Marie Forleo introduction

Hi!

I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Isn’t it funny how we get soooo pumped about our newest projects?

Whether it’s a cleaner diet, blogging consistently, or getting back in shape — most of us have no trouble starting off with a bang.

We’re uber committed for the first few days.

Things go so well that we actually start to believe the voice in our head when it says, “OMG, this time is different. I’m actually going to make this happen. I’m going to stick with this for life!”

Fast forward three weeks into the future. Life throws you a curve ball. You slip off track. A few more days pass and before you know it, it’s the same as it ever was.

To be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself. Click To Tweet

You see…

No matter how enthusiastic we are at the beginning of any new project, there’s one crucial habit that makes the difference between our ultimate success and failure.

Follow-through: the ability to finish what we start.

If you’re frustrated with your addiction to half-completed projects and struggle to stick with any new regimen you take on, this episode of MarieTV is for you.

Full disclosure: I’m not perfect at follow-through, but after years of watching myself and others stumble and thankfully, find some success, I’ve gained some insight on follow-through that I hope can help you.

Now, it’s your turn.

In the comments below, tell me:

What’s the single most effective strategy you’ve used to stay focused and follow-through?

Let me know what’s worked and what hasn’t.

And please share as many specific details as possible. Your share might be just the insight that someone else needs to have a breakthrough.

Thank you, as always, for reading, watching and sharing!

With love,

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368 comments

  1. The world is full of good intentions, right?

    But none of it matters if we don’t do anything about it.

    I have a feeling this topic will hit home for a lot of peeps (me included) cuz I need to make a better habit of this myself.

    ~ darlene 🙂

    • Yeah… I get that a lot! Good intentions only take you so far. If only they could do the work for us…
      I like to remind myself that I don’t need motivation to do something, only determination.

      • Love that, Laura! Determination is such a huge component to most accomplishments, but it can sound so boring. (Plus, it can look an awful lot like stubbornness, which for some reason people think is a bad thing.)

        • True, Jessica! I think I really put myself in a difficult situation by becoming obsessed with a project. I do it 24/7 and put all of my energy and mind into it. I just don’t know how to stop…until I’m burned out.

          • I like the determination, but sometimes there’s just days you canNOT be….. well you know.

            And that’s when I like to bring in the big guns! What I do is….. *drumroll*

            I play soothing music in the background (link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OV9ErsuGHk) and I tell ya, every SINGLE time it calms my energy down, gets me focused and helps me feel relaxed.

            Best free find everrr.

            Elise xo

          • Yeah, I used to look at my stubbornness as a problem, but it’s an asset when you learn how to use it 😉

            Elise, Secret Garden is my inspiration secret. When I need to create and my intuition is just not working, I put my headphones on and enter a different world. I can’t do it all the time though, or it stops working so well!

          • I get burned out a lot too! And sometimes a break is the best thing you can give yourself. It’s amazing how I come back with full steam after only a few days of completely taking my mind off of things.

            Stubbornness can be a good thing, especially when you’re attempting seemingly “impossible” feats. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and bring out your inner mule 😛

          • I love your idea Elise! I get so easily distracted but music does have a way of focusing and calming me. My 17 year-old son does homework to blasting music while texting . . . he’s focused and gets it done so who am I to question his method? Thanks for the tip!

      • Yup. Intention without execution is pointless.

        • OOooh so true.

          • Intention + perception = Direction = Life

      • Determination…. and good old grit!!

        • Yes! My former advisor, Angela Duckworth, taught me all about grit. She has an awesome TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8

          • Kay

            I love TED videos and couldn’t resist watching this one. I’m glad I did…starting a biz like I’m doing right now definitely requires grit – not just short-term but as Angela says, during the “marathon” of life. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

          • Bridget

            Cool talk!

        • Mariam

          Great video! Thanks for sharing!

          • Had to watch it, not only for myself but also for my children it is remarkable information!! Thanks!

      • I love this. Determination is the key factor in motivation! How bad do you want it?!?!

      • That is so true Lauren,
        What works for me I write it down and it helps me to want to cross it out once it’s done. If I don’t write it down it’s not a commitment to myself to have to finish it. But determination is a huge part in the decisions we make to actually sit down and block everything to get it done.

        Like right now I have been working on this website for way to long and it’s frustrating. I know once I get everything in place I will be able to launch. Just trusting people on certain areas had made me realized that some projects you just have to do it yourself.

        Madeline

    • ada

      This is very helpful, I love it. I have unlimited passion for my business, but owning a business probably means working more than 60 hours weekly. I wake up fearing I would never get my tasks done and it frightens me.

      Glad to know I am not the only one…

      Best,
      Ada@balinisports.com

    • ‘A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.’ ~Arabian Proverb

  2. I had a breakthrough on this last week when working with my coach!
    I was actually expecting that discipline was my key to success & following up on my goals but it turns out it’s not.

    For me personally (and it is very personal to each individual) finding pleasure in the process is my key to success!

    I’ll have a glass of Champagne to that!

    • YES! They actually found that people work harder at working out when they were focused on enjoying the process than the goal. I oscillate between using my dislike for my current situation to push myself to work hard, and enjoying the moment or the task to enjoy working hard.

    • Finding the pleasure in the process definitely makes a difference for me, too, Caroline. I’ve gotten really good at following through on things, but was really only taking pleasure in “a job well done” which meant I was pushing myself really hard to finish everything. Shifting to letting myself enjoy the work I’m doing has definitely brought in more ease and creativity.

      Not that the creative work always flows–I agree with Marie that there are times my eyes bleed, not sparkle ;-)–but that asking myself how I might enjoy things a bit more and adding that (for instance, playing great background music) or making small tweaks has gone a long way towards making the process something I look forward to.

    • Udo

      Wow, can I just say that ENJOYING the process is another key to success.

      This is more of a “I’ve been peddling all day and I don’t see the result? Why haven’t all my dreams come true?” tactic for myself. You have to enjoy the process because
      #1 – The success is fleeting. It is an excuse for you to say “I will be happy when ____” instead of being happy NOW.
      #2 – MOST of your life consists of the process. If you don’t enjoy the process, then you’re not enjoying your life!

      • Doris

        Such a great comment! A very underrated point of view.

        I used to think that stuff like studies are so important whether they’re fun or not. Now I think that if there’s more crappiness than actual fun, encouragement and self-development, there’s a chance it’s not worth it anyway. If you’re only suffering there, say, to be able to suffer in your future job the same way…

        The solutions are:

        1) just do what you want to today – maybe a bus will hit you tomorrow and you’ll say “but I’ve invested so much time and effort!”, so maybe quit the studies

        2) change the subject of studies or the university so that you could enjoy it

        3) change your attitude – don’t invest so much energy in something so not important; if my studies are crappy and still it’s my best option, I’ll just show the lowest level of commitment and get more time to attend extracurricular lectures, conferences, read the right books etc.

      • Fay

        Sometimes you don’t enjoy the entire process, but there are things you need to get done… like or not… but you know that at the end of the day, you are closer to that purpose. It is not always enjoyable!

    • I agree with you 100%. If what I’ve created isn’t a “success,”to the outside world at least I’ve had fun during the creation process. : -)

      Maybe part of the definition of success should be the joy you feel when you’re creating something.

    • The idea of enjoying the process is SO important!

      Personally, I’m much more motivated to push through and finish my projects if I’m keeping track of my goals in a pretty, organized planner. And I stay much more focused if I sit in my office to work instead of letting myself take my laptop to the couch. To motivate myself to stay in my office, I’ve decorated it to match my brand and vision for my business. It’s pretty, functional, and a constant reminder that I can only achieve great things if I stay on task with the little ones.

      Thanks for the discussion! It’s great to hear everyone else’s experiences with this.

      • Ashley I love this! So true that you’ve GOT to spend the time and energy to decorate your office! I’m not even in the decorating industry (I do health and fitness for firefighters) but I’m always preaching about having an aesthetically pleasing environment!

  3. Whew, keeping promises to myself. I’m SO good at being accountable to others, but it can be much harder to keep promises to myself, so I can certainly relate to this.

    I agree, Marie. Creating habits has been the best way to make sure I follow through. I do at LEAST one small thing for my business every day, and I’ve been doing that for almost a year now. Also, I TRY to laser focus on one task at a time, which makes me get way more done in a shorter amount of time.

    • I’m the same way with keeping promises to others vs. myself. I often wonder if it comes down to a self-worth issue (as I believe most problems do.) If I valued myself as much as I say I do, would I stand in my way as often as I do? Would I work as hard for myself as I would for someone else? Something to ponder…then do something about!!

      • Emelia,

        You hit the nail right on my head. Great questions to ask, and I think taking a deep dive into finding the answers and taking action on them is a noble task. I shall join you!

    • When it comes to time management in the moment, I often use a 25-30 minute music playlist that I call my WORK JAMS. Sometimes it’s blaring because I’m doing something creative and other times it’s softly playing in the background because I need to concentrate. Therefore I work in time blocks. I don’t stop until the music is finished and once it is, I step away for 5-10 minutes (switch the laundry, empty the dishwasher, walk the dog) and come back to do the same. It keeps me focused. Sometimes I switch tasks but when I’m working on a big project, I might do this all day long.

      • I love your idea, Heidi! It goes along with a self-management strategy I just discovered called the http://www.PomodoroTechnique.com.

        My take-aways so far from all these comments:

        – Calm your energy and focus your intention BEFORE you start the task
        – Enjoy the process – perhaps by playing your favorite music!
        – Work in manageable chunks of time and then take a break.
        – Be fully present and give the task at hand your full attention for the time allotted.

        I’ve got some work to do!
        Thanks all : )

        • I love the Pomodoro technique!! Been doing that with my accountability partner on Saturday’s.

          It pushes me on those days when I whine and don’t want to get anything done!

          And, I find that once I get started, I get into the groove and don’t want to stop!

        • Joya

          So glad you shared this! I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique for nearly 3 years and it is a life saver! It’s empowering to review the “interruptions and unplanned events” on your daily worksheets and to reflect on what you accomplish in a day/week/month. I have learned quite a bit from the reflective practice of understanding what has the power to pull me off of a task/pomodoro. One insight I learned is that I frequently underestimate the amount of time it takes to do something…and I so now I break down my tasks on my to-do list into smaller bites.

        • Aloha!
          Kimberly you beat me to it! I love the Pomodoro. I need it so I can have the short 5 min breaks as I tend to stay way to long on a task and get fried (hungry, tired, cramped from sitting too long) so the Pomodoro gets me up for water, a yoga stretch and back to the drawing board.
          I get so much more done with the breaks! Who Knew?
          The tick tock of my Pomodoro (behind the music of the day) has become very synonymous with productivity.
          Aloha, Gina

        • Thanks for sharing this!

          I used to use it when my kids were little to help them stay on task, but never even thought to use it myself.

          Went right out today and bought a timer, and put it right to use. So helpful!

      • Fab idea Heidi… I plan to implement today! As a designer and a creative I use music as inspiration/motivation everyday, never did I think to use it as a time/progress clock!

        LUV IT!

  4. Cool video, Marie! I’m definitely the queen of starting everything and dropping it… my eyes are waaaay bigger than my commitment 🙂
    The biggest thing for me is giving myself breaks when I need them. There’s a fine line between just wanting a break and really needing one, and over time I’ve learned to tell the difference.
    The other big thing is, like you said, realizing that finishing anything is hard work. It’s fun to start, but not so fun to keep yourself going past that point of fun and inspiration. I keep myself focused on the goal but also try to remind myself along the way of how blessed I am to just be doing this in the first place. Sometimes all you can do is just hunker down and push through.

  5. My name is Emelia and I have a problem with execution.

    It’s cultivating that awareness that I have a choice at every moment…and as we know every choice has consequences. I unconsciously travel from task to task. Learning to check in with myself often keeps me on track and keeps me more accountable. Operating on autopilot is the enemy of EVERYTHING! 🙂

    • Emelia, I so know what you’re talking about! Sometimes I feel like I get very frustrated because I feel like I’m stuck having to do something I really don’t want to do. For me, it’s all a matter of realizing that it has been my choice all along. Once I really understand that, it is much easier to follow through.

    • I love this AA style reference. We should all own up to our shortfalls so we can address them – AWARENESS.

      I literally clear off my desk for one task at a time. Sometimes when I find myself easily distracted I also create a poster with paper and sharpie and put it on/above my computer screen. I have to rip it down in order to move onto the next thing. Or disconnect my wifi, leave my cell phone in the other room. Strategies baby, strategies.

  6. Awesome question and answer…especially the “tweetable!”

    I suffer from product ideation. I’m always coming up with ideas, jotting them down and then thinking about them. They take up valuable brain time!

    I’m going to get focused and keep a promise to myself to get my best idea into production!

    Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

  7. My #1 tip for following through is announcing my plans to people who will hold me accountable. Whether it be to my husband, my best friend, my life coach, or the talkative (nosey?) person in the cubicle down the hall, if they’ll hold me to what I say, I tell that person and then feel the overwhelming need to stick with it.

    That said, I’m selective about what I share, and I live with a project idea for a while before announcing it to the world. That way the things I announce actually have meaning – it’s not like, “Oh, here comes Rebecca again with another grand plan that she’ll drop in a week.” Keep the plans focused and infrequent and social accountability can work like a charm.

  8. I’m so glad Andes asked this Q! I feel so much stronger now knowing that others struggle with getting bored with their projects. Thank you, Marie!
    Also ladies, could you please recommend how to follow through when you invested a lot of time, money and soul in your idea, but it hasn’t paid off yet? I heard miracles happen when you seriously think about giving up.

    • I feel you on this! I had trouble with this for a long time before I re-branded.

      Have you tried tweaking your idea to appeal more to your target audience? Are you promoting it where your audience hangs out?

      Sometimes it’s just an issue of capturing your audience’s attention!

      • Thank you, Erin! I just started connecting with my audience. And thank you for reminding me about the places where they hang out! I just came up with an idea, thanks to you ))) XO

  9. Over my life, I’ve pursued dozens of business and projects–just to quit them.

    The theme throughout is that I went into these projects with only half thought-out, half-planned-out, and honestly half-passionate plans.

    My current business however, it is my life’s GREATEST passion, and I have a clear-cut, step-by-step plan for how it’s all going to be executed. I only move on to the “next step” after reaching a clear, defined goal in the previous step. In this state, it’s virtually impossible to be distracted or lose focus.

    So for me here’s what works:
    1. Only work on things you are “CYP” passionate about
    2. Create a step-by-step roadmap you’ll follow, that are marked my measurable goals (i.e. grow list to 1000 subscribers, talk to 25 people in person about their needs, finish product in 6 weeks, sell 50 products, etc.)
    3. Stay focused on the ONE goal at hand

    Never in my life have I been so focused, and so immune to “shiny object syndrome”!

  10. I love using check off lists and online trackers for staying on target with my goals. Each week I print off a check off list for my daily exercise, nutrition, business and health goals. It feels great to check off each of these smaller items that keep me on track for me bigger goals. Each morning I identify my top 3 projects/goals for the day and put my energy into focusing on just those top 3 things not on everything that needs to be accomplished. I also divide projects into smaller pieces so each day I should be able to complete my daily goal which is one piece of a much bigger project. This gives me daily accomplishments which helps me stay motivated and on track for accomplishing big goals and projects.

