Last week, we talked about being consistent, and I gave you a repeatable process to practice to become someone who follows through every time. Now you have the how-to, I’m offering you some tips to help you speed up your success in building the skillset of consistency, the common obstacles that you can expect while learning how to follow through, and how to overcome them.
This is going to require you to be honest with yourself and get super clear and constrained around what you’re committing to and following through on. This is important because once you know you’re going to follow through on everything, the need to be selective with your energy and focus grows, otherwise, burnout won’t be far behind.
Tune in this week as we continue our discussion around following through and being consistent. I’m showing you how to define consistency for yourself, how to be discerning and decide what you want to commit to, and how to define what this process is going to look like for you specifically.
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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- The importance of constraint when it comes to your commitments.
- Why you should never commit to anything you don’t actually want to do.
- How to decide specifically what you’re aiming for and what consistency looks like for you, so you can measure your success.
- The common thought errors I come across when helping clients with their consistency.
- Why becoming consistent isn’t about being perfect.
- How to speed up your ability to become consistent and keep things manageable when building the skill of following through.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
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- If you want more information about the Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, visit my LinkedIn, my Instagram, or email me!
- Get on my email list!
- Ep #15: Following Through and Being Consistent (Part 1)
Full Episode Transcript:
You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 16. This week we’re picking up where we left off talking about Following Through and Being Consistent Part 2. You ready? Let’s go.
Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.
Hey, my friends. How are we doing today? I hope you are awesome. I am awesome, right now. I’m getting so excited. The live event for the mastermind, The Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, is right around the corner.
I’m just in the process, over here, getting the last-minute plans in place. I’ve ordered the swag and waiting for it to arrive; I can’t wait to see it. I’ve got the menus picked out for the two incredible dinners I’m hosting. I’m putting all of the finishing touches on the live event. And I can’t wait to see it all come together.
I can’t wait to meet everyone that’s coming, in person. I have a couple former clients that are in this round of the mastermind. And then a lot of the people who are in this round, are also new clients of mine. So, I’m so excited to meet all of them. Whether they’re returning to work with me in a group setting, or if it’s the first time I get to work with these masterminders, I can’t wait.
We are going to get to work. There’s two full days of training. We’re going to cover all the things; really get them to the place where they’re able to reverse engineer their own goals, see the roadmap forward to create the results, and identify some of the obstacles that have been holding them back and getting in their way, and implement strategies to overcome them. So, I can’t wait.
I hope you have something going on in your life that you’re equally excited about, and that you’re equally looking forward to, like I am with this. If you do have something like that, I just want to offer you this; just relish that feeling, just for a second. Isn’t anticipation awesome?
I used to work in a cigar bar, years ago, as a bartender. One of the owners of that cigar bar, he used to say that anticipation is half the fun. And, if I’m being honest, he was talking about something a little bit more risqué. But I think that concept applies to so many different aspects of our lives.
Anticipation is half the fun. So, when you experience it, savor it, savor that anticipation. Sometimes we can be so excited to get to our destination that we rush past the other fun parts, like that anticipation. So, don’t rush past it. Really notice it, relish it, enjoy it, take it all in if there’s something that’s coming up for you that you’re excited about, that you’re really looking forward to.
Alright, speaking of things that we’re looking forward to, I know you’re excited to hear about part two of following through and being consistent. So, let’s get down to business. In the last episode I talked about following through and being consistent, and I laid out a repeatable process that you can follow to practice following through.
If you struggle with following through, if you’re not someone who thinks that they’re good at it, and you tend to stumble or struggle, but you want to become someone who consistently does follow through, you want to go back. Make sure you listen to part one of this two-part episode so you can start to implement those strategies that I talked about.
Just to highlight them again, briefly here. Here’s what I told you to do: First, you’re going to want to commit to building the skill set, not only for what following through provides you result-wise, but also for the sake of simply being someone who follows through. You have to commit to being someone who’s committed to following through.
