time to self reflect and write down some solid end-of-year goals (If not, read this). You said “This is it! THIS is my year. I’m going to accomplish my goals. I have to.” #NewYearNewMe #NewPhoneWhoDis

So, you started 2017 off with a BANG, and you believed in yourself 100%.

Fast forward a few weeks and you slip off track. You can’t seem to get back in the groove of things and then, voila, you’ve fallen into the same thoughtless patterns of 2016. Nothing is different.

Here’s the thing.. You missed one crucial step: Follow through.

Ah, yes. The power of being consistent and finishing what we start. As tough as it can be, mastering the act of follow-through is the key to improving any area of your life.

To help, we’ve put together 6 key points that you need to remember in order to stay consistent and follow through with your 2017 goals.

The Secret to Owning Your Goals — 6 Key Steps to Follow Through

Let’s begin.

1. Know Your Why

When working to finish any particular task, it’s important to know your heart behind the decision to move forward with an action.

Why is this important to you? If you choose to follow through, how would accomplishing this goal make you feel?

Visualize you accomplishing this particular goal and acknowledge what that looks like. If it helps, get on Pinterest and create a vision board (this stuff works, people).

Tip: Instead of saying you have to, say that you need to or want to. Create positive thoughts and  supportive self-talk around your goal. Example: “I have to save $1,000.” —> “I need to save $1,000 to ____.”

Before you can follow through, you need to have realistic goals set. If you are having trouble setting measurable and attainable goals, check out this post: How to Set Personal Goals & Stick to Them

2. Just Do It Already

Newton’s first law of motion, everybody. “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.”

To move forward, you’ve gotta get up and get going. To those of you who are nitpicking over the details, we promise, doing feels much better than planning. Perfectionism will kill your dreams. It’s really just a form of procrastination (and a manifestation of fear). Tough love, baby.

3. Put Your Blinders On

When writing down goals and planning out the next few weeks, it can be tempting to do #ALLTHETHINGS. However, this is a good time to make like a race horse and put your blinders on.

Taking on too many projects is a surefire way to set yourself up for imminent failure.

If you want to know the #1 secret to accomplishing goals (besides follow through), it’s taking it one day at a time. Start small and once you’ve finished the task fully, move on to the next. This will give you the fuel and confidence to continue.

While we’re at it, we gotta warn you.. Stop looking to people who you think have it all together. Whoever you aspire to be, remember that everyone starts as an amateur, so stop trying to rush ahead and take shortcuts.

If you’re focused on the end goal, your process will be a long and weary one. To fight this, give your full attention to the tasks at hand and be present in the process. Your experience will be 10x more enjoyable and it will give you the fulfillment and meaning that you long for.

4. Make That Plan, Stan

One of the biggest reasons we fall off the wagon is that we don’t schedule time to make our goals happen. Instead of trying to fit your daily goals into your schedule, you should prioritize them and wrap your day around them instead.

It’s important that you tell yourself that the time scheduled is NOT OPTIONAL (we’re in caps ‘cause this is important!!!!). You have to honor this time like you do any other task that isn’t optional. Like, you have to get up and go to class on exam day whether you feel like it or not, you know?

Bottom line, if it’s not scheduled, it’s not going to happen. You’ll be relying on emotions to motivate you and, when we leave ourselves to last-minute decision making, we’re 30483x more likely to slip up (actual math).

5. Your Why vs. Your Feelings

If you didn’t already know, it can be really hard to find motivation. Like.. really, really hard. Think back to all those times you’ve had obligations that you were dreading. Even when you knew the outcome would be good, but you still had the whole “WAH. I don’t feel like it!” conversation with yourself.

Newsflash: Feelings lie. If we’re relying on them to make our daily decisions to follow through, we’ll continue to wander aimlessly, spinning our wheels, ending up in an absolute mess.

When moving forward with the pursuit of a goal, you need to know that it’s not always going to be sparkly, enjoyable, and easy. It may be at first, but that quickly fades. Haven’t you heard? Nothing worth having comes easily. You shouldn’t expect this journey to be any different.

If you start to feel like letting your tasks slide by one day, just remind yourself of this: follow through and do the work until it’s finished.

Fighting your internal messages can be difficult, so make it a point to teach yourself to combat the negative messages with reaffirming points, “I’m not going to do that thing that I said I wouldn’t do. I’m going to finish this task and follow through.” Tell yourself over and over that you WILL follow through.

Don’t be discouraged! While the journey can be tough, the reward is priceless.

6. Be Kind to Yourself

All of this to say, you will probably fall off the wagon a few times. It happens! You shouldn’t be afraid of encountering setbacks; they play a huge part in your growth, change, and experience. So, if it happens, be kind to yourself. Know that it’s totally OK.

Then, get up and catch that wagon. Keep pushing and don’t look back.

Disclaimer: this isn’t a race. Go at your own pace and be careful not to compare yourself to others. This is your unique journey and it’s no place for the joy-stealing act of comparison.

Along the way, take time to recognize your progress and acknowledge your positive strides. You have our permission to go to Starbucks and treat yo’self. You’ve got this, girl. You’re doing awesome.

Remember to always surround yourself with positivity. Find people that believe in you and will keep you accountable to follow through.

Need help setting the big-picture goals? No problem. We know it can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve put together a worksheet with guided questions for you to answer so you can get more clarity in choosing what goals are right for you this year.

How to Set Personal Goals for 2017 & Follow Through

In the end, the only way you’ll get to where you’re going is to consistently follow through.

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