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A blog on follow-through

strategies Dec 04, 2021

 

Once in 4th grade, I remember my teacher announcing to the class that we were going to do a big project.   It was going to be a series, multiple art activities, writing things and worksheets...all in a binder.    

There were probably 25 of us 9 year olds in the class and many of the kids were probably dreading the project.  But I was excited. I was definitely kind of a nerd and I loved to write. I imagined all of the things I was going to do in my project and the finished masterpiece.

The teacher revealed one of those giant criss-cross mountains of papers… where she had photocopied the first set of things for the project. She passed it all out and we loaded it into our project binder and got to work.  When I say I was excited… I really was.  But starting things always feels exciting, right?

The next week - it was the same.   More papers for the binder and work on the project.

But the following week - the teacher announced we had to go to an assembly - and couldn’t work on the project that day.  We would make it up next week.

The next week came, but she didn’t have our stack of papers.   The copier was down.  

And the following week came, but this week… there was no mention of the project.   We were obviously going to be doing something else today, so I raised my hand and asked... (told you I was “that kid.”)   “Aren’t we going to do our project today?”    “No, not today, she said.”  We need to prepare for the XYZ test next week.

The weeks rolled on and we never returned to the project.

I kind of forgot about it.   It wasn’t until the end of the school year that I remembered...We never finished the project.  And we never even talked about it.  

How could an adult… a teacher… tell me we were going to do something, and then just not do it?   Let it fade away and pretend like it never happened?

I was shook.   

It was one of those “growing up” moments.   Realizing that teachers are just people.  Realizing that projects can be “unfinished.”  Realizing that commitments and dreams and goals can be dropped.

I’ve never told this story...but I’ve thought of that project numerous times over my life.   The forgotten project changed me.

At this stage in my life - I can imagine a million reasons why we never got to finish that project.  I have zero judgement for my sweet 4th grade teacher.   Who knows what epic things were put on her plate.

But damn… isn’t that how things go sometimes? 

Big plans, excitement...short term follow-through...shifting and negotiating...putting off… making promises...then pretending like the commitment never existed?  Feeling that lurking guilt and then pushing it away until the next big plan and excitement?

I think… when we do this to ourselves...it damages trust.   We no longer really believe we are going to do the things we say.   We “pretend” with the hype...but then we have accepted the familiar story.   It will remain- undone.

Those projects, goals and commitments haunt us.  I know I’ve been guilty, more than a few times.  When it happens, it is one of the things I beat myself up for the most.  

I think when it comes to body stuff… eating better, exercising, losing weight, getting stronger…this is a familiar story for many people.    As a coach - it is one of the things people tell me they are most afraid of.   Not following through.

So I’ve created some strategies so it doesn’t happen very often anymore to me… and maybe they will help you too.

First - make smaller and more attainable goals.   This one is key.   Sometimes I even make the goals super tiny… just so I can check the box and build trust with myself.

Second- adjust priorities.   It’s all well and good to want something and have a plan...but that space and time in your life is already allocated.  You have to adjust priorities if you are going to follow through.

Third- add structure and accountability into the picture.   This is the number one reason I have multiple coaches in my life.   I know that I am 99% more likely to follow through when they know the plan, help me check the boxes, and ask me if I did it.

Fourth - actually believe the goal is possible.   Imagine it, taste it, create it.   If you never even believe you will get there, self doubt will create self sabotage.   *This is why community can be so helpful.  Surround yourself with other people working towards similar goals and achieving them.

Fifth - Forgive yourself and move forward when things go sideways.   Followthrough almost  never means perfect or going exactly as plan.  That is a myth.   It is a lot more about adjustment, consistency and being ok with imperfection.

Well - I know this was a little longer than my normal blog emails.  But I hope it hits home for you.

Hit reply and let me know your thoughts.  Would love to hear from you.    And if you need help with followthrough on your nutrition, fitness or self care goals, that is literally what I do...that’s what we do in fitme and I can help you.

Until next time,

Christy

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