Next, I talked about cultivating the follow-through mindset that you want to have. Instead of telling yourself that you’re bad at it, you want to find better thoughts to practice when it comes to following through: You can think that you’re working at it, you’re learning how to follow through, sometimes you follow-through. Finding a different thought, even if it’s just slightly better than what you’re telling yourself right now about your ability to follow through, it’s really going to make a big difference in how you approach practicing following through.
Then, I told you to pick one task to complete or one habit to build. You want to make it small and simple. If you have to, set a minimum baseline, and have it be repeatable, so you can get those reps in and build the muscle of following through over and over and over again. The more often you get to do it, The more at bats you have, the faster you will build this skill of being someone who follows through.
Then, I talked to you about gamifying this process a bit, by creating a new reward system. I use marbles in a jar, but you can use glass beads, anything that allows you to get that visual. Instead of having a reward system from not doing the task that you committed to, you start to replace it with a new reward system. Every time you complete the task, that you promised yourself you would do, you add an object to the jar. It switches the dopamine that gets released from avoiding it, to following through with it.
Then, it just comes down to taking action. So that’s the next step. You’re going to do the thing that you said you were going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, regardless of the discomfort. And then, each week, I want you to evaluate your progress. You’re going to act, then you’re going to audit, and then you’re going to adapt. Go through and figure out what didn’t work; what you’re going to do differently through that evaluation process.
Alright, so that’s the 50,000-foot view of the follow-through process that I walked you through last week.
Now today, I want to talk about a few more important aspects that are relevant to following through. Specifically, I want to offer you some tips that will help you speed up the success you have with building this skill set. And, I also want to discuss some common obstacles that come up for people when they’re learning how to follow through, and how you can overcome them.
My first tip is to practice constraint. Be really honest with yourself about the lift that the commitment that you’re making requires. I know I mentioned this, when I told you to pick one task or habit at a time and focus on that one thing when it comes to following through. But in addition to practicing following through, I want you to just practice constraint generally here, with what you commit to.
I’m super honest with how heavy of a lift each commitment I make is likely to be. So, I don’t take on a ton of stuff. I’m very selective about the commitments I make; I practice constraint. And it’s because I know I’m going to follow through. And I know what following through requires of me; I know what it takes to do that. I don’t ever underestimate the investment of time, energy, mental focus, any of it. I accurately understand what is going to be required; how heavy of a lift it’s going to be with all of those resources. So, I’m very selective with what I choose to commit to.
I want you to do the same thing. Practice constraint; more isn’t better, here. More is just more. You want to be selective. Pick the things that will really make an impact. And start small, don’t try, and do all of the things.
Another tip, if you’re picking a repeatable task to practice the skill set of following through, and it’s something that you want to be consistent with, I want you to define what you mean by consistent. That definition is going to be different for everyone. You need to know what you’re aiming for specifically, so you can measure your success.
Also, when you define consistent, it helps you reduce the amount of negotiating that you do with yourself. So, think about this, if you’re like, “I want to exercise consistently,” what does that mean to you? We want to come up with a definition of the frequency, the parameters, how often, for how long. How do you define consistency in this context?
For me, this also comes up a ton with posting on social media. I defined showing up consistently, on social media, as about four times a week on average, for me. Now, I don’t pick the specific days that I’m going to post. I have some trends that I tend to stick to, just because I know what works for my audience and how the algorithms respond to me. But outside of that, I’m not perfect. So, if I say four times a week, and I miss some of the days that I normally post, I just know the back half of my week is going to be a little bit more content heavy than it might normally be.
You can do the same thing with exercising. Or, you can say, “I’m going to define consistent as every day, or once a week.” You get to define consistency; what it means for you. But I want you to define it. So, you’re not negotiating with yourself, so you know what you are committing to, and what you need to follow through with, as you’re practicing the art of following through.
