Mastering the Art of Follow-Through

Welcome to 2018! Chances are you’ve started the year with a new set of annual goals for your business.

If you’ve ever fallen short of reaching your goals, you’re not alone. According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, a mind-blowing
92 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them.

On the positive side, 8 percent of people do accomplish their goals. Their secret is no secret: It’s follow-through. Here’s a brief guide to achieving your annual goals and making follow-through doable on a daily basis.

Set Interim Outcomes

Let’s say your goal is to increase business revenue by 30 percent in 2018. What might that look like on a monthly or quarterly basis? For example, you can set monthly revenue goals for the first quarter of 2018 that are less than a 30 percent increase, so that you can manage your learning curve as you work toward your goals. Setting interim outcomes allows you to succeed through an intentional and gradual process.

Review Your Goals Weekly

Knowing where you stand is key to following through. Schedule a recurring weekly appointment with yourself to review your annual goals, assess the past week’s activities and define actions you can take during the coming week. Figure out which day and which time of day you feel most focused, and claim that time as your own. Consider choosing a nonoffice location for your appointment if interruptions or distractions are an issue.

Take Daily Action

What can I do—right here, right now—that supports the goals I’ve set? Asking yourself this simple question throughout the day is a powerful way to keep yourself on track. Instead of having lunch with a friend you see regularly, reengaging with a lapsed prospect might be a better use of your goal-focused time.

End Each Day With Two Questions

The best time to reassess and refocus is during the final moments of your workday. Set the tone for tomorrow by ending your day with goal-oriented action. These two questions can help:

  • What did I do today that brought me closer to reaching my goals?
  • What is one action I can take before I leave today that will contribute to achieving my goals?

Add a Second Layer of Follow-Through

As you build follow-through muscle, keep your goals front and center. I encourage my clients to use a whiteboard to keep their goals and high-priority business activities visible. If you work best by talking through your goals, consider investing in a business coach. The right coaching relationship can help you to develop a goal-focused mind-set and effective follow-through habits.

The world-renowned British sculptor Henry Moore understood the art of follow-through. His approach is equally valid for business goals: “I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s.” Today is the ideal day to follow through on yours.