Episode 469: [Follow Through Series] The Follow Through Fallacy

Welcome to Part 1 of my 5-part Follow Through Series. A series to help you release your perfectionism handbrake and consistently follow through with your plans without burning yourself out.

If you’re struggling to follow through with your plans, it’s probably because you’ve accidentally fallen into the trap of believing the Follow Through Fallacy. If you have, it’s not your fault. But you need to know about it so you stop wasting your effort on the wrong thing.

Tune into today’s episode to learn all about the Follow Through Fallacy and the secret to following through with your plans even when you’re not motivated. 

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to take a screenshot and tag me on instagram @perfectionismproject.

And for the episode transcript and full show notes, visit at samlaurabrown.com/episode469.

In The Episode You’ll Learn:

  • What the Follow Through Fallacy is and why we fall for it
  • Why you don’t need to be more motivated or disciplined
  • What perfectionists get wrong about following through with plans
  • Why it’s not your fault that you haven’t been following through with your plans
  • How to follow through with your plans even when you’re not motivated

Featured In The Episode:

Work With Me:
If you’re ready to plan properly as a perfectionist so it’s easy to follow through with your plans, I invite you to join us inside Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD). Inside you’ll be using my proven productivity process to take consistent action on the most important things for your business and mentally switch off when you’re not working. 
Now is the perfect time to join as our 12 Week Power Planning Challenge gets started on 1 July. To join us for the challenge, simply sign up for PGSD by 11:59pm New York Time on Sunday, 30 June by visiting samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Listen To The Episode

Listen to the episode on the player above, click here to download the episode and take it with you or listen anywhere you normally listen to podcasts – just find Episode 469 of The Perfectionism Project Podcast!

Subscribe To The Perfectionism Project Podcast


Hi and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project, a podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release their perfectionism handbrake so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the Perfectionist Getting Shit Done group coaching program, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business. You can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.

Sam Laura Brown
Okay, so this is part one of my five part follow through series that I’m going to be releasing for you here on the podcast. So if you are someone who struggles to follow through with their plans, if you can’t trust yourself to do what you said you would do, and if you’ve been in a slump lately, especially because you don’t know what to do, you don’t know if it’s gonna work, you believe in yourself, but also you don’t believe in yourself, then this series is gonna be so helpful, because I’m really breaking down a lot of myths about following through with your plans, and most likely, you just aren’t following through because you have been focusing your energy and efforts into the wrong things. I want to help you understand that teach you what to do instead, and also invite you into my program, Perfectionist Getting Shit Done. I’ll tell you more about it throughout the series, but if you want support, accountability and to learn the full process for getting out of your own way as a perfectionist entrepreneur, so that you can do what matters most and do it without burning out. Then stay tuned for the whole thing. It’s going to be amazing.

So in part one today, I’m going to be sharing with you the follow through fallacy, what that is, how to know if you’re buying into it and what to do instead, four simple steps to taking action is the second part in this series. The third part is going to be on knowing your needle movers, if you struggle to prioritize tasks and know what’s important and what’s not that, one’s going to be amazing, supporting yourself to do scary things and then how to become someone who follows through. Those are parts four and five. So I’ve really got you covered here with following through with your plans. And I know so many perfectionists because we have a tendency to beat ourselves up that we blame ourselves and think like it’s just me, I’m just lazy, I’m unmotivated, I’m not disciplined enough.

Then this series is going to be such a relief to help you really understand the true cause of why you haven’t been following through with your plans and what to actually do about it. Because it is simple, it is doable. Anyone can learn how to do it. It’s what I teach for a living, and I want to teach you as well. So this series is for you. If you can’t trust yourself to follow through with your plans, you’re scared of wasting effort on the wrong thing. You are overwhelmed by everything that there is to do. And in business, we always have more things to do than we have time, so that’s overwhelming to you. There’s something you’ve been procrastinating on creating or launching. You have an idea that you’ve just been sitting on, and maybe you started taking a bit of action, but you haven’t put it out into the world or really fully gone for it.