Okay, another tip here is don’t pick something to commit to that you don’t actually want to do. I know that seems really intuitive, and probably obvious, but I watch people pick commitments that go outside of their preference all the time. So, think of it this way. Think about waking up early.
I used to do this too, back when I practiced law, especially when I worked in big law, I would tell myself, “I’m going to wake up at 5am. Successful people always say they’re waking up at 5am.” And thank goodness, I fell into a crowd and a community of people that really broke that limiting belief for me. And now, I know you don’t have to wake up at 5am in order to be very successful.
That was something that I would “commit” to because I never followed through with it. I said that I wanted to do it, and that I would do it, and then I never stuck to that plan. It’s because I don’t want to wake up at 5am. It’s really that simple. It’s not my preference to wake up that early.
I used to either wake up at midnight, and then I’d work from midnight until 7am, and then get ready for work, which I do not recommend. That’s when I was really caught up in hustle culture and had some really unhealthy habits around overworking. Or, I’d wake up at 7:38 am. Five a.m. was just a no-go for me; it is truly not my preference.
Even when I started building this business, I would tell myself, “Let’s wake up at 6am. Let’s get the day started. Let’s get a head start on what you want to do, what you want to accomplish. That’s what it’s gonna take to be successful.” And then, I would set my alarm, and every single day, I would hit snooze. I wasn’t following through on the commitment that I had said that I was making, about what time I was going to wake up. It’s because I don’t want to wake up at 6am, either.
So, instead of continuing to force myself to work to wake up, at a time that I don’t want to, and then miss the mark and beat myself up about it, I just decided to commit to something that is actually aligned with my preferences. Now, I wake up at the time I actually want to wake up, which for me is about eight o’clock; between 8am and 8:30am. I like that. Every once in a while, I wake up a little earlier, but that’s pretty much my average. It’s my preference, I plan my day around it; it works for me.
Other things that I see people commit to, that they don’t really want to follow through with and then they really struggle to follow through: Dieting, exercising, drinking water, things like that. Or, people will pick things that they think they should commit to, but they don’t actually care about. Like, staying on top of laundry or having a clean sink.
Whether you don’t actually want to do it, or you don’t care about doing it, don’t pick those things to practice the art of following through with. I also want to highlight here; you want to be on to yourself. There’s a big difference between wanting to do something and wanting to want to do something.
So, you might want to want to exercise every day, or you might want to want to lose weight, but you don’t actually want to. Because wanting to lose weight, actually losing weight, would look like eating at a calorie deficit, or maybe cutting out some of the foods that aren’t supporting your weight loss.
Maybe you want to want to work out every day. But truly wanting to work out every day, would look like working out every day. So, catch the distinction there. Do you want to do the thing that you’re committing to? Or, do you want to want to do it? Either because you think you should, or it would be nice in a perfect world, whatever the case may be.
Also, “should” as your reason, isn’t a good enough reason for committing to something. It’s never coming from a positive place. “Should” is really unmotivating; normally makes us feel badly about ourselves, very discouraged, frustrated, disappointed with ourselves, or guilty. So, “should-ing” on yourself is not going to get you to follow through. Find a better reason for making whatever commitment that you make. Don’t let “should” be the only reason that you pick something for commitment.
Now, I want to talk about how your perfectionism tends to make an appearance and prevent you from following through. You may know you’re a perfectionist, so some of the things I’m about to explain might seem obvious to you. But many of my clients, sometimes, don’t realize these habits are subtle ways that their perfectionism is showing up in their lives and sabotaging their success when it comes to following through.
So, let’s talk about it. How is your perfectionism preventing you from following through? One of the ways this comes up is, you want to start with the biggest, most meaningful commitment first. I see this all the time; people will want to pick the biggest task or challenge that they encounter throughout their workday. And when you start with something really big, it’s going to be a heavy lift. So, it’s going to require more discipline, more commitment, more discomfort allowance.