    • Hey Carolyn! I couldn’t agree more on the great feeling of checking things off — especially when it’s visual and other people can see it 🙂 It’s how we do things here at my company! The feeling of making (and seeing) progress is vital to staying motivated — it’s called the Progress Principle and it works.

  11. I got my best tip from a writing blog I follow:
    Set your timer for 10 minutes and work. Then rest for 5, and set for 10 again.
    That way you get a little break and the ten min. goes really fast! Your project is done in no time.
    Cheers-
    Sarah

  12. Hey Marie, I just created a video on virtually the same thing “how to create a habit that you can stick to”. One of the the most important rules that I’ve learned is to work on your habit EVERYDAY. (even if it’s just for 5 minutes). I find that things fall apart when I commit to only 2 -3 times a week. That gives me permission to keep putting it off. When it’s something I have to do everyday, there’s no procrastinating until tomorrow.
    Hope this is helpful for others.
    As always Marie, thanks for your inspiration. 🙂

  13. The single most important difference has been made by making myself accountable. I’m a girl of my word so once it’s “out there” and I’ve said I’m going to do something…. the pressure is on!

  14. A consistent problem I’ve seen in the online entrepreneurial world (and when I say consistent, I mean it’s *everywhere*…all the time!) is that people’s expectations are completely unrealistic. They put together projects (courses, programs, membership sites) and expect way more immediate results and profit. When it doesn’t rain business, instead of moving forward with the project, tweaking, making it better, *building it out*, and marketing more effectively, they just quit and move on to the next thing. This inconsistency really affects your business integrity and it pains me to see other people in the entrepreneurosphere jumping from thing to thing in their business, seemingly hoping to strike gold eventually. It don’t work that way, son! This is a great video to get people oriented in the right direction Marie. Thanks, as always.

  15. Oh, mama needs a project diet!,,

  16. I’m great at finishing projects for clients, but when it comes to getting things done for myself I have trouble. It’s kind of that “I don’t really HAVE to do this now…” because I don’t directly have anyone else relying on me to make it happen.

    I definitely agree with only taking on one project (for myself) at a time. I’m still working on finishing B-School, so that’s my current project! haha

    I also find that if I schedule time to work on my project, I’m a lot more likely to do it. AND dedicating a certain amount of time every day–FREE of distractions (emails, phone calls, etc.) means that I can actually make progress!

  17. Hi Marie
    It’s funny as I was just talking to a fellow entrepreneur, pushing myself to find time for networking events has increased motivation and creativity 200%. Just being around like minded people and talking about our projects pushes us to not only do more but stay on your game and not be idle. I wake up with a clear focus of the days tasks and things that need to be accomplished. It’s a great feeling also when you hold the vision of where you want to be (biz wise) its motivating to continue to plug away at tasks and chores to help you get there.

    • Love to hear how social interaction fuels you Tanya!

    • Udo

      Tanya, this is such a GOOD idea!!! It makes sense. I don’t want to go to the next networking event and STILL be saying “I’m starting XYZ”. I want to say “I just hit this goal with XYZ!” Brilliant!

      • Hi Udo
        Exactly it makes you accountable for your statements regarding activities. Six months from now you will look back on what you accomplished and learned and get to that next ring on the ladder.

        Tanya

    • Udo

      Oh, this is the best Q&A Tuesday you’ve done for me in a bit, Marie. Very much applies to me. Here’s how I’ll implement.

      #1 – Oh, I’ve done enough creating to fully understand that the twinkling eyes don’t last forever. I’ve overcome this hurdle and now I LOOK FORWARD to the moments when my eyes bleed because it means I am GROWING. Mhm 😉

      #2 – The little balls!!!!!! This reminds me of your good ole’ “touch it once” method. I am developing a good habit, thanks to you!

      #3 – Keeping promises TO MYSELLLFFF. Mm. That’s good. I need to treat promises to myself just as if it were a promise to someone else. That also means NOT making plans that creep into my own!

    • Ditto for me too Tanya! I live in a little fishing village 40 minutes from the closest city. Working on my husband’s business from home has me quite isolated most of the time and I get lonely. I’ve figured out that although a part of me is introverted and likes ‘alone time’, I’m fueled by social interaction. When I take breaks I do beach walks and pick up trash and I inevitably end up talking to someone (especially during tourist season). I notice that when I come back to my desk I’m fueled up ready to take my work with renewed interest. Hmmm, maybe I ought to create a beach walk/trash gathering social network? Thanks for this ‘kick in the pants’ Marie!

      • Darris
        I used to tell my friends I was shy and no one believed me. Because for my job I was forced to interact with strangers and connect (fashion industry manufacturing).. I would practice my conversation before I picked up the phone or prior to the meeting. My comfort level came from knowing what I was going to say. Nothing in my opinion throws people more than surprises so I always came prepared.

        What kind of business is it? Are there others that you can connect with via Skype? Friends that may be in business as well?

  18. Oh, the joys of “Shiny, pretty object syndrome” so much fun thinking about all of the wonderful new toys… 🙂

    I’ve learned that I have to deliberately shut everything else out when I’m working on a project. I keep a note of “things to check out later, when I’m done with this…” stuff.

    What works for me is doing the project work first thing in the morning, before I look at anything else. I also break it into small, bite-size pieces so I get to feel a sense of accomplishments as I check off all of the things I’ve done. (Instead of “launch webinar” it’s 1. decide topic, 2. create outline, 3. create title, etc.)

  19. I know Marie already mentioned it in today’s video, but I have to say that making promises to myself has been extremely helpful in following through with projects and getting things done.

    The way I see it, if I make a promise to myself and don’t keep it, the person I am letting down in a major, major way is myself…not only now, but in future. Ouch!

    If I’m having a particularly difficult time getting things done, I just work on some small little piece of that project to move it forward. I find that sometimes that’s all that’s needed to keep the momentum going.

    You know the old saying, “You can’t please everyone, so you might as well please yourself?” I think we should change it up for the 21st century to, “You can’t make and keep promises to everyone, so you might as make and keep promises to yourself!”

  20. One of the things I teach my clients is to take time each day to focus on what the “big rocks” are. I created a prioritization system for creatives so that it’s easier to figure out what needs to get done. One of the BIG problems I see most entrepreneurs struggling with is UNDERestimating the amount of time it’ll take to complete something. Yes, I learned this the hard way.

    It’s kind of like Marie’s “project diet” concept, but it’s less about saying “NO” more often, and being more realistic about the amount of time it’ll take to accomplish something. Then, when you commit to something, you’re less likely to be dropping balls in the first place, because you won’t be scrambling to try to accomplish so much in waaay too little time in the first place.

    Sure, you can probably squeeze that dentist appointment in between the soccer game, biz meeting, and helping volunteer at the puppy shelter, but what if even ONE of those things is running behind? WEll, now you’re stressin’. Instead, give yourself the time you really need to do the work that needs to get accomplished. Prioritize REALISTICALLY. That’s been the best lesson I’ve ever learned in life and business.

    And yes, I’m STILL learning it. 🙂

  21. Some great advice Marie – thank you. I shall be adapting my processes slightly. Except this one:

    In order to keep progressing with any specific really major project (as opposed to the hundreds that get dropped) I always over-schedule little details: Phone calls, email follow-ups, social media reading related to the project’s topic, etc. If it’s in the calendar I get a reminder and that gets me through the six-week valley of disinterest and project doom. Before I realize it, two months into the project the enthusiasm swings back into action and success is not far following.

  22. Jane Guyette

    When I am working on a project, I will play a special music CD that isn’t distracting, but actually keeps my concentration level up. This helps me to complete projects early, or on time. Another thing I like to do is stay connected with others. I find out what their needs are, which encourages me to stay motivated and on track because I like to help people and problem solve.

  23. you mean that project of my e-book that has been done for a year but for 30 minutes of revision….that I will finish today and send to my graphic artist! Thanks for the push!!!!

  24. YES – Project Diet!! That’s how I have to operate – one Major project at a time or I become overwhelmed. I take each day as it comes, get my ass on the computer between 5-6am every morning to work on the big bulky stuff that I can’t do when the family is up, complete the smaller tasks during the day and understand that everything runs on Divine Timing. I will even dedicate each month to focusing on one major project – like a website overhaul or e-book/email series. One step at a time, one step at a time.

  25. Marie, I love the way you put it – project diet! Lol so true that when it comes to completion, less is more!! Thank you very much as always.

    A few things that have helped me:
    1. Set a clear intention, eg, what’s my number one priority, why am I doing this, what must be done etc. Then I focus on this thing EVERYDAY, first thing in the morning. Nothing else is allowed to distract me.
    2. Make it a routine, it becomes harder not to do it than doing it 🙂
    3. Whenever I feel the need to get motivated, I don’t beat myself up, chances are I DO need a break. Take a break and get back into it.

  26. JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!! Don’t give yourself time to talk yourself out of it, whatever it is. Slow down, be in the moment and watch your projects get cleaned up one thing at a time. I work on appointment scheduling daily, so I see my work started and finished within a certain time frame. It has become habit in all that I do, one thing done consistently day after day, gives you the Slight Edge…. most things in life are easy to do but also easy NOT to do, do you see the negative results right away, no , but over time you either reap the rewards of consistency or the go down a path of not reaching your goals, not immediately but over time you are either on the upward curve of success or the downward curve of non-success. Great book to read about this is Jeff Olsens THE SLIGHT EDGE, short and sweet, but oh so helpful!!!!

  27. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE: Knowing exactly what you want so you can keep focus even when distraction is knocking.

    BURNING DESIRE: A burning passion that keeps you going even when the going is tough like mohammed Ali said. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

    With a burning desire you can achieve:

    PERSISTENCE: This is the only insurance against failure because when you fail you don’t know you fail you see each step as opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

    For me this has been my watch word as i grow in developing my career.I DONT QUIT because Quitters don’t win.

  28. Love it “A project diet”

    When we make things too complicated we dread doing them.

    I have put myself on a simple business diet that makes it so
    easy to follow through.

    Without proper follow through…there will be a fallout!

    Thanks for your inspiring, high energy videos Marie!

  29. Breaking it down into steps AND writing it down when you are clear and focused. Then on even the most unfocused days you can just follow the list and chip away at what needs to be done.

  30. I am learning to turn down every project that keeps me from completing my own projects. I love to help people, but I found that it was draining and keeping me from being a “finisher’. It’s freeing.

  31. Marian Knowles

    I love Marie’s tweetable. In my experience, success is 90% based on follow-through. My trick is to tell friends, family, or co-workers about my business project or personal goal. That way I feel accountable for crossing the finish line and (bonus!) have people I can turn to for advice or support when I hit the inevitable speed bump.

  32. Ken Carpenter

    Marie, Marie, Marie~!

    Once again, you rock all worlds. Thanks for the great tips and I promise to follow thru permanently.

  33. Lynn

    I always plan for follow though. If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen. I put it on my calendar as any other appointment. I loved this video especially about having limited projects.

  34. Deborah

    Haha…I love it…Step away from the Project Buffett!!!!

    I literally have a list of 24 projects in place right now and only working on small balls with each one!

    It’s funny, I like to do the checklist thing (love, love checking off the boxes)! But, now I got lists of the lists I need to make…crazy! So yesterday as I was going through my piles of individual projects I found and old list and guess what?, 3/4 of the items on the list were done and I didn’t need that checklist “in my face”!

    Now my MO is if it’s got to be done now…do it! Keep sticking with the things that come up today and not worry about all the stuff that can wait until tomorrow. So, I’m stepping away form the project buffet today and doing the things that just flow for the day!

  35. Gloria Maria

    “STEP AWAY FROM THE (PROJECT) BUFFET!!!!”
    ..I love that!!

  36. Ronda

    Oh my gosh Marie! Were you eves dropping in my brain this am perhaps? I actually feel much better, knowing I am “normal” in my non finishing state, so it gives me hope of improving…sometimes the creative part of me is screaming in so many different directions and unfortunately, I’m really, really good at, and enjoy tons of different things, so I get easily distracted! I never thought of it as a habit…great info! Thanks a ton! Now, I must decide what I need to do today and just “Do It”!

  37. Hey Everyone!

    Oh the topic of follow through! How it comes up with myself and my clients alllllllll the time!

    And Marie, you are bang on when you say “don’t expect sparkly eyes!”. It’s just not realistic to still be fired up about a project the whole way through. Usually somewhere in the middle muck when it gets really hard is when that goes away. I tell my clients that it’s likely to come back IF/WHEN you do finish the project! Because we usually feel an incredible sigh of relief and HUGE satisfaction that we did what we said we were going to do and have it succeed!!!

    For time management, I “attempt” to take on only one learning project at a tme. If I’ve purchased an e-program or am taking a course, the rule of thumb is one-at-a-time. The same applies in my personal life. I typically don’t take on more than 1-2 personal hobbies at a time otherwise I start dropping my little balls…and then big balls fall too!

    Thanks for such a great topic, as always. Love the dress!

    Heidi xx

  38. A friend of mine hit the nail on the head, she calls it “Analysis Paralysis” which I suffered from. Now that I know this, I give myself a pep talk and force myself to sit down and work on the project at hand, all the while keeping the end result in mind. Plus, that same friend cheers me on with each little triumph. (we met through Bschool) The result? I am a week away to publishing the first in a series of ebooks and 3 weeks away from launching my first online workshop! Whoo hoo!

  39. What I’ve found super-helpful is to treat projects like assignments and keep a “to-do” list for them, including due dates.

    If I know I want to finish project x by the end of the week, I also need to make sure I tackle project y in a timely manner so it doesn’t take up the time I really want to allocate to project x.

  40. LOL! LOVED this video, you’re a brilliant teacher!

    This happened to me for more years that I care to admit, I had so many ideas that at times I couldn’t sleep. I wanted the day to have 48 hours so the project diet is right on the money! Among other things once I disciplined myself to stop jumping like a grasshopper from one thing to the next I began to make progress!

  41. Awesome stuff as always, Marie! I used to be so guilty of half-finishing things sometimes (especially emails), so tip #2 really hit home for me. My #1 technique for accomplishing BIG tasks and staying focused is the philosophy of “Just Today.” Truthfully, I only need to choose water over soda, “just today.” I only need to go to the gym, “just today.” I only need to stay positive and focused, “just today.” Tomorrow is irrelevant–I’ll deal with it when it gets here. But I always know that I’m capable of doing *anything*, just today. Because when tomorrow finally gets here, it’s the same thing–I need to give my best, just today.

  42. Shen

    Follow through for me is about enjoying the journey and not only focusing on how I will feel at the end.

  43. So relevant!

    I’m always at the projects buffet!

