Have you realized that Christmas is less than 50 days from now? Chances are you’ve noticed the decorations and supplies stocked in your favorite stores, and you’ve started receiving daily emails from your favorite online retailers, boasting their “biggest sales yet!” The holiday season means many things to many people, but there is generally one universal truth about the approaching celebration; the New Year is nearly here!
The transition period when one year ends and another begins provides a perfect opportunity to reflect and reset. It’s the time of the year when people are most likely to set new goals and focus on self-improvement.
Whether you’ve already determined your resolutions for 2019—or if you’re still sorting through all of the possibilities—I encourage you to add a simple practice to your to-do list: Follow through more.
What It Means to Follow Through
The resolution to follow through—when applied at home and work—delivers benefits professionally and personally. For me, personally, it means I vow to read a book to my two-year-old daughter the first time she asks rather than make her wait until after I’ve loaded the dishwasher, sent just one more email or checked another thing of off my seemingly never-ending list of tasks. Professionally, this resolution will keep me focused without distraction on my clients’ needs and enable me to provide exceptional customer service by setting mutually agreeable expectations.
I’m sure you’ve seen the acronym for goal setting, SMART. SMART goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. The same thing applies for completing customer requests and tasks. Regardless of the business that you are in or your personal circumstances, I believe that SMART, when applied to tasks, leads to success and satisfaction. SMART tasks are commitments that must be followed through on; they reflect what you’ve said you’re going to do.
Will You Commit to Follow-Through in 2019?
Not everyone will—and that’s why it can be such a powerful differentiator.
- Get an email with a question? Respond to it with an answer as soon as possible.
- Get a phone call requesting your help? Take down some notes and call back the stakeholder when you’ve finished the task.
Yes, there are many disruptions and competing demands in today’s virtual, connected world. I know how easy it is to get sidetracked and miss out on making a positive, memorable impression.
But you can rise to the challenges and set yourself apart from the competition by holding yourself accountable. And if you need a little help, there are tools you can use to stay on track. I prefer ToDoist, and I know others who like Trello and Wunderlist.
Following through is not rocket science, but it does require self-discipline, focus, and a commitment to doing what you say you will. Will 2019 be the year that you make follow-through a priority? I hope so because there’s no downside; it’s a resolution that will be a win for you, your family, your friends, and your customers.