You’re going to have to gag-and-go through all the discomfort that’s going to come up for you. And it’s going to probably require more of your time, more of your focus, all of it. And because it’s going to require more of all of those assets I just mentioned, it’s going to be harder for you to follow through. So, that’s a no. You don’t want to start with the biggest, most meaningful thing first. It’s simply just going to be too heavy of a lift, if you haven’t built the skill set of following through.
Think about lifting weights at the gym; if you never work out, you can’t start by lifting 300 pounds. It’s not going to work. You won’t follow through with it. It’s going to be too heavy. And then, what you’re going to do, is tell yourself that you’re bad at lifting weights, when you aren’t. And, you wouldn’t be if you started small, built muscle, and eventually worked your way up to the heavier weights.
The same thing is true with practicing the art of following through; you don’t want to start with the biggest thing, first. You want to start small, with the lighter weights, with the lighter lifts, the smaller commitments that require less of you. And then, build that muscle, get those reps in, practice. You’ll work your way up to the heavier lifts, being able to tackle those bigger projects, those bigger tasks.
I get that you want to make the most progress, that’s why you want to start with the biggest thing, first. But it’s a thought error to think that the way that you make the most progress, is by starting with the biggest thing first. It’s not; that will actually slow you down because you’re not going to get anywhere, fast. You’re probably going to get discouraged. And then you’re going to quit. So, small, and steady wins the race here. Remember that.
Another way I see perfectionism pop up, when it comes to practicing following through, is people will start over from zero. If they start taking action, practicing following through, getting that repeatable task in every day, those reps, and you miss a day. People will want to have a perfectly clean record, so they say that it doesn’t count, the progress that they’ve made thus far, and they start over from zero. That’s a no, ma’am. I want you to not do that. Resist the temptation to restart the clock.
What happens when you start off from zero, even though you think that that serving you, it’s not. Because, cue the discouragement… When you are counting those marbles in a jar, or keeping track of your progress, and then you decide, just because you slipped once or twice, or let’s be honest, even a couple more times than that, you think that you need to start over from zero and go at it from a fresh clean slate, you’re really not going to be motivated. You’re going to be discouraged to keep going. So, you want to resist the urge to start from scratch, it doesn’t serve you.
I also see people, rather than starting over from zero, they’ll just quit altogether because of an imperfect track record. That’s definitely your perfectionism making an appearance here. And you want to resist the temptation to throw in the towel, to quit, just because you’ve taken imperfect action.
This happened to me recently. Every Friday I send an email to my email list. It’s content that I don’t share anywhere else, on any social media platform. So, if you’re not on that list, you want to make sure that you’re on it. If you go to the link of my bio on Instagram, you can get on that list. But anyways, I send out this email every Friday at 6pm Eastern. And it’s just a little dose of inspiration straight to your inbox. It’s just a thought that comes to me throughout the week. And then, I send it out, kind of like a little love note to guys.
I decided a long time ago, almost a year ago I guess, that I was going to do this consistently. Now, I defined consistently, which means every week and then, I decided at what time I was going to do it, by 6pm on Fridays. When I first made the decision to make this commitment, it was a little clunky in the beginning. I wasn’t used to following through with this new task yet. So, I did it imperfectly, and then I evaluated; I figured out what was working, what wasn’t working.
I started to get in the swing of things and really hit my stride when it came to drafting and sending out these emails each week. Throughout the past year there have been, I don’t know, less than five times where I’ve missed the mark. I just haven’t sent the email out like I planned to. Typically, what I find, is that it’s when I’m traveling either for work or for pleasure. But this hasn’t happened at all recently.
I’ve been really good about it, I’ve been really consistent, I’ve been following through. Until May, when I had two back-to-back Fridays where I was traveling; I spoke in Connecticut at a CLE, and then I went up north for Memorial Day weekend with friends. Both Fridays, it didn’t dawn on me until about 4:30pm, that I hadn’t written an email yet.