    My favourite follow through tip is a ‘Habit Tracker’ or a sticker chart for myself where I give myself a little sticker everytime I do a habit I’ve committed too. i.e. green smoothie, yoga, exercise etc…

    🙂

  44. gosh, so true (and relevant to me).

    i liked the distinction you made between promises to yourself versus others… in fact, i realized that if i start TELLING people what i’m going to do, i’ve then set up a situation where i AM liable to others for follow-thru…

    i’ve used this successfully, for example, with fiction writing — by setting up a “deadline” date where a friend and i will trade first drafts. and i know i probably never would’ve gotten that draft finished without that outside deadline / someone depending on me!

    also, i swear by LISTS LISTS LISTS. sometimes you don’t realize you’re a project binge-er until you start breaking goals down & listing all the separate tasks you thereby need to get done as part of it… but, regardless of the project binge issue, just having all of the “small balls” tasks on paper in front of me clears my head, since my brain isn’t using space to remember them… plus i LOVE the satisfaction of crossing off a list item 🙂 🙂

    <3 thanks as always marie! love your energy, and really appreciate you sharing it with us — it's contagious!!

  45. I love this! This is SUCH a common thread with so many people. I also deal with my health coaching clients and yoga students who deal with this on both small and large terms in their lives. THANK YOU Marie for this video. Great tips. Simple and direct. Can’t wait to share with my people:)

    Ashley

  46. Great advice! I learned a great acronym for getting things done by maintaining FOCUS–Follow One Course Until Successful.

    Thanks, Marie, for breaking it down.

  47. UH

    For me the single most successful strategy was and is GTD (Getting Things Done). What I learned there, is to declare things finished even if they are not perfect yet.

    • I totally agree! Allowing the project not to be perfect just yet is something I try to practice. Otherwise it will never be done!

  48. Thanks for covering another great topic, Marie.
    I have three important habits that have helped me to not drop as many balls as I use to: putting it on my schedule as an appointment (aka, the rule if it’s not on the calendar it’s not real) so at the end of each day, I write out an action list for the next day, prioritize it and add estimated times to complete each item. I usually cut the lowest priority item or two since I have a knack for over scheduling and it’s defeating to have unfinished balls. Getting into the habit of making the list and scheduling it was probably the hardest part of changing my focus. The second habit that has helped me the most…is setting a timer on my phone to match the time I estimated for the action items. I rarely go beyond a 50 minute stretch, but I work better in big blocks of time rather than little sprints. The third item I have is to set limits with those around me. I tell my husband and daughter I need X amount of time to work on a project and then I will be with them the rest of the day/evening. It has helped to eliminate interruptions and keeps me on task since I need to commit to what I promised them.

  49. Easy… I make follow-through a pleasure by:

    1. Asking myself what’s the smallest sip I can do today to move my project forward
    2. Rewarding myself often along the way
    3. Deliberately making commitments and working backwards to meet them, like organising a book tour before I even had a publishing deal. It happened!!!

    Oh, and David Allen’s Getting Things Done and Steve Chandler’s Time Warrior are my two bibles.

  50. YES, YES, YES! Project Diet is so apt….I tend to have so many ideas in my head that it becomes overwhelming, and feel I need to do them all at once….which is not helpful and is self initiated stress.
    Thanks Marie, as always!
    Jo
    x

  51. The way I follow through is by setting an “anti-goal”. If I don’t achieve my goal (such as staying on a diet for 30 days), I have to donate $100 to a political candidate I HATE! This works for me!

  52. I do 30-min “sprints” when I concentrate on task completely, followed by 10 min rest or pause or whatever. As Seth Godin says, you can’t run sprints forever, but it’s useful to run them from time to time.

  53. Pam

    I can totally relate here! I keep a list of my priorities so when my mind starts to wander, I got back to my list. If I get completely distracted and confused, I call on my business coach and she gets me back on track!

  54. This really is a phenomenon of incredible proportions — how it is that we have no problem following through with other people but when it comes to ourselves….ball dropping galore! What helps me is the quote “just do today”. The biggest area we need to put our efforts into (that makes everything else easier) is the planning phase. Remember, ‘when we fail to plan, we plan to fail’! It’s like a blueprint for a house….no different. Finishing my blue print (which is my business plan) has definitely fallen behind timing wise but I know in my heart it will get done. And I’m not even waiting for the entire business plan to be finished to simultaneously move things forward. I’m a youth empowerment speaker and I’ve already created my program and done it in a variety of venues to really positive results – so I know I’m on the right path. Things don’t always go exactly according to a schedule as we all know – so part of you has to go with the flow and navigate as best you can. But always BELIEVE that you have what it takes to make your passion projects happen. One day at a time, it really does come together….eventually! Well, those are my “poils” of wisdom for the day! Good luck with all your ventures, everybody!!!
    P.S. I’ve enjoyed hearing some of the Q&A’s from the men out there! See, Marie? You touch everybody!

  55. Jan

    How timely, you really hit the nail on the head!

    I was considering this very issue the last few days. I never had problems showing up for work and doing my best. But I was struggling with doing the same for myself on projects and things I hoped that “some day” would bring the fulfillment I desired. I searched out new projects on that buffet looking for my next fix that I hoped would bring permanent fulfillment.

    I have started a project of “downsizing” the last several days that I really have no option of not completing and I am finding that propels me to keep on keeping on.

    Thanks for the confirmation!!

  56. I work most effectively in full immersion mode, so one specific thing I do to guarantee my follow through is to block off a period of time to simply focus & not multi-task (that includes checking FB, until I’m done!). That time block may be a week for an eBook, or a half day for something smaller: it depends on the nature of the task and my other commitments. Like the small balls concept, thanks Marie 😉

  57. Amy

    When creating new habits, I write out my daily routine. I list each task and the approximate time to accomplish it. I keep it on my phone with reminders sent to me throughout the day. While I sometimes veer off track, it’s a good framework for me. Plus I love checking items off my list!

    Also, I make sure to include fun things to shake up my routine like set times for reading, social media, and free time.

  58. Great video Marie. Yes, focus is key. And yes, following through on my commitments to myself has been major. I ask myself how I would respond if the CEO of another company asked for my attention. I am my most important client!
    I am a creative and it does not work for me to only have one project. But I work on them in blocks and do limit myself to just a few, even if I do have a long list of possibles to come back to. I have yearly goals. This year it is marketing and fiducial responsibility
    I sat down and created a long list of all the things that I wanted in every area of my life, arranging them in categories and then picked my top one working though them until I had a hundred – took this idea from Dax Moy and it works! I have this list printed out on pretty paper taped to my bathroom mirror and read it everyday at least once. I also commit to doing at least one thing to move me forward on realizing that list.
    One of my girlfriends and I are coaching buddies. When we get stuck we let each other know we are going to do a ‘blockbuster’, e-mailing a commitment on when to start (and not before) and how long we are committing for. It is amazing how much I then look forward to the clock getting to that time. But in the meantime in that gearing up for the moment, whether it is getting a snack, going for a walk or some other kind of ‘down time’ there is a certain charging up that goes on. Once I start, I often then become so absorbed that I lose track of the time.
    For an easier day I sometimes have a ‘mightswell’ day (from my coaching buddy’s grandmother) when I allow myself to just meander and see what needs to be done as I go – so I might as well do it while there. It is a nice way to mix things up and take care of a lot of those ‘little balls’.
    I also work really, really hard at letting go of perfectionism and reminding myself to notice when ‘it is good enough’. That last 20% after all takes up 80% of the effort. I am working on getting into the habit of noting what is next when I come back to it and when I do, I then work on the next 80% of the remaining 20%.
    Thanks, love your weekly show

  59. Ginny Gilliss

    LOVED YOUR TWEETABLE,!! As I looked around my house I literally saw at least 5 projects going on! I have the “want to” , but I feel like I’m so disorganized…FOR ME, my lack of Follow Through is linked to my lack of Organization… Marie, do you have video tips on organizing ? I feel like I need a week of NoT Living ( or without Interruptions ) just to organize my life!

  60. I am a homeschool mom of 4 and have a home business. In order to focus in this less than quiet house, I throw on my headphones and play some music. I also try to schedule projects during times when the kids are busy, sleeping, or out of the house. This way I can get it done uninterrupted for the most part.

  61. I’m going to put in a plug for a daily meditation practice as a way to get the important things done. I work with a personality system called the Enneagram in my coaching practice, and certain personality types are particularly susceptible to wanting the sparkly eyes and the excitement of starting something new over the slow, steady progress of sticking with one thing and seeing it through. They often have active, easily-stimulated minds, and learning to settle themselves down through meditation helps them to ground themselves and create space for what’s important, rather than jumping into what feels exciting in the moment.

  62. First and foremost, when taking on a new big project (a.k.a Big Ball) I break it down into small, more tangible steps. This helps me always know exactly the net step that needs to be taken to keep the Big Ball rolling.

    When I find myself avoiding something, especially procrastinating, I then sit down and force myself to tackle it. I often find that I am making the task seem bigger than it really is. I make myself tackle it before I am allowed to do anything else. And when I do, I find it is actually much simpler or easier, than I thought. This helps keep things rolling and ensures continuous follow-through, and keeps me from dropping a ball (or balls).

  63. I agree with all three of Marie’s tips. To add to the conversation, I’d like to make a distinction here between short-term and long-term goals.

    You can make your eyes bleed for a short-term goal like doing an one-week project or pulling an all-nighter and finishing a project.

    However, for long-term goals or lifestyle changes (think exercise) pushing continuously and pressuring yourself doesn’t work. This is where systems or else, habits, come in place.

    Instead of, e.g., losing 20 pounds, focus on building better exercise and diet habits. Instead of gaining x more subscribers every month focus on building systems that get you closer to this number.

    Now your systems don’t need to be perfect on day 1. You don’t need to make 1 hour of exercise a day a habit right away. Make 5 minutes a habit. But you need to start. As you go along you will improve your habits and systems will improve.

    • Maria I agree with the points that you make. I know all that for myself but for some of us the struggle is worry when we focus on 1 small (ball) at a time.
      I was so used to joggling so many things at the same time that now when I focus on 1 I panic and feel like I will be missing out on a great opportunity or miss the success train by staying on 1 thing.

  64. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, this is typical Vata behavior! Creative but unfocused and always in flight, Vata is all about air and movement. Great advice, Marie, that this Vata will try (once again!) to implement. Love the video! 🙂

  65. The tool that is most effective for me in seeing something to the finish line is remembering my intention and reason for starting it in the first place. Not the surface reason but the real core reason that had me so excited in the beginning. Usually when I want to bail it’s because I’ve lost the connection with the deep intention. I am thinking more about the thing I don’t “feel” like doing and taking action from that space instead of taking action from the space of, “Oh hell yea I’m going to get this piece done because it will directly support my desired outcome.” Another reason I want to bail is when I’ve stopped following my truth and started to take on thought patterns and actions that support the way others think I should get things done. Or better yet, what I THINK others think. That stuff makes me want to run and drop it all!

    Today when I want to bail I pause and say “Ok, what’s really going on here love? You aren’t a quitter, you’ve accomplished many things. So, what’s up?” When I get clear on what’s blocking me and connect to my deep desire and core intention, nothing seems hard any more and it becomes what I WANT to do! Stay true to you.

  66. Love the topic as always. I feel that many people, as I did at one point, feel that finishing is easier for other people. IT ISN’T but I for me it get’s easier and easier as I fine tune what I am all about in my business and be honest with what I really want to spend my time creating. Last, having the systems to finish it.

    I can get scattered and I can vision endless creative projects, but like you said, the reality is, one thing at a time!

    I find lately that I remind myself what it would feel like if I didn’t finish the project? That motivates me to continue. Plus knowing how good it feels to finish and how much new energy will rush in after!

    Also daily lists are very helpful, and last is being realistic with my time, knowing that a big project might not be finished today, but I can finish a part of it today. Then I’m not “letting myself down.”

    It’s all about finding what works for you…

    • Vanessa great point. I never asked myself how I would feel if I didn’t finish. Of course I feel like crap and like a failure or that I am always starting over.
      It’s a great high when you are chasing the shiny objects but from recent experience it is a recipe for:
      1) wasting money on things that appear to be good programs but are not
      2) wasting money on investing on similar things
      3) wasting valuable time doing many things and not finishing either one of them. It takes more time to try to finish 3 projects at the same time because life happens and it never goes like you plan in your mind and on paper
      4) the feeling of failure is really not worth chasing the shiny objects.

    • MagicMark

      You made good points, Vanessa. I achieve my best success when I break a project down in writing into achievable steps, and detail them further to allow measurable progress in terms of minutes or hours. Doing this organizes the work and supports multi-tasking steps like ordering things or asking for another’s input.

      The key to making this process work is to “be in the moment’ when working on the project tasks, not letting other tasks and thoughts interfere. That’s when the measurable progress really adds up, and one feels proud of the accomplishment.

  67. I use systems and processes. And then it’s All about learning how to “Quarterback Without Touching the Ball”

  68. STEP AWAY FROM THE PROJECT BUFFET!!!!! Best piece of advice I’ve heard in a lonnnnngggggg time!!! As a chronic non-followthrougher, I am forcing myself to complete my current project by hosting an open-house for our laser business – I’ve set the date, begun turning our garage into a studio and am getting the invites ready this week. Once they go out, there is no turning back and I will be FORCED to complete this project (or be really REALLY embarrassed!!!) Works for me!

  69. Wow this is another one of my favorite Marie Forleo Q& A.
    I’ve been running around like a headless chicken trying to tackle so many projects at the same time. Well 3 months later, none of them completed. It’s a little challenging to go on a project diet but based on my result or lack of it, I think a diet is in order.

    My problem is that once I start I feel that if I don’t tackle this other project too, I will be missing out or miss out on a great opportunity. My question is how do you pick the one that you feel is BEST to focus on at the moment?

  70. I love this video!! I think we all suffer from bright, new shiny project syndrome. The way I deal with finishing what I start is that I announce on social media like crazy that I am doing something new and I add date when it will be released. When I see that date looming ahead of me, I make sure I follow through to get the project done. And like Marie suggested, I recently stepped away from the project buffet a few months ago. I got so tired of juggling multiple projects and felt I was getting burned out. Once I released my last dessert guide in May, I felt such a great sense of accomplishment. Bye, bye feeling constantly overwhelmed! 🙂

  71. Finish Up Fridays!

    That is my best strategy for follow thorough. I spend my Fridays finishing projects, cleaning up piles, and tying up loose ends.

    I tend to be full of ideas for projects – some area great and some are hair-brained. When the irresistable creative urge strikes, instead of starting up a new project I’ll write all about it. The good ideas stick and get in line. The hairbrained ideas are fun to write about but in the writing process it becomes clear that it is hairbrained and a no-go.

  72. Kelli Younger

    Marie,
    This is right where I am in more ways than one. Thanks for clearing up the real deal about creating. I have been challenged with staying focused inspite of unforseen circumstances, etc.

  73. This helped me so much! I have started projects but I think that I become discouraged in the middle from all the little tasks that need completion. So thanks and I will share this with all my clients.

  74. Linda Williams

    Great Q&A Tuesday, thanks Marie! When working on a project for me (vs. my employer or freelance clients) I allow myself a certain amount of time to work on a project and set the alarm on my phone to guide me. It creates a sense of urgency for myself that I would normally have when working on a project for someone else.

