Why We Fail to Follow Through and How to Fix It

Most people have a good idea of how to turn their life around. The solutions are usually obvious. Everyone knows how to lose weight, make more money, or keep their house tidier. The challenge is following through.

Knowing what to do isn’t enough, not even close. Knowing gets you nothing. Execution and persistence are everything.


Why don’t you follow through on your decisions? Choose the reasons that resonate with you and see how to resolve them:

  1. You’re not making a true decision. Making a true decision means cutting yourself off from any other option. Most of us fail to commit sufficiently to our decisions. We’re too half-hearted and give up far too quickly.
  • Understand that a real decision is a contract you’ve made with yourself. Show yourself the respect you deserve.
  1. Are you unclear on your values? Understand your values and you’ll follow through more often.
  • Knowing your values increases the quality of your decisions. It will also keep you going when you hit an obstacle. You’ll be less likely to give up if you’re living according to your values.
  1. You incorrectly evaluate how challenging it will be. Things are often more challenging than you thought they would be. This is a common reason for not following through.
  • Expect to face challenges along the way. If you expect things to be difficult, you won’t be surprised when they are. You might also be able to prepare a few solutions ahead of time for probable challenges.
  1. Your emotions get the best of you. Successful people are either less swayed by their emotions, or they have more control over their emotions. Take your pick. It’s hard to be successful without one or the other.
  • Meditation is one way of getting control over your emotions and yourself.
  • Focus on making positive decisions in spite of how you’re feeling in the moment. The tendency is to make decisions that reduce your anxiety in the short-term. Unfortunately, this leads to long-term failure. Keep your focus on the objective.
  1. You work toward your goals intermittently. A little effort each day will accomplish more than a lot of effort here and there. Daily action keeps you focused and is easier emotionally.
  • Avoid the belief that you have to work yourself into the ground to be successful. A little each day adds up to a lot.
  • Make a list of actions you can take each day and then do a few of them. That’s often all that’s required.
  1. Are you losing focus on your end result? A short-term perspective will sabotage your efforts. If you focus on the short-term struggle you’re experiencing, you’ll almost certainly find a way to quit.
  • Remind yourself daily of the prize at the end. Visualize success and how great you’ll feel. Bask in how amazing it is. That’s the key to following through.
  1. You want everything in your life to be easy. Do you just give up and go on to a new project whenever you see that something isn’t easy?
  • There’s no glory without struggle. A little challenge can make your successes more meaningful. If life were too easy, you’d be bored.


Do you follow through on your intentions, or do you find a reason to quit? You probably already know enough to make dramatic changes to your life, so the real challenge is managing yourself and following an effective process.


The power to change your life is within you. You only need to adjust your approach. Perseverance is a significant part of positive change.

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