I was already engrossed in my schedule for the day, and I didn’t want to take the fifteen to thirty minutes, that it would have taken me, to stop what I was doing, go draft the email, set it up in MailChimp, and make sure it scheduled to send out at 6pm. So, I made the executive decision in that moment, that I was going to purposely miss sending out an email on Friday at 6pm.
Now, I liked my reason for making that decision at the time. But that being said, this is a commitment I made to myself, so I evaluated; “Why am I missing two weeks, back-to-back? What’s going on?” Again, it’s because I wasn’t putting it on my calendar. I wasn’t planning for it, and how that would work with traveling. I just have to plan better next time.
So, I’ll either make sure the email is written and scheduled, before I leave. Or, I’m going to make sure that I have a calendar reminder and event created so I know to see it earlier on my Friday, which is normally when I write the emails. That way, I’m not getting into my schedule already out the door; attending events, and whatnot, where I’m not willing to pump the brakes, take time out of what I’m already doing, to go write that email late in the afternoon or early evening, before 6pm.
So, I did the evaluation, and I’m going to implement it going forward. I didn’t say, “You know what? I missed two weeks. I must suck at writing Friday emails, I should quit. I’ll never be good at this.” I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I allowed myself to be imperfect. Sometimes A-/ B+ work looks like being a little inconsistent.
You can solve for it and implement your strategies to prevent things from happening again. I didn’t make that a good enough reason to not keep showing up. And sure enough, I’ve been sending out emails on Fridays since I got back from those two trips. So, I’m back on the consistency bandwagon. And I didn’t give myself that opportunity to quit just because I didn’t do it perfectly.
When you commit to whatever the task or habit is that you’re going to practice following through with, I want you to make a decision ahead of time, and plan for what you’re going to do when you happen to take imperfect action. Instead of quitting, instead of starting from zero, what are you going to do?
This came up recently in a client session, we were talking about following through with entering billable time every day. My client had been traveling for work, and she had been on a pretty good run of consistently entering time before she went on the work trip. But when she came back, she had time from while she was out of the office traveling, that she hadn’t entered.
So, come Monday morning, back in the office or work from home office, but you get what I’m saying, she started to have mind drama about not having been perfect the previous week. She still had time from the last week that needed to be entered, and she started to spin out about it.
In her mind, the perfectionism wanted her to enter all of last week’s time before she could enter any of Monday’s time, for that new week that she was just starting out with. If she skipped the previous week’s time, it felt imperfect, it felt messy. She wanted it to all be in, sequentially.
Again, that’s perfectionism popping up, big time. You want to make a plan for what you do when you miss a day or two of entering that time consistently, at the end of every day. So, you can tell yourself, “I’m going to always take the time and put in last week’s time, first. Because, I’m going to have so much mind drama about skipping it and just starting with today, that I’m going to get in my own way.”
What she would tend to do, is not enter last week’s time, and then also not enter Monday’s time, because of her perfectionism. So, if that’s you, either make the executive decision to enter last week’s time and keep the system going, or decide ahead of time, you’ll get to last week’s time when you get to it.
You’re going to start where you are, at that moment in time, and work forward. That’s probably what I would suggest, even though it might be a little bit more uncomfortable if your perfectionism is really coming in strong. I think it is the lightest lift, as far as taking imperfect action and just moving forward, rather than having to devote time, mental energy, resources to focus on last week, instead.
Perfectionism also shows up when people don’t get started, so they don’t have to be inconsistent. They’ll make the plan, but then they never actually implement the plan. They’ll “decide” to commit to following through, but then they never do anything to honor that commitment.
So long as they don’t get started, they can’t be inconsistent. They can’t do a bad job. They can’t be imperfect. They can’t be fallible. You want to resist the urge to avoid getting started. Gag-and-go through the discomfort of doing A-/ B+ or even less than that, kind of work.