  75. Malwina

    2 processes that help me to follow through:
    1. Before starting a new project, I spend quite some time (sometimes, a ridiculous amount of time) clearing all the “junk” around that particular topic. I write down all the perceived obstacles, all my fears, everything, and then I go through them, one by one, if needed with some tapping or meditation, until I can honestly say: “I totally want to do this and I know that I CAN.”
    2. Lately I’m experimenting with what Esther Hicks calls “segment intentions”: I keep my journal close by throughout the day, and before EACH new activity I log the time and I write down what exactly I intend to do now, preferably with a tangible goal. It can also be “aimlessly surf Pinterest” – the point is, I do it intentionally, so it happens less and less that I just get lost in little “side activities”.
    Marie, your reframe about the creative process… I’m only beginning to sense how true this is for me – that I expect it to be all happy-joyful-easy-effortless… Thanks a lot. And I loved your magic sparkly eyes 🙂

    • OMG, Malwina! I say a whole-hearted AMEN to processing resistance related to a specific task/project. Why try to work in spite of the pain/fear/etc. when you can dissolve it with tapping, journaling, etc.

      Also love the idea of “segment intentions” for staying present and focused.

      Thank you for sharing!

  76. elinor

    I start with the most difficult and what I want to avoid first, so that it’s done!

  77. Lara Wisniewski

    I find that following a quality as a theme that links all of my projects has been a way to supercharge my todo list which I have recently re-named my To Do Lust. As a recent graduate of Mama Genas, I devote my “Lust” List to pleasure and everything is executed under that moniker. It really works! Somedays there is no hope and on those days I am just nicer to myself and everything comes together.

  78. Barbara Hames

    As always, great video, Marie. Ok ok ok – everything you said was so very ‘on the ball’. So instead of waiting to be TOLD what to do for ME by someone else (and doing it), I need to set my own tasks, and do them. Obvious isn’t it. New habits about to be cast in stone!

  79. This is very good. I especially resonate with the buffet comment. I find it hard to stick to one thing because there are sooo many things I want/need to do. When I take on too much, something else suffers for it. Gotta stay focused to make it happen! Merci, Marie!!

  80. Hi Marie! I love, love, love all of your weekly videos and no non-sense, practical advice. I’m a new business owner who does who does personal training and wellness coaching. So much of your advice is applicable to my clients, and similar to what I tell them! When it comes to myself I am not as effective at “coaching” myself through obstacles and challenges like following through and taking action on things. My single most effective strategy to help me was to hire a coach! I already knew the benefits of coaching because I see how I am able to help others. I need that same guidance, accountability and support. Having a coach has helped move me forward much faster than I could have on my own. Between my coach and tapping into other experts like you I am getting better at staying focused, taking action, following through, and staying out of “overwhelm land.” Thanks so much for all you do! You’re an inspiration and role model for me and many others!

  81. I SO needed this Marie! I was just posting yesterday in the Bschool group about not having excuses and we made a new excuse-free mastermind group too! ….yet today I find myself unproductive and full of excuses! ha!

    What I just did to get myself back on track while I let this video load was to imagine my ideal life ONE year from now. 10 years from now AND again when I’m in my 80’s sittin’ on the porch swing with my hubby watching our family play in the yard and thinking about all that we’ve accomplished, the help we’ve given others and all we’ve been able to do because of our awesome businesses. THAT got me motivated! And of course your video did too! Today I’m not making things optional AT ALL! But I’m also breaking down my to do items into projects so I can go on a mini-project diet today and just get the most important and urgent tasks accomplished for one project before I work on another project’s tasks.

    Thanks so much Marie! Amazing as always!
    xox,
    Ashlee

  82. Aja

    I make lists everyday and check off as I go along. I love love love seeing a check mark in badly drawn box I put next to what I need to do. If I don’t get it done I put it on the list for the next day at the top of the list. Sometimes prioritizing is the best thing for me that day. That’s how I stay focused, the traditional “To Do List” lol

  83. Thanks for this Marie + team! My trick to making sure I will follow through is to schedule a party and invite all my friends to come celebrate the completion of a project. E.g. scheduling a house warming party just to make sure I unpack after a move and scheduling a launch party just to ensure that I finish my website on time. It works every time! Check out the launch party pics of you’re curious 🙂 http://thelifester.com/parties/

  84. Joy

    hi all –
    i speak out my mantras and mission statement daily.
    i write out my to-do list the night before (3-5 tasks) that will keep me moving FORWARD – in action – towards my goal.
    i talk to people! i enroll my friends, my acquaintances, the barista who makes my coffee – what i do and what my passion is!
    this way people remember and ask me how it’s going…
    it’s not an accident these people ask me on a day i don’t feel very motivated and plop me right back onto my track:)
    Yay!

  85. Love the project “diet” When I find I am procrastinating I love setting a timer for 20 or 45 minutes to get that ONE task done. It keeps me focused and speedy (the internal competitive streak inside us all to finish the task before the timer!).

  86. Thanks so much Marie! Honestly, not finishing what you start can make you miserable! When you feel overwhelmed, it’s OK to start with the things that inspire you! You don’t always have to save the best for last. It helps with what we call building behavioral momentum… Read more @ http://www.jamiealleyne.com
    30 Promises to Happy!

    Love,
    Jamie ~

  87. sylvia mendez-morse

    i larned from my friend and former nag-Rachel C. — to make a daily list of tasks and decide which are/is the most important and which are not. yes prioritizing helps but what Rachel taught me was that getting those MOST IMPORTANT DONE FIRST would leave time and energy and desire to do the others also. so follow thru on the MOST IMPORTANT FIRST and everything else is a bonus.

  88. I struggle with finishing projects too. I have this “shiny object” syndrome, where I’ll pounce on things with great fervor because it looks interesting and appealing and then lose interest. It happens all. the. time. I’m only recently learning how to chase behind every shiny thing (only to leave it unfinished).

    I’m great at initiating though! haha.

  89. Yes Marie I do let myself off the hook most times when the commitment is with myself. I’d never let one of my children down. If I told them I was going to do something I’d do it. But I allow myself to disappoint myself every day.

    And another good point you make is about taking care of my little ball first. Yes I can now see how that would help me create and maintain the habit of follow through.

    And oh yes I am stepping away from the project buffet. I’ve definitely been standing at it for far too long.

    Thanks for the wonderful insights.

    Cheers,
    Michelle

  90. LOVE the smackdown today, Marie!

    The Tweetable is pure genius. Thanks for your pixie dust and diamonds–as always! 🙂

  91. I usually have a list of things I reward myself with after completing my to do list. For instance, rewarding myself by spending some time on Facebook or watching some videos (like this one) may not seem like huge rewards, but if you consciously decide to spend time on them only AFTER you follow through other things, they feel great. This helps me save a lot of time, complete important things, and not procrastinate.

  92. I love these tips! Really, at the end of the day, it’s all about acting… and then continuing to act… until the idea is something tangible. You’re a great example of this, and I really enjoy your videos!

    Two things I would add: Acknowledge your fears if you frequently stop just as you’re beginning to make progress. Sometimes people are so afraid of failing, or succeeding, that they subtly sabotage themselves. Also, I personally have to work backwards sometimes to be able to really clarify the steps I need to take. Otherwise, my little balls get overwhelming, and they become the focus rather than the big picture! 🙂 Working backwards lets me see what I want and then figure out what I really would have to do to get there. This can be less overwhelming than “starting from scratch.” Maybe it’s all in the perspective, but perspective can be everything.

    Again, thanks for sharing the great tips, as well as the awesome tweetable.

    Christin
    Coach @RLTCoaching
    http://www.rltcoaching.com

  93. Right on point, sistah. I am the king of wishful thinking and lord of procrastinators. For years I would start so many projects but struggled to close them all. Only recently have I discovered the answer (for me anyway) which is to pick closers and people of action. You know, doers.
    The team is critical for every project so choose wisely!
    I have an awesome network of passionate doers which helps close the deal.

  94. Oh, right on about the project buffet. That is one of my problems! Now, how do I choose the one to focus on?

  95. You are a trip Marie..and this hits so close to home BUT I have been on a project diet as I’ve learned not only does it feel good to complete something but it reduces my overwhelm!

    xo, Aimee

  96. Thavary

    Thank you, Ms. Marie — for sharing your wisdom once again (in your truly inspiring, quirky, hilarious, unique way). I really needed to watch today’s Q&A Tuesday. You’ve given me the guidance and encouragement to know that I can take on this journey of healing, one project at a time. Love, love, love you!

  97. Holy cow, did this ever strike a nerve with me. A whole bunch of nerves, actually. What really drove it home was this statement:

    “We think that a promise to ourselves doesn’t count as much as a promise to someone else.”

    I didn’t realize I had this mentality until I heard it with my own ears. Yeah, changing that right NOW!

  98. Mary Catherine

    Marie,

    Oh, I total get this when it comes to my own process and projects. I guess, what I am struggling with is a project that I am having to do for my day job which truly is a struggle – I have not been able to find anyway to motivate myself to move this project forward and it is now six months behind. I am going to make small steps each day to move this project forward despite my discomfort – I guess there are just so many feelings and unconscious thoughts I am working through – this episode has helped me – 1) never give my creative energy to someone else for a project – 2) If I can’t lead a project hire a project leader and budget for it. 3) Keep my mouth shut when sharing my creative energy – I totally created a situation by offering a creative idea without thinking through the steps of how to accomplish the project prior to production. What a lesson – Thanks MC

  99. Great video, Marie! Marie TV is ALWAYS so timely.

    I have two strategies for moving forward.

    The first is setting my 3 most important tasks every day, making sure at least two of them are business-related and pointed at my short and/or long term goals.

    The second is to notice the moment I have resistance to a piece of the project, the moment I tell myself, “I don’t want to do this.” Then I commit immediately to addressing that piece, to making the phone call, or doing the technical thing, or whatever it is my Saboteur is throwing out there that it knows might trip me up and slow me down.

    Take that, Saboteur!

  100. I’ve been struggling with follow-through this week!! AArrggh.

    I have this super good idea for creating an opt-in ebook, but it’s been difficult to push through and complete it!

    But, one of the best things I’ve done to follow-through is to get an accountability partner! It’s been awesome. We goal set and then the following week meet together to discuss what we accomplished!

    It’s motivational because I don’t want to get to out meetings empty handed! She’s on the same page as me, so we’ve been good at motivating each other!

    • Kay

      I love this “accountability partner” idea. I’m thinking about doing something along that line for my fitness site…matching people up so we can “have each other’s back.” Glad to hear it’s working for you!

      • Kay,
        Jennifer has the right idea and I think something like that could work well for your community.

        Something like The Accountability Chat I created for my site might work. You could set it up as a members only area but I like letting anyone who wants to use the chat. If you like the idea, give it a try and let me know how it works.

  101. YES to all of these!

    And added to it, the first thing I learnt in B School – which changed my life:

    IF IT’S NOT SCHEDULED, IT’S NOT REAL!

    So many of my projects have fallen by the wayside because I felt I’d do them “one day”. As soon as Marie F taught me the above, I’ve finished SO more projects!

    Brilliant video, brilliant ideas, you rock! AND rule.

  102. Kay

    As far as the “little balls” (that is so funny, I love it), I find that using the timer on my iPhone helps! Bigger goals – I’ve been blogging for a year and including my health stats. It’s been a huge motivator to “go public.” So I’m trying to take more of my goals more public. It’s too bad we take our commitments to others more seriously than the ones to ourselves. But one option is just to use that to our advantage.

    • Yes! TIMER! Brilliantly simple idea Kay!
      I get sucked into some tasks (especially if they involve my computer…can you say, obsessive?) and cheat other tasks out of their piece of the pie.
      I will set my happy little timer and when it sings its sweet chime for me, I will STAND up, stretch, physically move away from the computer, and get the neurons ready to fire in a new direction. Movin’ on!

  103. Linda

    I pretty much use luck to get me through….I’m bad at the the follow through. I have so many deadlines if I stepped away from the buffet I’d probably fall. I literally have 13 messages in my draft folder at any given time. Without that as a reminder I’d be in trouble! How to I break this bad habit? As I said I can’t just focus on one thing. Each project has a long selling cycle that won’t permit me to focus all my attention on one project.

  104. I use Challenge Tracker to help me get results.

    Research shows you are 30% more likely to get results just by the act of tracking yourself. Use a journal, a spreadsheet…an online tool like mine or whatever! But seeing yourself step by step along the way has made all the difference for me!

    In gratitude Marie!

  105. My most effective strategy is to put tasks in my google calendar — it’s like a little promise to myself. And the little pop-up alert doesn’t hurt either! 😉

  106. Great video! Okay, a simple tip that helps me stuff done is using my I-phone timer and setting it to small, manageable time frames like 15 minutes. For those 15 minutes all I need to do is laser focus on what’s in front of me. A task may take up to an hour, but having the little sound go BEEP after 15 minutes makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

    Hope that helps and keep rockin it out Marie!

    Love,
    Diana Dorell
    Intuitive Relationship Coach and Creator of the Five Star Love Life™
    http://www.Dianadorell.com

  107. I find that when I’m passionate about a project, I’m much more likely to maintain the energy to see it through. I work to find that passion in new projects, that one spark that I can focus my energies on to keep that drive. Most every project has some aspect that will keep me going, even the most mundane. It can just take some digging to find!

  108. OMG! This was great and soooooo needed to hear this right now! I am the Queen of half started projects all over the place. I am constantly attracted to shiny new things and never ever finish what I started and all it does is cause me to feel bad about myself. Only by finishing one by one will I feel better. So today I will set my deadline and finish one.
    Thank you!

  109. Marie, I LOVE this tweetable! I printed it off and put it on my computer screen as a daily reminder. Such amazing insight, as ALWAYS!

    xo
    ~Chase

  110. Great timing! Working on changing up my website, opt in, and all that “fun” stuff! And my EYES ARE BLEEDING!
    Love the truth teller, it is hard to follow through sometimes–especially on a gorgeous Portland day like today…okay…back to blowing up my balls!

  111. In one of my favorite scenes from Gilmore Girls, Lorelei storms into her parent’s room in the middle of the night, angry because her mother interfered, again, in a mother-daughter drama.

    Emily: Lorelei! You scared me half to death!!!

    Lorelei: Yeah. I’ve always had a problem with follow-through.

    It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but it made me laugh hard and resonated with me so much I never forgot it. Follow-through used to be my strong suit when it came to outside commitments, yet not for myself. It’s past time to value my needs as much — or more!

    “We think that a promise to ourselves doesn’t count as much as a promise to someone else.”

    That ends here.

  112. This is a great video. Now I have AC/DC’s song ‘Big Balls’ stuck in my head for some reason. Ah well…
    I suffered with this for a long time but the last few years have been much better. I’ve actually published two books and will have another one out in September. I didn’t want to try anything new unless I could do it perfectly, so as you can image, I didn’t do much. I had to let go of the idea that I need to be perfect to try new things and let go of my fear of being laughed at for being different or doing something most people I know don’t or won’t do.
    Thanks Marie!

