11 Ways to Overcome a Lack of Follow-Through

Overcome your lack of follow-through by nipping your bad habits in the bud with these 11 tips and tricks here.

A lack of follow-through can be detrimental for several reasons, which is why it’s important to be proactive and nip your bad habits in the bud. Stopping your bad habits before they cascade into a series of unfortunate events is a great way to start overcoming your lack of follow-through.

The importance of follow-through 

Following through is important for several reasons. Following through on your commitments makes you more reliable. When you fail to follow through on your commitments, you often have to face consequences. Not only does a lack of follow-through impact your ability to thrive, but it may also translate to a lack of trust that can be detrimental to your working relationships. 

Why people struggle with follow-through 

People struggle with follow-through for many reasons, including: 

  • Being unwilling to take action
  • Being stuck in a negative pattern
  • Being unmotivated or failing to recognize deeper motivations
  • Not having the knowledge, resources, or support necessary to change

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How to overcome a lack of follow-through 

1Use software to track action items 

The use of emerging technologies in the workplace is becoming increasingly prevalent, and for good reason. Leveraging technology can help you increase productivity, organization, and efficiency. Action items normally come up during meetings, which is why it can be difficult to keep track of them without the proper system in place. If you’re looking to hold yourself accountable, using software to track your action items is a must. With Fellow, you can track your action items directly within your meeting, making the process seamless and efficient. Fellow’s all-encompassing tool makes it possible for you to assign, track, and follow up on meeting action items so you can hold yourself and your teammates accountable. 

2Create goals

Creating SMART goals is an excellent way to hold both yourself and your teammates accountable. Without goals, you may lack direction and in turn, fail to follow through on your goals. Leveraging the SMART goals framework will ensure you’ve set the parameters necessary for everyone to succeed. Remember, to succeed with the SMART framework and keep everyone aligned, your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Creating milestones and goals will help you and your team improve your performance at work by providing everyone with concrete metrics to help gauge success over time. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage, which is why goal setting is so important.

SMART goal setting

3Ask for regular feedback 

To overcome a lack of follow-through, you need to prioritize growth and learn to kick unhealthy habits. If you aren’t sure where to turn, seeking feedback is a great starting point. Asking for regular feedback is not only a great way to gain insights that can help you on your journey, but it’s also a great way to hold yourself accountable. Scheduling frequent one-on-ones may be exactly what you and your teammates need to hold each other accountable and overcome a lack of follow-through. Checking in frequently and asking specific questions will help you get the feedback you need upfront, and may potentially limit the risk of receiving negative feedback down the road.

4Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable

As the age-old saying goes: you’re only as good as the company you keep. If you surround yourself with people who aren’t motivated or working towards any long-term goals, you may find yourself in the same boat. If you surround yourself with inspiring individuals who are constantly pushing boundaries and hitting their goals out of the park, you may be more inclined to follow suit. It’s important to surround yourself with people who hold you accountable and have your best interest in mind as opposed to people who are indifferent about your success. 

5Set strict deadlines 

Knowing what you want to achieve is one thing, but setting a concrete deadline is another. Many people work better under pressure, which is why it’s important to set a deadline that will drive you to succeed. While your deadline may not be for years to come, it’s important to give yourself a timeline that you can work within to see your goals through to fruition. Doing so will help you remain accountable and on track. Remember, setting realistic, timely goals is essential to achieving them.

6Find what motivates you

It’s simple: If you don’t find what motivates you, you won’t be motivated enough to follow through. Follow-through is associated with self-discipline. If you’re motivated to do what you set out to do within the timeframe you promised, you’ll begin to develop discipline as well as the value of integrity. Zeroing in on what motivates you will ultimately lead you to work that’s more meaningful and purposeful, which is incredibly impactful if you want to be able to follow through. 

7Incentivize yourself 

If you lack motivation, it’s time to incentivize yourself. An incentive doesn’t have to be big or costly. Instead, it can be as simple as rewarding yourself with your favorite takeout at the end of a productive work week or purchasing a coffee from your local café after you’ve seen one of your goals through to fruition. Rewarding yourself for reaching small milestones and completing big goals will help boost your interest and enjoyment in the work you’re doing, which may also help with sustaining motivation long term. 

8Learn to say no to more work 

Learning to say no is one of the hardest things you can do in the workplace, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Oftentimes it can be hard to say no and as a result, you may end up having way too much on your plate. If you want to be able to follow through on what’s most meaningful to you, you have to be able to say no when you have too many tasks on your to-do list. If you always say yes, people will keep asking you to do everything and you’ll never be able to focus on what matters most to you. 

9Limit distractions 

One of the quickest ways to get derailed from a task or pulled away from an important project is by getting distracted. If you’re someone who’s easily distracted, set time aside for deep work. This means closing yourself off to external distractions so you can focus on seeing your goals through to fruition. 

It can be extremely difficult to limit distractions, especially because we’re constantly being bombarded with emails, Slack notifications, social media alerts, and so much more. Not taking the time to set boundaries and limit your distractions is one of the most detrimental things you can do for your productivity. The good news is you can take a proactive approach.


  • Muting notifications on your phone 
  • Working in a quiet area where you can focus 
  • Blocking off time for deep work and concentration

10Improve your time management skills

Learning to manage your time effectively at work will help you meet deadlines, improve efficiency, and ultimately deliver on your promises. Time management is important because it empowers you to take control of your schedule so you can focus on following through on your promises. Whether you promised a colleague you would complete your portion of a project by the end of the week, or you set a personal goal for yourself, honing in on your time management skills will provide you with the tools and resources you need to follow through. 

The benefits of time management include greater clarity, greater capability, and greater confidence. When you get clear on where you should be expending your energy, you become more focused and productive. This level of clarity reduces procrastination, increases productivity, and helps you move the needle closer to seeing your goals through to fruition.  

11Write your tasks down 

Nothing is quite as daunting as starting the workweek with a lengthy list of tasks that seems completely unobtainable. Instead of overwhelming yourself with every task that’s on your mind, consider writing down your most important tasks—the ones that require your immediate attention. Not only will writing down your tasks help you nail down your priorities, but it will also hold you accountable. If you frequently find yourself failing to follow through, take the time to write down your deadlines and get clear on how to make them happen on paper. If you get clear on what you need to do, you’ll be more inclined to follow through. 

Ready to nip your bad habits in the bud? 

The first step to overcoming a lack of following through is admitting that you struggle to see things through to fruition. After you’ve come to that conclusion, it’s time to put in the work. Following the tips and tricks specified in this article will ensure you have the knowledge and resources necessary to overcome a lack of follow-through.

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About the author

Hannah Ross

Hannah is an experienced content creator and digital strategist with a demonstrated history of working with startups, small business owners, and large organizations. Presently, Hannah serves as the Founder at Flamingo Social where she strives to create impactful organic content marketing strategies that help founders tell inspiring stories.

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