People will also refuse to evaluate because they don’t want to see their imperfections or their inconsistency. That’s also a big, no. Evaluating is so important here. You want to make sure you’re going through what worked, what didn’t work, and what you’ll do differently in order to keep tweaking, keep learning, keep growing and keep improving. Don’t let your perfectionism prevent you from making progress faster through evaluations.
People will also not keep track of their progress, because they don’t want to see the imperfect action that they’re taking. You want to keep track of your progress, especially if you have that reward system that’s really associated with avoiding following through, rather than with following through. Keep track of your progress. You want that visual, so you get the dopamine hit from following through, rather than your avoidant behavior.
People will also not set a minimum baseline goal, because they think it’s not impactful enough. This is kind of like the one I mentioned earlier, where you want to start with the biggest thing. I will suggest to people that they pick a minimum baseline because you want to practice the skill of following through and establishing trust with yourself.
Not because you want to get the results that comes from completing the minimum baseline task. You’re not going to lose 50 pounds from walking five minutes a day; I get that. The point isn’t to lose weight, the point is to commit to following through with daily physical activity, no matter how big or small.
The smaller your minimum baseline goal is, the easier it’s going to be to follow through, the less resistance you’re going to have to doing that task, when it comes time to do it.
Perfectionism will also appear when people commit to doing too much, all at the same time. I see this very frequently with clients. When I tell them to pick just one thing to practice following through, and building that skill set, they want to argue with me. They want to say, “Yeah, but can I have like, three or four? But they’re really small, can I just have half a dozen? I promise I’ll stick to them,” and then they don’t, because it’s too much, all at the same time. Pick one, get it dialed in, and then you can add another one.
Perfectionism also pops up when you use the word “failure,” or that you failed, or that you’re failing. It’s my least favorite F word, of all time. So, be on to yourself. Do you have a pretty strong attachment to that word? And do you weaponize it against yourself? If you do, that’s your perfectionism making an appearance.
I just want to offer you this, I will do a whole episode on this because it’s one of my favorite topics to talk about, but you can only fail at something if you quit. If you take quitting off the table, and you decide to stick with the commitment, and building the skill of following through, no matter what.
No matter how imperfect you have to do it, or for how long you need to do it. No matter how messy it is. No matter how long it takes. If you commit to following through, and learning how to be someone who is committed to the commitments that they make, you cannot fail.
Failure requires an end point from which you measure. So, if you take quitting off the table, and you decide to stick with this, no matter what, you will eliminate the possibility of failing. Instead, you’re always simply just winning or learning. If the F word pops up, you want to eliminate it from your vocabulary.
I mentioned earlier that quitting is normally your perfectionism popping up. You quit because you’re unwilling to feel the discomfort that is associated with continuing to take action, while you’re feeling badly about your progress. You have to feel discouraged and continue to take action. You have to feel frustrated, or disappointed, or defeated, or confused, and continue to take action; that’s quite uncomfortable. It’s more comfortable to quit and jump to something else.
I used to do this a lot, when I was younger, especially with different business ideas that I had. I would jump because I wouldn’t want to sit in the discomfort when I didn’t get the immediate results that I wanted, that instant gratification when my expectations went on met.
So, understand your reasons for quitting. You never want to quit to avoid, or as a reaction to a negative emotion. If you’re going to quit something, you want to like your reasons for doing it. So, you always want to check in that you’re not quitting as an avoidant tactic. You’re quitting from a clean space.
That’s not to say that you can’t quit things ever, you can you just want to make sure that you know and like your reasons for doing so. Maybe it doesn’t serve you anymore. Maybe your interests aren’t aligned with a specific commitment anymore.
Let’s say you make a commitment to be someone who runs, and you run consistently every day. And then you sustain an injury, or the wear and tear on your body starts to make it really uncomfortable. You might like your reasons for changing the habit, or for quitting and doing something else instead.