  113. Marie, this is SO timely, given that just yesterday my husband helped me “see” the dozen or so projects I have waiting to be finished around our house, in the garden, on my desk, and in my work. I think a project FAST is in order. A friend had another great idea: She and her family make a list of projects they want to tackle and stick it on their fridge every summer. When another idea comes up, they have to cross off one they’ve already listed to make room for it. Wish me luck—and thank you!

  114. One of most favorite quotes is the following:

    “Do or do not. There is no try”
    – Yoda (Star Wars)

    I have it taped to a river stone which has now been sitting on my desk for almost 18 years.

    To me the word ‘try’ is an unconscious way out. Instead I say “I will” if I intend to do something or just “no” if I know I most likely won’t. It definitely takes the angst out when you make a statement and commit to it.

    Love your videos!

  115. Love that you said that follow-through is a habit and that the act of creation is HARD WORK. I think we think in general that creating is easy because that’s how it’s presented to us when someone creates something wild and crazy and it hits the media airwaves. It’s like J.K. Rowling’s success. If you weren’t paying attention, it seemed like she appeared out of nowhere, having not done any real work, and had success handed to her on a plate.

    Sooo not true. She worked for years and in extremely difficult conditions until she finished her book. She also sent out the manuscript to tons of agents. Doing all of that is very hard work. Keeping the faith that you are on the right path … also mighty challenging, especially if you don’t know how you are going to keep paying the bills.

    Also, glad you mentioned your eyes bleeding. It reminded me of this quote:

    “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

    Writing, building a business, doing a new exercise program, starting a new project. It’s all the same! So you just gotta work that noise.

    Thanks for all of your advice and for your generosity in sharing it with the world! 🙂

  116. Awesome website and ideas, Marie! And I guess you know you’re funny — in a good way! 😉
    To answer your ques., I’d have to say I am eternally grateful to a friend for turning me on to the super “nagging” services of the Pro Nagger, Rachel Z. Cornell (http://ProNagger.com). Like you, she is a gas to work with, full of pizzazz and truly applicable strategies. The most effective strategy I have learned from her for focus and follow-through is probably her The Power of Done program, which has helped me know WHAT to do and HOW to get things done. Or possibly,
    the free Accountability Chat on the ProNagger’s site, which keeps me firmly on my path. (http://pronagger.com/the-to-do-list-program/)
    In any case, I find that I am getting more done, in better time, and higher quality work than ever, Rachel has turned nagging into an art form.

    Thanks for all your helpful thoughts here, Marie. I’ll be back!

  117. As always Marie your messages are relevant and inspiring, just teeming with brilliance and delivered with effortless elegance. Thanks for your work. Love it girlfriend!

  118. Yes! This was great and so needed. In order to follow through I try to get realistic about how long it’ll take me to do something and block off time for that.

    Keeping promises to myself was a big part of this!

    As always, thanks Marie + team!

  119. I loved this. I try and tell lots of people when I’m starting a project. I think it works well because when I see them again and they ask about it I want to have progress to share.

  120. This is soooooo true. Thanks Marie for sharing this. I always make a list the night before I go to bed of the things I have to do the next day. I don’t do anything else until they are all checked off.
    Keep on following through
    Fawnie

  121. My problem is being scattered and doing too many projects at once. Thanks for this. I will now just do one at a time and follow through before taking on something else!

  122. Coco Lee

    As always Marie, this is great advice. Stepping away from the project buffet is so hard… but clearly I gotta narrow it down and work on my follow through! Quite honestly the buffet can be a little overwhelming and distracting. Focus is key.
    Thanks.

  123. Silvia Karounos

    OMG!. I should met you before Marie, you master everything, I am working in my future blog, working hard day by day, and I think your motivational advice will be wonderful.

  124. I’m not so hot at keeping promises to myself or to others. Just too many interesting things to do every day. So I found myself a professional nag (Rachel Cornell, pronagger.com) to nudge me to keep those promises and to clear away the things on my to-do list that I have no real intention of doing.

  125. Kay

    Preparation: prep prep prep: from the workout clothes on the back of the bathroom door for the morning workout (learned from The Pro Nagger/Daily Nag!) >>to files for #1 project laid out night before on empty desk or table and >> on further to list of phone numbers for those calls first thing next to a play phone in the middle of the empty desk or table. Yes, empty desk is key. Never follow through? My solution was PREP (Prepare Right = Evening Prep).

  126. My best tip to ensure follow-through? Have a short and doable handwritten to-do list next to you at all times. That way it you get distracted, the list is sitting there, starting you in the face.

  127. Hey Marie!

    The one method I’ve started doing when I feel myself flagging and wanting to stop is grabbing a timer and setting it for 10-30 mins (whatever I feel I can commit to at that time).

    I will then sit and work on the horrible, boring, life-sucking, stressful task until the timer goes off. When it goes off, I stop, and go do something else, guilt free.

    Often, the task will be finished or practically done in that time but even if it isn’t you’re past the initial mindset block associated with it.

    Thanks so much for these videos by the way – I really look forward to them each week!

    Heather

  128. GOALS & DEADLINES:
    As a former 12th grade English teacher, my students and I set manageable goals and then strict deadlines to meet those goals. It was the only way to stay on course and hold ourselves accountable for my students’ turning in drafts of essays and my returning their graded work.

    I now work alone (as a teen life coach), but I still set small weekly goals and strict deadlines. Every Sunday, I write down five goals I have for the week (i.e. run 3-4 miles at least 3 times a week, stay present during every session, finish blog 4). I then write down any major deadlines I need to make, such as my newsletter or blog (complete blog 4 by 9:00PM on Thursday). I even put an alarm on my phone to notify me when the deadline is due.

  129. hey there! The best book hands down to help you follow through is
    STEVEN PRESSFIELD’s THE WAR OF ART!!! This book helped me finish my book! It will help you finish whatever you want to! GET IT! IT ROCKS!!!

  130. OMG – this is so timely! I am in binge disaster at the moment… a stay-at-home mompreneur, who has just separated and moved into my own place which is requiring lots of tweaks and fix-ups, plus trying to start a new biz with several revenue streams… I have imploded several times during this transition, and I have much too much on my plate! I see a project diet ahead! This episode has also given me the courage to forge ahead. I love the tweetable and am taking a new vow to myself – honoring the promises I have made to myself. Why should I be less worthy for a kept promise? Thanks Maria!

  131. Hi there, Marie:
    I’ve been watching for several months-love it!

    Forming (beneficial) habits is a task, but its so worth the effort. Here’s something I use: Visualization. Every morning I work to take between 2 and 10 minutes to visualize what I want, the goals I have, or the way I want to see myself. If you start this process-consistently- you’ll be amazed at the way the images you visualize seemly walk right into your life!

  132. Right on, as usual Marie. When the sparkle fades, and it starts to feel like hard work is the point when I often want to just drop the ball and move on to the next shiny idea.
    But, as I’ve been getting in the habit of continuing to take action, even if it’s small and imperfect, I’ve been oh so pleased with the results.
    And the really awesome part is that finishing stuff brings it’s own glitter and has me feeling like Action Girl~ More powerful than any inner critic, faster than any distractions~ I’m getting stuff done and building momentum that keeps me moving onto my next idea.

  133. This was a good one Marie. Thank you. I find myself facing similar struggles, as so many things have been popping up lately. I LOVE your tweetable. It makes me think that because I am valuable, when I make a promise to myself, I need to keep it. I’m worth honesty. Thanks for sparking that thought for me.

  134. I love the tweetable this week. Keep your promises to yourself to be successful. So true about ignoring promises to yourself. A great reminder

  135. As soon as I feel myself slip into that default mode of “I don’t wanna,” I recognize it for what it is and remind myself that that mode has yielded results that I’m not interested in perpetuating any longer.

  136. For me the key is documentation. I document what I’ve done and what I need to do.

    After that it’s all about Nike’s slogan —-Just Do It

  137. Oshun

    Very informative tips and strategies for dealing with the act of creation. As a highly creative person myself, I often get excited at the start of starting something new, but have a hard time when the “going gets tough”. Indeed, completing projects one at a time helps with what I call “creation exhaustion” and allows you to enjoy the step by step process that goes into pouring forth your creative gifts:)

  138. Rea

    Although this is not exactly on the same topic, I thought I’d share this very helpful article, which is a manifesto to the necessity of saying ‘no’.

    https://medium.com/thoughts-on-creativity/bad7c34842a2

    Also, I feel that something as simple as scheduling my week in my electronic agenda helps me mete out my tasks into their essence, as opposed to doing everything all day (i.e. clean house, write course outline, walk dog, call mum….)

    Good luck fellow creatives!

  139. Wow! The video was excellent!

    I need to go on a project diet, too. My current projects are,

    Add my first video blog to my so-far-all-articles blog
    Update Programs Page on my website
    Network
    turn my last e-course into an auto-responder
    Create my signature talk
    study my marketing class
    launch the online self care hour
    teach visualizing and experiencing health masterclass
    plus keeping my blog going and my clients happy.

    Work on fixing up our fixer upper

    Now that I’ve written all these tasks down, I see how futile it would be to work on them in parallel. I’ll work on them in sequence. I promise.

    The biggest take-away from this video is to finish up small tasks. That’ll be my habit of the month.

    Thank you 🙂

  140. Carolina

    I had this HUGE project on PAUSE for more than three years .. I needed to lose weight.. something like 40 POUNDS!!
    And somehow I managed to stop trying or not doing anything at all.. except for eating more and feeling pretty bad about myself…
    Then I realized that my habit of feeling guilty and not attractive at all… was STRONGER than my desire to look fabulous and feeling healthy. So I decided to convince myself everyday a little bit more… that eating healthy and exercising would give me A BETTER FEELING than the other one.
    And then I relaxed.. I forgave myself and stopped the guilty thing… and one day I woke up and voilá… I decided to commit to it, no matter what: so now eating healthy is the only option, body shaking is the only option. Everything else is not on the menu…
    I´m feeling so great! And when it smells like chocolate fudge I just remember myself that THE FEELING THAT COMES LATER IS WHAT MATTERS!!

    Mary, thank you…!!
    To me… your eyes always sparkle!! 😉 😉

  141. Best advice I was given is this: If you have a project that is over a year old, ditch it. Take your most important project (max 3) and finish those. Do not take anything more on until all of your current projects are done. Then only take on the projects you know you’ll finish within a month.

  142. Great tips Marie as always.

    I find most entrepreneurs including myself are high “Quickstart” but low “Follow Through”.

    Was has helped me most is surrounding myself with team members (whether outsourcers or employees) that high high follow though.

    Not to say you shouldn’t try to improve your own follow through – you should. But sometimes you need just a little help. 🙂

    • Well said Ryan and totally agree!!!!!!! (exclamations for emphasis and enthusiasm — not due to caffeine 🙂

  143. Shirley Stephens

    I usually make a list of whatever the goal is I place them all over the house as reminders.

    On another note, I have a burning question, is it a good idea to inform consumers of a product by means of website, social media, branding etc., before officially launching the product?

  144. GREAT Q + A VIDEO! What helps me is to know what I have to get done. Name the amount of time it will take, add in 20 min and set a timer. It helps to get stuff done. AND one project at a time is not so easy + needed when the BALLS do get bigger. Thanks again Marie!

  145. I most definitely need to work on tackling one project at a time!

  146. Laura

    My mother used to say, “The road to hell is filled with good intentions.” When I was a kid, I rolled my eyes. Not anymore. Good points, Marie.

  147. Ha! Love it Marie…YESSUM! All of that… another take on the ‘hard work’ part is that it is actually the euphoria (sparkles in the eyes) in the doorway through to ‘another world’ and when you actually step through into it, it seems ‘normal’ and we think the energy and joy is gone, but it’s simply that we are now doing what we need to do and it seems ‘hard’ and ‘worky’ because we are hacking our way through the jungle of what kept us NOT able to be, do or have that!!
    The adventure of it all keeps me going, mixed with sheer ‘guts and determination’ hehe!
    Thank you for you!!

  148. How to follow through?

    Say NO to the shiny object and keep your eye prize. By staying focused on the goal, and the ONE project (thank you for the nudge Marie!) I find I get my projects done more efficiently.

    One step at a time, everything laid out in a calendar, and then laser sharp focus.

    Great video – as always.

  149. Now that is one heck of a tweet able – I love it and am taking it to heart. Thank you!

  150. Marie! Great strategies, love your spunk and FOCUS!!!! That’s what we need to follow through.

    We all have unique gifts to make a difference in this world. I recommend downloading Focus HERE app on iTunes. It prompts you to focus on something everyday and keeps notifying you throughout the day. If you put your mind on something and get to it, it increases the possibility of success.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tell-your-angel/id590762763?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

    It’s a GEM!!!
    So are you. Blessings!

  151. I learned from a very smart girl that if it’s not in your schedule it’s not in your plans. So, the best way to follow through is just finding a time, writing it down and stay commitment to do it, as simple as that. You can BS the entire world, but you can not BS yourself. So, no excuses! 😉
    To build habits such as drinking more water, meditating or exercising, there is a great tool at http://www.lift.do (courtesy of Tim Ferris) that takes accountability of your actions. It’s nice to receive an email saying you’ve been good two days in a row, keep going!

  152. Thanks Marie! This was a great reminder that it’s not all easy and fun. I have a project that I’m really excited about but still having trouble even taking the first steps! Just gotta keep plowin’ through and get it done!

  153. Great post, bad presupposition in your title language.

  154. Elle

    So simple! I do keep dropping my little balls (yikes). I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels AGONY when working through the creation of something. And I’m glad to hear it’s as simple as habit — I’m ready to build the strength of habit to help me carry those big balls alllllllll the way to the finish line.

  155. My strategy: “The 3-Task Mantra”. It can be applied as steps within a project, or to-do’s for that day.
    1-List the steps or to-do’s: 1-2 words for each item, the fewer syllables the better (no sentences, descriptions, curly-cues, or puke-on-paper).
    2-speak the first 3 on the list out loud: repeat them to yourself, keep them in your awareness like a mantra.
    3-Get goin’ on the first one (while remembering the other 2).
    4-When that first one is done – forget it! And get goin’ on the next one: while your mantra continues as 3 things. Yep – the 4th thing on your list now becomes the 3rd task in your mantra.
    Revolve your list until everything is done!
    Here’s a little rhyme to remember how great it feels:
    When all is said and done
    Remembered and released
    We have no cause for fussing
    The Heart is at Peace…..
    [from: “Suitable for Framing: Reminding Factors of the Heart”]

  156. Keli

    Hi Marie,
    As a female and therefore instinctive multi-tasker I have this bit of advice for finishing things.
    If you started off passionate about them, that passion will always be there and when it gets really hard, go for a walk and visualise your end result and ultimate outcome – make it happen!
    Lots of winter love,
    Keli (Australia)

  157. Jay

    Read/Listen to ‘Do The Work’ by Stephen Pressfield it has been responsible for changing everything for everyone I know who has ever not completed… Enjoy.

