How do I learn to follow through?

Posted: September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

Answer by Michael Offord on Quora:

I have always found this to be the most difficult and necessary aspect of any successes I have had in life. You can dream, organize and plan until the idea of what you want to achieve is hovering right there before you, and then it all falls to ashes the moment you fail to follow through.

I believe that we each have our own motivations, that learning to follow through is different for each of us, but I can speak to the ways I have found brought me the most success.

Central to any plan I have set into motion is a built-in rewards/punishment system. When I was younger, this involved writing out scenarios where I had succeeded in my plan and where I had failed, and truly trying to put myself in both of those futures and actually feel the success and the loss.

To keep this system of visualization strong, I then incorporate these ideas and images into my everyday life. A ringtone that reminds me of the cost of not following through, a desktop wallpaper containing bits of what I hope to achieve, or even a dry erase board that I face everyday presenting these realities side by side.

My second system I installed to keep me motivated to act was actually borrowed from Seinfeld. Just google “Seinfeld chain” and you’ll see how big this idea has grown. It basically entails using a calendar to mark each day you succeed at a said goal or list of goals, and then after a few days of success you start building your chain. The key is to not break it. At one point I was using multiple colors to represent multiple goals, creating multiple chains that I did not want to break.

More recently in my life I have begun to add to this a third element, what is now referred to as gamification. If you haven’t come across it, it is the art of transforming the daily activities of your life into a game of sorts, where you can gain levels, earn things, have your health injured or have privileges taken away, etc. It has been the most fun and rewarding system I have used. There are a ton of apps and sites dedicated to this, and it really has held me accountable to following through everyday on the habits and tasks I have set up for myself.

And really that is what it comes down to through all of these little devices, it’s accountability. You have to create a situation in which you find yourself accountable each day that you follow through or do not follow through. If your interested, I have been keeping a blog about my most recent foray into gamifying my life at Chatter of the Ego. Specifically the entry titled
The Tao of Gamification explains the process of gamifying your goals, and goes through some of the tools I have found over the last few years.

I hope this helps!

How do I learn to follow through?


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