That’s a lot different than quitting, because you tried to be consistent every day, and go for a mile long run, and you just couldn’t bring yourself to stick to that program. So, you quit because you’re frustrated, and discouraged, and disappointed with yourself. One is the clean quitting decision; the other is not.
I also see perfectionism pop up, when people change the commitment too fast, rather than sticking with it and practicing, and working on building that skill set of following through, they decide that they picked the wrong goal. Then, they switch it. They do that in order to avoid seeing their inconsistencies, seeing their imperfections, feeling like they’re missing the mark, not doing that perfect job.
If you keep changing the goal then you, basically, keep restarting the clock but in a little bit of a different way than what I explained earlier. You keep changing the goal, switching to something else, before you’ve really given yourself the time and the opportunity to build the skill set, of building that habit, and following through with that commitment. So, don’t do that.
I think you should pick a specific amount of time that you’re willing to commit to something, and then evaluate at the end of it. I love 90 days here; I think you can do six months. Pick a significant amount of time and obviously significance of judgment, it’s arbitrary, that’s going to be different for everyone. But pick a significant amount of time where you commit to not changing it.
I do this in business coaching, when I teach people to pick the same goal or pick the same offer to market and learn how to sell, rather than constantly changing what they sell and then never being good at selling any of it, or marketing any of it.
Same thing goes with building skill sets, and following through, and establishing habits. You want to pick one thing and stick with it, for a predetermined amount of time, so you’re not habit hopping or goal swapping. That’s not going to serve you, you want to stick with one thing.
And just quickly, I want to go over a couple more obstacles that people encounter, when it comes to following through and being consistent. A big one, and I did a poll on social media about this too, to see what people in my audience encountered as obstacles, when it comes to following through on their commitments.
A consistent one, that came up in the answers, was that they have a hard time following through when they’re tired, or they don’t feel like it. With love, I want to offer you; do it tired. So, what if you’re tired?
I want to make sure I underscore, I’m not asking you to sacrifice your health, for the sake of following through on a commitment. I’m not advocating for hustle culture here. But what I do teach my clients to do, is rate how exhausted you are on a scale of one to ten tired, okay? One being you have as much energy as the Energizer Bunny, and ten being you couldn’t bring yourself to possibly get up off the couch and function, no matter what.
Then ask yourself, so you have that scale; rate your level of tired. And then, decide ahead of time, if you’re below a certain number you’ll just go do the thing that you don’t feel like doing. You’ll complete the task anyways.
I like to think about this when I’m going through and rating on a scale; am I Oprah tired, or Tony Robbins tired? And what I mean by that is, if someone that you really look up to, that you really idolize, called you on the phone… For me, it would be Oprah, or Tony Robbins would be a big one. And they said, “Hey, Olivia, I know you’re exhausted. But I’m gonna pick you up in thirty minutes. You just have to be packed, and out front, ready for me to scoop you up. See you outside?”
Am I tired enough to turn them down? The answer, almost 100% of the time, is going to be no. I’m not tired enough to turn them down. I’m not Oprah tired, or Tony tired. I am going to dig into my energy reserves, get up off the sofa, even though I feel exhausted. I’m gonna go pack a bag, and I’m gonna be outside in like, twenty-eight minutes, so I don’t miss getting scooped up.
So, pick your number; maybe it’s an eight on the tired scale, maybe it’s a six. You get to decide what it is. You want to have a scale and a rating ahead of time, so that if you’re underneath it you just decide to follow through. That’s how you know that you’re either being indulgent or not being indulgent, when it comes to not doing something based on how tired you are.
Also, I want to offer you; you’re perfectly capable of doing things tired. Especially for any parents who are listening, you do things tired all the time. Law students do this, as well. We do it with work all the time. We do things even when we’re tired. So, this is the same skill set. Follow through, even though you’re tired. Even though you don’t feel like it.