  158. Hey Marie

    LOVED this episode. Your episodes are always so perfectly timed 🙂
    The single most effective strategy I’ve used to stay focused and follow-through is by doing the most important thing next. I ask myself, what is going to lead me closer to my goal and then aim to work smarter, not harder. I schedule everything on my calendar…old school style, my trusty Los Angeles Date Book.

    Thanks bunches for the tips. Enormously helpful.

    Joanne

  159. Accountability! I have weekly Accountability group coaching call, that keeps me on track with important action items! When you have someone to answer to and hold you accountable to the things you said you were going to do.. boy, do ya get them things DONE!

    Also, reminding myself of my WHY helps me to finish up!

  160. I have learned the hard way that having more than one project on the go does not work. I am fully immersed on just one. My other strategy is to congratulate yourself on all the baby steps. It becomes more fun. Love Brigette

  161. SO so so recognizable.
    I recently deleted a lot of my to do / in progress websites as I knew that it wasn’t happening.

    What I can recommend is the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller which is all about focus and finishing things.. one project at a time.

  162. It is the beginning of July…six months from the New Year’s resolutions that happened January 1st. There is less than six months to go until that list reboots to a new one. What is the status for all those goals??
    What I do to follow through:
    1. Title the year with a theme/mantra: ex: LEAP. The goal in 2012 was to take action to LEAP into things that intimidated me that I really wanted to do (learn to shoot a gun, trapeze class, pole fitness, get married).
    2. I picked four things and scheduled one for each quarter.
    3. I went public with my goals to make sure I produced some sort of picture proof that this goal was accomplished. I then shared it on Facebook.

    2013 mantra word is about being “BOLD” in my professional pursuits. To take risks to stretch myself out of my comfort zone. I have identified goals of where I want to be mid-year. Now I’m focusing on the goals that I’ve put on the back burner for “later.” I share my pursuits with friends so they can ask me when we meet up, “how is your BOLD project going?” Recently, I was reminded the value of staying current with active relationship-building instead of passive FB “likes” or comments (Career Tools podcast). This quarter, I’m focused on making the rounds and offering help/support where people need it.

  163. This was my biggest Achilles heel during my college years. For some reason, I would start projects with HUGE passion and commitment only to have everything sizzle and fizzle mid-way through.

    A great motivator for follow-thru ( that i learned from economics) is the idea of the cost of NOT completing a task. For example, a few years back, I tried learning to snowboard for 2 days straight, suffering bruises and eating more snow than I could imagine. At the end of the 2nd day, I gave up and went back to skiing, ultimately abandoning my chances at snowboarding.

    So basically, I went through the most difficult part of learning to snowboard (the pain and punishment) without making it past the learning curve and achieving my goal. I had inflicted suffering upon myself…to achieve nothing!

    Now I look back and see these patterns in different ways and I catch myself before I quit. Marie is right–this schnit is not easy! But now I think about myself sailing down the slopes effortlessly and it makes the pain so worth it!

    • @Anna

      That is a great comparison.
      “Don’t cry and quit, try to get a reward from it.” Eric Thomas
      What is your why video:
      http://www.myrun.com.au/what-is-your-why

      Most of you probably seen this a lot of times but it is such a powerful video.. I should watch it more 🙂

  164. The best way for me to stay focused is to reward myself when I have finished a project. It is all easier said than done:)
    I love my “to do lists” as well. They really help to stay on track.

  165. Fantastic video Marie!

    A great reminder that awesome achievements are accomplished one completed task at a time.

    Cheers Rachel

  166. Your advice for follow-through is spot on Marie.

    I believe that habit is the key—starting with daily habits will prepare you for the bigger stuff.

    But that whole optional thing is a winner! If there is a way “out”, when most people get tired, overwhelmed or doubtful, they will look for it (the other options.)

    Follow-through is a habit that can’t be optional.

    Good stuff Marie!

  167. PIXIE

    This is GOLD.

    I am an intense project binge eater!

    I start my project diet today..!

  168. oliver rojas

    Hello,

    I am currently working on a reliable method to stay on track. My most recent effort resulted in this quote, “Stay mentally and physically fit”. To be repeated whenever I waver.

  169. Kim Rowe

    My following through technique involves scheduling my projects daily on a set amount time per project.The short term deadlines get answered. The long term deadlines benefit from consistent energy into them. Until they as well complete.
    Yah Mon.

  170. One of the things that I have found that’s really helped me with my follow through is… being true to when I am at my most productive. For example, I write best at night, so I stopped trying to write my blog posts in the morning. It just doesn’t work for me! So I started using that time for other projects (like cleaning my kitchen) and focused my writing time in the evening when I was most productive at that task. Now I get more done in my day all together, and I’m less stressed because my to-do list is shorter.

  171. Great Video, Thanks Marie 🙂
    I find it’s so funny that if we have a job working for somebody ELSE and there is a project with a deadline, or a task we must do that we dont like—we do it anyways. So I think to myself I Must employ that same work ethic to my own business. I need to believe my business is real and that Not following-through is Not an option! But when I need a lift, there’s a few things I do: go back to B School notes ;), go read some Steven Pressfield of Turning Pro or watch the great vid with Tony Robbins where he interviews John Reese and Frank Kern and they talk about follow through. You can google it, its a Great inspiring video :))

  172. Hi Marie, I love tip #2. I totally wouldn’t have thought of all the little balls I tend to drop, so will definitely be tending to my little world of chaos first. Thanks!

  173. #1 most critical changeI made this week: No internet/email/other such noise until I have cultivated an inner sacred space each morning, firmly grounding myself in my own intentions before engaging in other’s visions.

  174. A

    Thank you so much for doing this video! By far the best advice I’ve heard on following-through on your projects! I have to watch this everyday until it’s drilled in my mind.

  175. You are so sooooo right, Marie! I’m stepp’in away from the buffet as I write…. way too much on my plate and I’m feelng so overwhelmed I can’t think (plan) straight. You’re good!…. R.

  176. I am an EFT Practitioner, so any block or habit that I have (or my clients have) are quickly removed with EFT. We also find out the cause of the habit and why do it, and remove the cause as well so the habit disappears. Its a great tool that everyone has!

  177. Marie and all you wonderful peeps…

    Just another really cool gal here who loves this video! 🙂

    My ultimate follow through tool for me is accountability. As mentioned, the best is keeping promises to myself…..but hey, looks like I’m not the only breaking commitments to thy own self. SO, I find in certain projects its best to have a sort of “running buddy” where we help one another get through. I’ve applied this to different parts of my business and it really works. The key is to find the right match…some running buddies are better off just a buddy 😉

    thanks again everyone! 🙂

    • IQ

      Yes accountability partners are vital!! BTW… how do I get my picture up like that?

  178. Sallie

    Love your tips today. When it’s mportant I do following through. Understanding that I’m giving myself the option to not finish will remind me to take away the option, lol.

    The pink dress, great color on you!

  179. IQ

    I’m a registered nurse in the ICU, and a pretty damn outstanding one at that! Being a nurse, one of the key elements to patient care is to nail your assessments. I scope out every inch of my patient the way I would if there was a super hot guy walkin my way. I document exactly what I see, analyze my gatherings and make a conclusion as to what aspect of my nursing care will take priority (and no, bed baths are NEVER a priority).

    So what has worked for me in project completion is ASSESSMENT and PRIORITIZATION. I assess what my current situation is by listing the facts, the deets, etc. of what is going on internally as well as my external environment. From there I state my goal, the reasons WHY (definitely a must) I need to reach them and what barriers or obstacles can get in the way. Then I list my ACTION items and PRIORITIZE accordingly.

  180. Hey Marie,
    These tips were invaluable today!!
    I often have too many balls in the air!!
    Thanks for grounding my balls today!

    Pamela

  181. Staycee Bloom

    How I stay focused is dig in the dirt. It’s amazing when you plant the plan by feeling the earth clarity grows….

    • Ditto! I so agree. I’ve created solutions while tooling around in the garden.
      Whenever you plant the seed of a new idea, be prepared to dig up a little dirt!

  182. Dear Marie,

    I have found your website as a great energizing resource. I am an entrepreneur. Having worked in two UN agencies UNHCR and UNESCO I have now launched my own development firm. I have never needed the likes of your websites more than ever before and cant tell you how deeply it helps and bring my focus back.

    Regard,s
    Qaiser M. Siddiqui (Islamabad Pakistan)

  183. I am learning to take things off of my plate so I can live a healthier life. I homeschool my special needs son, and if I have too much going on, I am no good to him.

    I don’t use my administrative skills to its fullest. So, I am going to start utilizing Google calendar and excel to start following through on one project at a time, so that I can be 100% present for my son without being overwhelmed.

  184. Kat

    today I made the decision to remove the word WORK from my vocabulary… so i can say.. I’m going to play… feels so much more inspiring :p and fits because i feel like its play i love it so much! (just sometimes it also feels like work too) haha…

  185. Gulp – this was something I definitely needed to watch! Thanks for the tips, Marie 🙂

  186. Oh Marie, I love it! You always know how to hit the tender spots, and do it with humor. Gotta watch this a few more times in order to come up with an answer to, how do I keep promises to myself? Thanks as always, you inspiring wonder woman!

  187. Loulou

    Hi Marie
    I’m from the UK & I’m very new at posting! I enjoy your video’s that are very inspiring.
    This video has helped me to realise I am not always a failure & if I use my organisational skills more effectively with real determination …. I can make the difference I’m trying to achieve.
    Thank you
    Loulou x

  188. The single most effective strategy for ME for follow-through, is to go public with my project or intention. I’m prideful enough that I don’t want to have to explain that I quit when people ask me about how it’s going.
    I do the “bonus tip” too. I say no to shiny new projects, which motivates me to hurry up and finish my current project so I can be on the next exciting one.

  189. Love practice on small balls idea! Definitely reposting this one!

    My own best follow-through tip: when making the choice to work on the project or not, I don’t say, “Do I or don’t I work on my webcast?” I ask, “Do I want to increase my business’ exposure, income and impact – or not?” It changes the weight and focus of the decision to drive through the bloody battles.

    OH – and I make my bed every morning. It’s a small ball that sets me up for the rest of the day.

    Thanks for another great post! Happy Independence Day to my fellow Marie fans doing so many independently fabulous things.

  190. Thank you Marie! Great and fun video!! Here’s another important fact when it comes to breaking habits. Most people don’t realize that we are literally ADDICTED to the thinking/feeling loop behind a habit! Truly! We may be determind to STOP doing what doesn’t serve us, then find ourselves going right back to the same behaviors, beating ourselves up for not changing. This amazing fact really opened my eyes when I learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza who wrote the book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: Procrastination, “non-follow-through” along with other habits have a neuro-chemical component, in that everytime we think a thought and feel a feeling, a CHEMICAL is produced in our brain for that thought/feeling. Those chemicals travel through the bloodstream to our cells, just like nicotine. alcohol and drugs. So we create chemicals for joy and love and gratitude, but we also create different chemicals for frustration, guilt and fear, etc. The reason it’s so HARD to change is because we’ve become addicted to the chemicals that we regularly feed our cells every day. To change, we have to unlearn the old thought/feeling program…. and literally go through a bit of chemical withdraw as we think, feel and act in new waysl! How do we do that???For more steps to successful change, check out http://www.karinsokel.com or http://www.drjoedispenza.com

  191. My biggest tip is to give it a deadline!

    To often I put my own business projects aside because I was working on my client’s jobs. But I found if I gave my projects a deadline (just like my clients give me) I found a way to fit it in the schedule.

  192. My single most effective strategy? Self-impose my deadlines and get others involved to agree to those deadlines!

    This episode spoke directly to me. I love to start projects and LOVE to have many balls in the air… but not everything gets done until… DEADLINE!

    Now, I refuse to stay up late to get things done, so that one habit has SAVED me many times. But your “habit” suggestion is one I so needed to hear.

    Thank you!!

  193. Danielle

    “What’s the single most effective strategy you’ve used to stay focused and follow-through?”

    I set a freakin’ timer! And give myself chocolate afterwards if it’s a big project 🙂

  194. Great tips!! It’s about breaking big tasks down to small, one at a time task, until before you know it, you have accomplished the “Big task” at hand!!

    Thanks Marie 🙂

  195. Krystyna

    Marie, this is the BEST video you’ve made yet. (For me anyway) And now, I have to get to work. See you next Tuesday!

  196. I’m learning to limit the amount of time I spend mindlessly on the internet to one hour a day. The other time will be spent completing the task at hand. Thanks Marie for the advice.

  197. Annina

    The best follow-through supporting advice I ever heard was: “TIO” = touch it once!

    It was in your New Year’s news letters couple of years ago and it has helped make my life smooth ever since.
    Thanks
    Annina

  198. Perfect timing Marie!!
    For years I didn’t know what to call this problem. My creative mind is like another person. Sometimes it runs away and I am left in a blurry mess. I am a writer and actually finished my first book…AND self-published it last year! But instead of embracing my new career, I made it harder on myself by dabbling too much into too many things…and getting nothing else done. Now, what keeps me focused is remembering how hard it was halfway through writing the book and how I didn’t stop! I love how you say to just plow on through…it is absolutely true and necessary. I have recently taken my hands off of unfinished projects that do not fit with my overall career goal as a writer and am re-branding myself. I would much rather be super awesome at ONE thing than a mediocre mess in five 🙂
    Thanks for the tips and encouragement Marie, God bless xoxo

  199. Personally, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t suffer from some degree of this challenge.

    My work is helping small business owners get relief from this dilemma.

    Having that commitment to them drives me to stay on top of myself too!

  200. Bobby

    I adore your insight, humor, and overall fabulousness Marie! I cannot wait to meet you someday (maybe a run in on the streets of NYC). Awesome video, and thank you. I have realized, as I am sure many of us have who deal with this start & stop creative coaster, is that the oxygen for fear is not trying, and my day dreaming of what I could have done becomes the fear support machine directly plugged into my habit of unfinished work. I’m breaking a habit today, and completing something I started, and feeling great!! Be Well!!!

    B

  201. This subject actually gives me anxiety…sometimes I feel ADD!
    Focus and follow through is HARD for us multi-passionate folks!
    I had to go on a “shinny object” diet awhile back and now only have 1 project going. I tend to get frustrated because I want things to move quicker but I have learned to keep a running list of what needs to get done and even if I only get 1 or 2 checked in a day I am still moving forward.
    Keeping the long term vision in mind, having a routine and tuning out the noise (email, youtube) is critical to forward momentum.

  202. Thank you for the entertaining and insightful video – this was your best so far (must be the Italian influence)! As a woman who previously thought that multi-tasking was the way to be-all and do-all, I now focus on one important project at a time (like men do). It definitely produces better results and, surprisingly, a true feeling of accomplishment.
    Grazie Marie e buon lavoro,
    Deborah Dal Fovo
    Italian Chef

  203. Kim Fraser

    This video could not have come at a better time for me. I was just speaking with a family member about this. She made the observation that I am very good at juggling at ton of balls at a time but I never seem to be good at finishing any of the projects. I always have a million and one ideas about what I would loooove to do. And they are good ideas but truth be told I have the HARDEST time finishing anything. It makes me feel like I’m a failure. Anyone else feel that way?

