Almost 16% of 2012 is now behind us: time flies! Many of us expended considerable time and thought at the beginning of the year setting our goals. Sadly, several of us may also be wondering what happened to those goals.
What stops us? Frustratingly, it seems that we stop ourselves by failing to follow through.
Whilst I’m no sports expert, I do remember my games teacher talking about follow-through in our tennis lessons. I went online to find a reminder of the concept:
Adequate follow-through is vital to a forceful and complete serve. Lack of follow-through increases the force applied by antagonistic muscles and reduces the force applied at the moment of ball contact.
So to complete an effective serve, a tennis player must follow through or the force applied to the ball is diminished. For us then, it seems that unless we follow through on our goals, all that effort and potential is wasted.
How irritating that the same brain which will allow us to intelligently establish what steps we need to follow to achieve our goals doesn’t have some inbuilt device to make us take them. Such an implant is probably already in development – maybe I should patent iThink now!
In the meantime, we need to find ways to spur ourselves on to action. That sounds a bit grand but actually most of us do it already: did you wake up naturally this morning or did you set an alarm clock to spur yourself on to rising at the required time? If so, you took action to create a state in which you achieved your goal.
Can you think of ways in which you could create such a state? If my goal was to complete my dissertation, I might choose to break that down into chunks of work to be finished each week for the next four weeks. I could then find a trusted friend with whom I would share this goal and then I would give her four envelopes, each of which holds a crisp new £50 note. Each week, when I show her the completed section, she would hand me back that envelope. If I haven’t finished the week’s work, she will take the sealed envelope and shred it. Gulp: that’s drastic stuff but will surely create a state in which I achieve my goal. Even thinking about taking that action is useful as it helps me check my commitment to the plan.
To reiterate the point, if we don’t follow through on our goals, we waste our time, our efforts, our potential and possibly our money.
Today’s pebble for you: what action do you need to take to ensure that you follow through?
If you want to avoid shredding £50 notes, why not email me to see how we can work together?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.