If you’ve decided that you’re going to enter your time in, before you go to bed every night, and you find yourself curled up under the covers, and your time’s not in… Even though you’re tired and you really don’t feel like it, I want you to get up from under the covers, and walk across the hallway into your office, where your computer is, and put in your time. I get that you don’t want to. But that’s what following through on your commitment really looks like.
Another obstacle that I see, is with how people talk to themselves. If you beat yourself up while you practice building the skill set of following through, I promise you, it will not go well. Negative self-talk is not going to create a positive result ever, ever, ever. So, you have to be your own best friend here.
You have to be kind to yourself, encourage yourself, hype yourself up, focus on what’s working, in addition to identifying what’s not working. Be a friend to yourself here. It is easy to buy into the lie that you need to beat yourself up in order to do better, but that does not work. I’ve talked about that in previous episodes.
You want to make sure that you are not sabotaging your success in this department, by saying really nasty things to yourself. Speak to yourself kindly.
Another obstacle that people mentioned when I polled my audience about where they struggle, or why they struggle with following through, is that they commonly put other people first. If that’s you, I want you to ask yourself; why?
Chances are you think it’s selfish for you to put yourself before others, or you feel guilty doing so, or maybe you feel afraid to do so. If that’s the case, and it’s the reason that you’re not following through on commitments that you’ve made to yourself, you’re going to want to allow yourself to experience those negative emotions and follow through. In spite of and despite them, gag-and-go, like I always tell you.
Those negative emotions aren’t a good enough reason for you to not follow through on the commitment that you made to yourself. You can follow through and feel those negative feelings. They won’t kill you; I promise.
Also, this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. You can tend to other people, if you want to, it’s never required. But if you want to, you can. And you can follow through on the commitments you make to yourself. You just need to make sure that the math works out. That boils down to a math problem.
Time is finite, you get to spend it like an allowance, however you choose. Just make sure that if you’re committing to do something for other people and making a commitment to yourself, you’re not double-booking yourself, or trying to fit ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound sack. Or, ten hours of commitments into a five-hour time span. You’re fitting ten in ten. You want to make sure that the math works out.
And last but not least, I see people tell themselves this all the time, when it comes to following through, and it’s one of the thoughts that gets in their way and prevents them from making any progress in this area. It’s that they tell themselves that there’s something inherently wrong with them, and that’s why they can’t follow through. That’s why they can’t stick, and stay committed to what they’ve committed to. It’s just an inherent flaw. There’s something wrong with them.
That is such a convenient excuse that your primitive brain serves up to you, but it’s total BS, okay? There’s nothing inherently wrong with you. All that’s happening is you’re thinking a negative thought, that’s causing you to feel a negative feeling, and causing you to take negative action or no action, and it’s producing a negative result. Or, you’re currently experiencing, or you anticipate that you’ll experience a negative emotion, and you’re unwilling to feel that negative feeling. And so, you don’t follow through as a result. As a way to avoid or a reaction to that negative emotion.
The only difference between you and people who follow through, and take consistent action, is that they think different thoughts than you think. Or, they’re willing to feel negative emotions that you’re unwilling to feel. That’s the only difference between the people that follow through and the ones that don’t.
The good news is that you can generate those thoughts. You can even ask people, who you think are good at following through, what they think about certain commitments, and you can borrow those thoughts. That’s one way to go about it. You can also identify the specific emotions. You’re going to have to be willing to feel, and make a deal with yourself ahead of time, that you’re willing to feel them and take action, in spite of and despite them.
Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you this week. You now have everything you need to know, in order to practice the art of following through, and build the skill set of being someone who takes consistent action. We went through the specific process you need to follow. And now, you know all the obstacles to be on the lookout for, and how to overcome them, what to do instead.
With that, I want you to go out there and practice being someone who’s committed to commitment. Practice being someone who follows through. You guys have got this.
Talk to you in the next episode. Have a great week.
Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.
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