  204. Hey Marie – my secret is:

    COFEEEEEE!

    Well yes, and no.

    I’m one of the types that can’t stand not finishing a project to it’s full potential. After publishing 8 books (what!), I’m well familiar with that ‘drag’ at the end.

    My real secret is separating the EMOTION from the WORK. So often we project our sadness, frustration, and agitation in life on our work. If I get caught in poopy thoughts, I know it’s time to go workout, walk, or do some dishes.

    Follow thru = trust. The more trust I build with my customers and audience, the more prosperity will flow. You gotta bleed a bit to reep the rewards 🙂

    Back to fulfilling my gratitude journal orders!

    🙂
    Mollycules

  205. Eleanor

    Marie, Loved this episode – as always incredibly timely! This one is a hard one for me because the “step away from the buffet” and admitting that I took on too much is just plain hard to do. Case in point, I have 1 thing I was supposed to do by July 4th and there’s no way that I would have been able to do it, but I piled it onto my plate.

    Now, replying to the question:
    Single most effective strategy used to stay focused and follow-through:
    – set the alarm clock, wake up early and start early BEFORE checking e-mails/FB. I actually use the Pomodoro method to focus so that I break it down. This has worked wonders for me because for 25 minutes I only do 1 thing!

    what’s worked:
    – google groups helps to keep motivation up or any sharing with a group interested in same thing;
    – making a to-do list of 3 things max/day;
    – organizing space 30mins/day.

    what hasn’t:
    – trying harder: taking on more tasks thinking the pressure will make me push through;

    Thank you for this fun episode of Marie TV – I loved the “Step away from the Buffet” voice!
    Have a wonderful 4th 🙂

  206. I struggle with this problem on a daily basis. I’m a software developer and for me playing with ideas is what I do to learn new technologies etc. However, I’d usually think up some “exciting” project in order to help me learn some new technology but after a while I loose interest and move onto other ideas.

    I know I’m capable of seeing ideas to completion because in my day-to-day job I excel at sticking with it and delivering solutions for my clients.

    I’ve had constant discussions with my girlfriend about this and she has advised me to stick with one project and see that to completion before I move onto anything else. I’m taking her advice and trying to remain focused, but it’s really hard. Sometimes I want to fall back to my old ways and jump around projects but when that happens I step back for a while and reinforce to myself the benefits of seeing my project to completion. It’s been a slow process but no matter how long it takes me I intend to develop this habit within myself.

    Thanks Marie for the tips. My girlfriend and I really enjoy your videos.

  207. Loooooooove u!!! Thanx for sharing ur Self!!!!
    will take these strategies for a ride!!!! i´ll let u know how it goes… but this his sooooooo my ONE project for my diet!!!! FOCUS!!!!! ONE THING AT A TIME!!!!!
    i don´t remember if i have ever lived like that… i wonder!!!!

    hahahahaha!!! i´m in for the challenge!!!

  208. I’ve been soul-searching on this one lately as I have a smokin’ idea for something that, intuitively, feels awesome for me. However, I’m scared to start it (all pumped and “sparkly eyed”) knowing how I have a tendency to dull out and stop WAY short of the follow-through. The thing is, I didn’t always have this tendency. I rocked it when I was in the world of academia…and I mean rocked it. And, I rocked it when I signed up for the Tough Mudder challenge with my team and mudder’d my way through 13kms of hardcore physical and mental awesome’ness. I also am rockin’ it at my new job with my fantastical new supervisor who keeps me on my toes. For me, I’ve come to realize that I’m a tad weak in the follow through when there’s no outside force around to hold me accountable. Maybe someday I’ll get the hang of holding myself accountable. But, until then, I’ll use outside forces to help me get in the habit of follow-through.

  209. Brenda

    In the past I have had periods of successful follow through by the “it’s not optional” outlook. Thanks for the reminder. It’s been easy to be too busy to do things I want to and if I think about my goals, why would I want to make something optional that is as important to me as even…making my bed in the morning, and I do that! Lol Thanks Marie!!

  210. I think “keep pushing through, even when things are a little unsparkly” is a great tweetable. I’m gonna tweet it!

    Plus, balls.

  211. Margaux

    I already commented, but upon reading all these comments two things come to mind. 1) That I am not alone, and burning out and losing interest in a project halfway through is probably considered normal. This in itself is a HUGE eye opener and is so helpful! I don’t feel like such a failure, and understand that all those feelings are just part of the process. The thing to do: hunker down and carry on.
    2) I too, used to do much better in follow-through. What has made it more difficult as of late? Little kids! I try to follow through with getting from point A to point B and actually doing the one task I set out to do. Then I get sideswiped by my little ones with “Mama! Watch me!” Or “fix this!” or “why? why? why?”… or “I have a bo-bo!”, and by the time that is finished, and I have been detoured by even that first detour with another five or six on top of it… needless to say it is a small miracle if I ever reach point B at all. And if I do, that I remember what I was supposed to do there.
    I believe that my brain has somehow lost the ability to follow-through, even when the kids are not with me. Time to retrain my brain! I think lots of post-its may help. 🙂 Maria, you are awesome!

    • @Margaux: definitely understand u!!!! “i feel u sis!!!!” haahahahahhaha!!!! if by the moment i reach point B i remember what i needed to do… or if it still applies… coz soooo many things have happened in between that possibly is no longer needed…

  212. Hi Marie – thanks for the great tips! I really needed to hear this right now. Working full time, it’s super important to pick one project at a time for my personal business. I’m a quintuple Sagittarius (Sun, Moon, Rising and some other planets) and it’s really hard for me to focus. But focusing can become a practice in the most spiritual sense.

    By the way, I am so glad that you didn’t have cool graphics of your eyes bleeding! 🙂

  213. Siobhan

    This made me think of a strategy I pulled on myself last year. It wasn’t necessarily a follow-through strategy as much as a just do it! strategy. But I found getting started was the hardest part, and I followed through. I live in Italy and I very courageously accepted when my boyf offered to buy me a vespa for my birthday. I imagined myself blazing a trail in leathers and thought I would be the coolest thing on two wheels. Until I got it. Then I froze and was far too terrified to use it. It sat wasting away in our garage for 1.5 years, whilst my boyf’s disappointment at me grew, along with my guilt for not using it. I had the best intentions every night going to bed, but when I would wake up each morning my courage had disappeared and I frustratedly took the car to work instead.. Eventually I decided that enough was enough and I put myself into a position which simply forced me to take the vespa…. I didn’t renew the insurance on my car…and so I had no choice but to take the vespa. I used to leave the house at a ridiculously early hour every morning so I would meet no traffic on the roads, but eventually I got the hang of it and my confidence grew – and once I stopped shaking, that feeling of victory every morning when I arrived unscathed at work was priceless. One year later and I’m hooked. I LOVE my vespa now. It’s my baby. I sing as I cruise through the streets on it each morning. I use my car only when it rains. It took drastic action, but it is a tactic I will use again on myself if needs be in the future.

  214. RD

    When I have to get something done (but there’s no outside deadline) and I’m dragging my feet about it, I choose a nice, manageable reward to have when I complete the task. Sometimes I just need that carrot to push on through. Whether it’s the last brownie in the fridge, calling a girlfriend, or buying plants for my garden, these little treats compound the terrific feeling of getting something important for myself done!

  215. Great Q&A Tuesday Marie – so timely as always.

    I have taken to treating myself as my own client when it comes to getting things done and following through. I find it helps me work just as hard whilst being a Mama-preneur as I used to when working for someone else in corporate hell.

    Thank you so much – you are a rockstar xo

  216. This is a great video!

    I think what it comes down to is FOCUS!

    Think of why you want to accomplish your goal and just focus.

    Thanks Marie!

  217. I struggle with the follow through frequently. I like the idea of a project diet. This video definitely spoke to me, and motivating me to finish the writing projects I’ve started.

  218. Ruby

    Awesome words, hitting home. All about the focus, staying in the moment and following through to honour the creative. Thank you Marie, much gratitude and love. Inspired.

  219. Norman

    Marie u are very good at your business. U project yourself very well and your style is out of this world. Have taken a fancy to u. Wish u were born 40 years early. I could have used your tips in my line of business which is in the Oil Field. I learned everything the hard way, but it has stuck with me. I picked up the good points from the best in the field , which has helped me plenty. If I may add. The best way to follow up on projects and even little day to day household stuff, is to jot the things that have to be done date wise. Then strike out whichever is completed. Never trust the mind, which can or may forget little issues, for which one can loose in time and money.
    However it is better late than never. I can polish my skills and also offer your mail to my Son and Daughter In-law who are running a business, but find it difficult on follow up/through. Guess when they see U in action they will pay heed.
    Thanks once again for your lovely topics. They are superb and good for the young and the old alike.

    Warm Regards

    Norman

  220. Loved this video. A great reminder that honestly, we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes for other successful creatives. We compare ourselves to their success, but we only get the outside view. We forget that there was probably a lot of grit, determination and plain old hard work behind getting that successful project off the ground.

  221. Great video! It reminds me of a concept called “Escape Velocity”

    The concept is simple (but my diagram may be confusing-
    Day 30 ———–
    /
    /
    Imagine this Day 16 /
    is a hill —-> /
    Day4 /
    /
    —–Day 1——–
    Day 1 – 3 are fun (exciting)
    Day 4-15 is hard (forming habits is hard work!)
    Day 16-20 starts to level out a little (habits are formed)
    Day 21 – 30 things are easier again: you may not realize it but you’ve formed a habit

    If you come to expect this in your projects and when you’re in the middle of the struggle and want to give up, remember that if you don’t give up, you’ll be someone different than you were 30 days ago 🙂

    Also, you can keep a log of how you’re feeling on each days so you know when to expect the difficult days during your next project.

    Keep up your great work – love your updates 🙂

  222. *the above diagram got destroyed by formatting 🙁

  223. Janet Marie Petty

    This SOoo spoke to me but giving the buffet diet analogy really helped see the importance of completeing one-at-a-time…and speaking of time, deadlines, even self assigned ones,like bills help get the urgency on.
    REwarding yourself helps too.

  224. Excellent Q&A this week Marie. Reminds me of something I heard from I believe Christine Kane: It’s like having children: creating ideas is fun and easy, but the actual birthing process is painful.

    As an artist, follow-thru of ideas is crucial, and for me it’s where I stumble. ‘Make a list’, ‘deadlines’ and ‘tell someone you trust’ are my go-to strategies to get things done.

    Thank you for all you do!!

  225. Awesome video, Marie!

    I had huge problems with perfectionism. It would literally paralyze me from following through on projects and getting things done because of the stinkin’ thinkin’ “if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t worth doing.”

    I’m honestly still working through my perfectionist tendencies. I made a video with my 3-year old son about perfectionism because I saw that he had started down the same path. That was scary. It really strengthened my resolve to let perfectionism go!

  226. Marie, that was great! LOVE it! I have found, as well, that if you take care of the little balls the big balls take care of themselves. AND, finish what you start! WHAT a time saver! More time for more projects! This was a really important Q and your answer was on the money!

  227. Peter

    Great presentation Marie! Thank you for sharing!

  228. Hi Marie!

    Once again, I am just so inspired by looking through your videos! You always seem to release topics that are so related to where I am at right now, like it’s divine intervention! I’m so thankful that I found your website and videos and they are making such a big difference in my life! Thank you! Time to start getting organized and project driven – One by One! xx

  229. Setting a schedule for myself but only one that I know I can handle. Staying disciplined and constantly telling myself that I can’t move on to the next task until I finish the first is key. So far so good.

  230. Ter

    Love the video and the quote even more!!!! Fabulosity at its best!!!!

  231. I too enjoy the Ted videos. Matt Cutts’ “Try something new for 30 days” could be the help you need to make something a habit and “follow through”.

  232. I am guilty as heck when it comes to not following through with what I say I’m going to do. So a much-needed video – thanks Marie!

    Karen, I’ve just check out the TED talks video you mention – awesome stuff =)

  233. Doug

    The same day I implemented a STOP-TIME for all tasks, is when my productivity tripled. For example, doing emails early in the morning, start at 7am, and STOP at 7:45 …no matter what.

    If you know you have to stop, you won’t be distracted by other things. Mostly because you have to START something else at 7:46… Dan Kennedy taught me this, it’s the single BEST time and productivity strategy for me anyway.

  234. Great video Marie! I best tip was in the advice you gave–big projects are finished by handling one small ball at a time. I am always…always…juggling multiple projects and responsibilities (e.g., work with clients, website work, writing, and then some!). For me, focusing on one at a time (instead of multitasking…the evil thing that slows me down), helps me see results sooner.

    Keep it comin’ Marie! XO

  235. Very good advice. I love your sense of humor. I agree – completing one task before starting another is SO important. My trick is to write down everything in my reminders app. EVERYTHING — if I say I’ll do something, then I WILL do it even if it’s just sending someone a recipe. Have a fabulous day!

  236. I didn’t see this last week and now I’m catching up and had already started implementing these same principals. Lists work for me but making it reasonable, having a week list but also a daily list and I LOVE crossing things off my list!
    I have also dedicated time frames when I am working on projects. I might want to stay in the studio all day working on the projects I love, but I make myself go to the office and do some of that stuff I don’t love so much but it has to get done.
    that way I don’t burn out. Ok, next video, love you Marie, great tips!

  237. Lucy Caney

    These strategies always work for me – sometimes all at once!:

    1) Visualise the end result, and focus on how it feels, to be complete.
    2) Use a picture of storyboard of images to tap into that visualisation – Pinterest is great for this. Add pictures to the wall or desktop, wherever it will be seen. Look at these pictures and focus on the feeling of the end result, each time you start to work on the project.
    3) Time block – nothing gains traction like dedicated timeslots!
    4) Speed sessions – if you are really procrastinating, or just need to give yourself a kick start, give yourself 15 minutes; complete as much of the task in those 15 mins as possible and walk away. You’ll likely find 15 mins isnt enough to finish something, and you’ll want to go back and do more. Make yourself walk away, so you find yourself left wanting to get stuck into the project – then time blocking an hour doesnt seem so bad, and suddenly your procrastination is out the window.
    5) Brisk exercise in the morning – gets you moving!
    6) Rewards – if I get to here in my task, then I can spend 10 mins surfing the net, or have that tea break.
    7) Know your rythms – everyone is different, work to your own rythm (rythms are over a day, a week, a month, a year).
    8) Daily, Work, Life lists
    9) Know that you don’t always need to be in the zone, or want, to do your thing. It’s totally acceptable to NOT want to do it, but you do it anyway. Successful people follow through, whether they feel like it or not.

  238. Dejana

    Marie you’re so super duper funny!!!!hahaha! Xoxo

  239. I’ll add “OHIO” to this. “Only handle it once.” No matter what the task.

  240. Your videos always make me smile and add massive value and insight into my life. Your words ring truth clear as a bell – and I am so appreciative of all you do!
    This was another great video, a lot to think about!
    🙂
    Ko-Shin
    Singer Songwriter
    dream

  241. Hi Marie,
    thanks for the good work you are doing on the TV, your message is worth on how to follow through and its encouraging ; however,
    its good to keep promises to others but sometimes they may be exploded or toxicated and in the process, one tends to give up which is not good, you gave two of the solutions of active creation, and starting with the little balls, I also think its better to get these by heart and apply them appropriately.
    How about secrecy, do you think it can give one a good foundation to follow through?
    thanks,
    Joseph Tomusange

  242. Okay, yep, completely resonate with this one! Love starting things, but could do better with follow-throughs. However, I find myself finishing things ahead of time when it’s something I enjoy or love doing, which makes sense. Sometimes, though, there are things we just need to finish up (even if we don’t enjoy it). Balance?

  243. Thank you so much for sharing Marie! You always say just the right things.

    I’ve struggled with follow-through in the past. From fashion shoots and events, to completing homework or showing up to dates I had set with friends, it has been a struggle. I owe my shift in a positive direction to my commitment to personal growth and the guidance of family and friends. Sometimes we have to do things that we don’t necessarily feel like doing, but the best things come with a lot of work and commitment. I started by simply making my bed every morning and once that became a habit I started adding on little things, one at a time. Eventually it became natural for me to follow-through. One of the things I always remind myself is that if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. So the second I say I’m going to do something, I enter it into my schedule and I’m forced to commit to that task. I still slip up once in a while but not on the BIG things. It’s important to remember we’re human and you may fall off the wagon for a moment but you can always get back on. Start small, just like you said, and don’t make it an option. When I wake up in the morning, whether I’m too tired or in a rush, I make my bed. Guess what!? It’s still one of the proudest feelings when I come home to a nicely-made bed (even if my clothes are scattered about). You’ve gotta start somewhere.

  244. I created a vision that aligns with my passions(hobbies/interests) in life. Its much easier to focus, and follow through on things one LOVES.

    When I begin to lose focus, I revisit my WHY in life, and because my why is aligned with my passions, it becomes much easier to ‘push on through to the other side…, push on through to the other side!’

  245. Thank you so much for this episode! It really hit the mark and made the think. I stay focused by tracking my progress. Take exercise, for example. I may think that I’ve been consistent, but my mind is tricky. I keep a log of each workout, digital and with pen and paper, so I can actually SEE what I’ve accomplished. Seeing solid data that I skipped my Thursday workouts 3 weeks in a row motivates action and change to get back on track.

  246. For me, I found that having an accountability partner works best.

    I tend to find a person that is totally from outside the scope of the project, because explaining to them WHY you couldn’t do it still makes no sense to them.
    “Do or Do not. There is no try!” like Yoda said…

    Cheers,
    Steve ✉ Master eMailSmith ✉ Lorenzo
    Chief Editor # eMail Tips Daily Newsletter

  247. For me, the project diet has been the most effective thing to do. I get the “eyes bigger than your stomach” routine when it comes to doing things then I start drowning in work and I flit about airy fairy from one project to the next.

    Another thing that helps the project diet is breaking down your project into smaller portions. Overwhelm paralysis comes a lot for me when I try to take on something huge and just get it all done at once rather than taking things one step at a time!

  248. Ha!~ I’ve now stepped away from the buffet.
    This was a great video and I realized that despite generally good follow-thru tendencies, my Pro-Habit was being impeded by multiple projects.
    Thank you for FUN + INSPIRATION.
    Love it!
    -Meredith

    P.S. my most effective technique so far for getting stuff done is putting it IN MY CALENDAR. 🙂 Thanks B-School !

  249. This is probably the first time that I didn’t say “right on sista” when I watched one of Marie’s video. Here’s why: it’s just not true. A lack of follow-through is not a habit. You are are just someone who is, let’s use the word, fluid. Nothing wrong with that, you are awesome. I know, because I fell into that trap of believing that part about myself. When I learned how I was instinctively designed, it rocked my world. So much so, I became an expert on hard-wired workstyles and natural talents. I am all about honoring who you are. So own it ya’ll!

    The habit is in creating strategies and using tools that can help you get things done, not to change you. Usually, people who struggle to get things done just have a wee bit of energy to focus on those things and that is all they are every going to have. The best defense, is finding a person who can keep you accountable in that area and as you grow have someone you can delegate things to. This is a life-long dealio. When you accept it, you can manage it. I use a fab gal at http://www.chasingshinysquirrels.com. She has really helped me get sh*t done. She helps me get into a routine of using tools and strategies to create a habit. She makes it fun and not “another thing to do”. It is a life changer and nothing feels better checking that damn “done” box.

    It’s breaks my heart when people try to change who they are on a core level. You are fluid! Enjoy the ride : )

    • Wow Lisa that was well stated and powerful.
      I understand the “squirrel” concept, but it’s not one I’m inclined to, so I really appreciate your insights. This perspective will help me assist clients who are distracted by the “shiny” to work more productively and efficiently toward creating their websites.

      Valuable insight, thank you!
      Jules

  250. Nony

    Great video…sort of. I have so little time that finding five minutes to sit and focus on a video is impossible, so I had to fast-forward through a lot of what you said. Making a video is great, but I like a good read. I have two young children under foot, and for some reason, I am excellent at reading and retaining information. Sitting down to watch anybody just doesn’t work for me (like watching a cooking video – I cannot stand this! but love working a recipe that I can read through). Any chance you put these points down for those of us who have time maybe right before bed? I love your ideas but am not a video person. I don’t know why, but watching doesn’t have the same impact as reading – sorry!

  251. One of the tips I use to follow through: Get other people involved! Once other people are involved in a project, its becomes real! If I am having trouble getting an idea off the ground, I email the people I need to work with, even if I am not ready! It really helps.

  252. I am a life-long expert on procrastination. Really. I could probably make a fortune selling procrastination how TO tips. Sigh… This may well be the single most valuable bit of advice I have EVER received. Thank you so very much! I saw you today (for the first time ever) at Experts Academy seminar. You were brilliant. As an etiquette expert, I thought I would have to make prim and proper videos. You’ve shown me that instead I should have fun and let my personality shine. You changed my world, Marie! Watching you today and then coming to your site and then to youtube to see this video… Well, all I can say is , your expertise is a game-changer. I cannot thank you enough! On my diet now: one project only. Wow!

  253. Barbara

    I’m pretty good at follow through but sometimes what’s left to do just seems overwhelming. I do a mental smack down and tell myself to get that first little part done, and then think about the next – once the proverbial ball is rolling, it seems to go better. And then this comes to mind…http://youtu.be/OORsz2d1H7s

  254. Justine

    I typed into Google “I want to write, but never seem to follow through” and it brought me to you.

    Here’s the thing, I am a definite believer of certain things happen for a reason. I have been struggling considerably for the past months…what do I want to do with my life?! Ah! Your off-beat but amusingly quirky video has helped me realize that I need to stop visiting the buffet, sit down and order from the menu in front of me. : )
    Thanks for your advice!

  255. Marie Lavender

    I’m a fervent list-maker and that helps keep me focused and on target. I make a list every morning when I get in my office of what I need to accomplish that day, putting the biggest things first, and I won’t allow myself to move on to the next task or project until I cross the previous one off my list. It’s always easier to tackle the most daunting things early in the day and get them out of the way. Works like a charm in my job as the manager of a busy medical practice. Love your site – so glad I found it. Oh, and nice name too!!! 😉

  256. Adi

    One habit that helps me most of the time :0 is to create a list of those “small balls”. I literally write 5-6 small manageable tasks on a piece of paper and cross each one off after completing it. When one list is done, I write up a new list of tasks, etc. I’m not always on task but each time I follow this process, I notice that I feel energized and motivated; I know I’m getting things accomplished one small step at a time!

    Marie, thank you for your inspiring work!

  257. Maureen

    This is great! I make a lot of lists but that doesn’t always work if I forget to LOOK at the list! So I started sitting down at night and writing 3 things I want to accomplish the next day and leave it on my desk for the morning. It actually works as I wake up with a direction that smacks me in the face as soon as I sit at my computer! Thanks for the great follow through insights. Posting it on my page today! Cheers.

  258. Blake Eames

    I am an artist and designer…my studio is on a heavily traveled road downtown. Many people pass by my space and having made a name for myself in this town, they tend to stop in and say, “Hi!”…or “I have a new project for you”…or “I have always wanted to see your space” , “I want to see inside the inner sanctum”. So, While I am trying to work I have constant interruptions, granted most are people I want to see and talk to anytime…a part of me celebrates the moment and I love the distraction from the crazy layout I am trying to finish or the troublesome logo I can’t get just right. But the work is not getting done. To balance this time bandit issue I have started hanging signs on my door and locking it. The signs read…” We are on a deadline and can’t talk right now…check back later” or “On location making the world more fabulous…call and set up an appointment” It has made a huge difference for me and the worker bees here. And I find that the visitors appreciate knowing that now isn’t a good time to pop in.
    Now if I can just stop reading all of these comments and get back to work…
    So thankful for this community!

    • What a great idea and it must be a relief for you to work without interruptions. It’s also a nice approach to invite people to visit at a more appropriate time while reminding them the value of your own time. Nicely played!

  259. I have known this for years…Why i procrastinate and put things off. It comes from when i was a teenager, my mother worked at night. So, my job was to feed my 3 younger siblings dinner, give them their baths and lay out their clothes for nursery and elementary school the next day. Then do the dishes and vacuum and tidy up. I had way too much responsibility and I would wait until the last minute to get everything done. It felt good to be defiant to my mother’s authority. I thought that was what I was doing resisting authority. Well I grew up and got some therapy and realized I was only hurting myself. But even with that knowledge I still procrastinate and put things off–until a couple of days ago I read an article on this and then I saw Marie TV and I think I’ve had a change in my perception. If I give myself permission to dabble(wonderful) and manage my intention, do my meditation daily, define completion and wear my blinders I can only win! Thank You So Much, Marie

  260. Great episode and so healthy to cut ourselves some slack in “dabbling!” I find that I’m far more focused on seeing things to completion if it’s something I want to do. Duh, but what I mean is, How often do we start projects just because someone ELSE wants us to do something THEY think we should be doing? Fortunately, for my sanity AND productivity, I’m doing that a lot less. But it’s so important not to take up where others have left off and start criticizing ourselves for pursuing what we love. Now …. I’m off to dabble!

  261. What’s the single most effective strategy you’ve used to stay focused and follow-through?

    Moving to Finland! Where you do what you say you’re gonna do! Seriously, in a country where your word is as good as a promise, I have thought twice before committing to something and then not following through on it.
    Sparkling eyes won’t aways be there during the creative process, so true! Such a good reality check. I really like this idea of going on a project diet. This really resonates with me. No more project bingeing for me…I am going to try to finish what’s on my plate first! Thanks Marie!

  262. This is my struggle:

    1. I’m an established online professional
    2. I can tick the success box (published book, millions of youtube views, lots of products selling etc…) BUT

    When everyone else would look and say: “You ARE successful and DO follow through,” but I know my own level of success falls way short of where I want to be/can be. I’m a definite ‘ideas person’ and have a thousand brilliant ideas a day (believe me, this isn’t always a blessing) and yes I follow through with many of the good ones and reach success, but my follow through is often only enough to get the box ticked box (millions of views, published books, online presence) but then its off to the next idea, as boredom sets in. The problem is, I stop at ‘expert’ and want to be ‘master’.

    Instead of running in a proven direction, I begin a new direction and this is driving me to distraction. HELP!

    Any thoughts greatly appreciated 🙂

    Paula

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Paula, you are SO speaking my language! I would describe myself in the same way: despite the fact that I am great at follow-through by other people’s standards, I’m often not measuring up to my own.

      I thought I might share some of my favorite MarieTV episodes that have helped me personally take my follow-through to the next level. Especially the first one here with guest Ned Hallowell was game-changing for me:

      http://www.marieforleo.com/2014/02/how-to-stay-focused/
      http://www.marieforleo.com/2014/08/follow-through-habits/
      http://www.marieforleo.com/2015/01/prioritize/

      It sounds like you’re doing a great job already, so it’s all about refining your follow-through habits and getting on the “no train” with things that aren’t serving you in the best way possible.

      We have many other great episodes about follow-through, prioritizing, and productivity, so feel free to explore some of our other MarieTV videos for more tips too!

  263. Ida

    Hi y’all,

    Great video, Marie! Really helpful! So helpful that it made me realize that my problem is not that i don’t follow through, but i follow through very fast and maybe superficial, just to get it over with. And now comes the question: am i superficial or just good at what i do that i don’t feel like working, because i’m used to more difficult tasks? no complains regarding my work so far, but my inner (“stressed”) fairy says i’m doing something wrong, that it’s not all of me out there dealing with the “follow through” process. Anyone feeling the same?

    Thanks!

  264. Marie, what a great video! And I even followed through and watched it till the end 😉
    I am also a serial “stuff dropper”, “not follow-through-er” and procrastinator. Having a little baby makes this even worse – I blame part of it on the baby brain, I simply forget to finish things… :-/
    What usually helps me is to put myself under pressure. I do that by setting a goal and pretending that my project HAS to be completed by a certain date. I am also using my Google calendar and loads of reminders to schedule all of the steps needed to complete the project. Those reminders usually bring my focus back to the important work that needs to be done first.
    Alright, gotta go now and finish this ebook I’ve been working on for the past 2 months, lol 🙂

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Good luck with your ebook, Andy! It sounds like you’re doing your best — be proud!

  265. Chloe

    @Marie: thanks for another juicy Q&A Tuesday episode! :o)
    This Q definitely hit home for me! Some of very practical strategies I apply that work for me at different moments below. Happy to share!

    1) Lose my phone.
    Not literally, but silent and out of sight really does help until I’ve finished x, y & z on my list!

    2) Get a cup of tea or coffee and sit to write that one email (or other thing). Until my drink is finished, I won’t do anything else.

    3) Make silly voices to FUN it up.
    I usually do this when I’m having serious resistance to writing an email or text or before making a phone call. I’ll read out what I’m typing or planning to say in goofy voices. Helps me to lighten up, loosen up and start before I can procrastinate or get distracted. It’s easier to fix a goofy email, then to stare at a blank space.

    4) I have to SEE my list. Constantly.
    > Write down the 100 to-dos to stop the mental whirlwind.
    > Check that my priorities are on there (awesome Q&A Tuesday tweetable: “Don’t prioritize your schedule. Schedule your Priorities!”).
    > Circle the top 5-10 that I must do first.
    > Depending on how awesome or doubtful I’m feeling I’ll start with the “big balls” or the “small balls” respectively. :o)

    5) Reward myself for little or big things DONE!
    From anything between a yummy coffee refill to taking a sport break or planning a shopping spree… the i’m-so-proud-of-me, feel-good moments have really helped me to build momentum in following through!

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      That’s a brilliant list, Chloe! Totally agree with you that feeling proud after getting things done helps majorly with momentum!

  266. Joana

    Hey Marie,
    I´m from Germany and I have watched so many videos of yours already strating my own social business now at 26. Thank you for everything you are doing. You are truely one of my biggest motivations on the internet.

    You are wonderful. Thank you for being you.

    Joana

  267. Thank you for that reminder and pep talk.
    Followthrough with one project at a time.
    Thank You.

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