You struggle to market yourself consistently. This isn’t for all perfectionist, but a lot that I work with really struggle to do things like post consistently on social media, you start things but you don’t finish them, or it takes you way longer than you want it to take you. So you might feel like you’re a bit scattered or a bit messy because of this, and you’re burned out and you can’t switch off. You’re always kind of working, but kind of not working. And you just want to be able to show up fully, to have your work time, to have your rest time, and to know that you’re getting shit done and that what you’re doing is going to get you to your goals. So I just want to quickly introduce myself as well. In case you don’t already know who I am.

So my name is Sam Laura Brown, and I coach perfectionist entrepreneurs on how to get out of their own way. So I’m the host of this podcast, The Perfectionism Project, which is a top rated podcast, I’ve helped over 1000 perfectionist entrepreneurs get out of their own way in their business, and I’ve made over $2 million in my own business. And when I first started my business, like I didn’t even realize I was a perfectionist. I was just so in my own way, I didn’t even tell anyone about my business. I was just so mortified that anyone would think I had any idea what I was doing, or that I thought I knew what I was doing. And so I’ve really been able, through my own experience and 1000s of hours spent learning about personal development and productivity and business, being able to figure out how to actually get out of my own way, do the courageous things I need to do, show up fully, not burn out anymore, and now I teach that to people as well.

So that’s a bit about who I am and what I am here to do. So let’s get into the follow through fallacy. So the follow through fallacy is the phenomenon whereby a person focuses on being more motivated and disciplined because they believe this will allow them to follow through with their plans. So I put it in that language, because that really is such a great way to describe it, that we become so focused on being more motivated and more disciplined instead of actually looking at why we aren’t able to follow through. So I’m going to be talking about all of that in this series, but here are some of the signs that you are buying into the follow through fallacy. You’re trying to wake up early, maybe 5am you’re trying to be in the 5am club, creating a morning routine, healthy habits. You’re wanting to exercise consistently, eat healthy, and there’s nothing wrong with those things, but you’re really focusing a lot of energy and effort into being a more disciplined person.

You are deleting the Instagram app off your phone and doing things like that, maybe using internet blockers to try to be more motivated and focused, and so you can actually just get the things done that you need to do. Maybe it is working a little bit. Maybe it isn’t. You have post it note reminders. So maybe you’re someone, you have little mantras that you post around your room or your desk, you have things to just try and remind yourself to do the things you need to do, or to try and keep yourself organized and motivated, and all the while, you’re not actually looking at what plans you’re trying to follow, and if it makes sense to try to follow those plans, you’re just trying to be more motivated and more disciplined.

So here’s what typically happens when you believe the follow through fallacy. So first of all, you will make a long to do list of everything that you need to get done. And the clients that I work with in my program, they typically either have a handwritten to do list. They might use an app like Notion. They just have lists upon lists upon lists and so many ideas maybe in their iPhone notes of everything they want to get done, and that list only gets longer. Or maybe, if they are calendaring, they’re using something like time blocking and that approach, and they just have a completely over scheduled calendar. Then you feel so overwhelmed by everything there is to do that you do busy work. It might be that you procrasti-learn, or maybe you procrasti-clean.

But a lot of the people I have on my program, they get so overwhelmed by everything that there is to do that they just go into checking social media, checking emails, scrolling. They just prioritize the least important thing or something you know you need to get done, but it isn’t actually that important. It’s not a real needle mover for you, then you feel guilty that you’re not doing the things that you need to do. So you try to force yourself to do the things that you need to do, but either you don’t have time to finish it, because at this point it’s getting late in the day or late in the week, or you keep working and you get it finished, but then you were so exhausted because you aren’t actually able to have any time to rest, and then you have a longer and longer to do list, because you’re behind on all the things you procrastinate on, plus you have new ideas.

And so you’re just constantly in this burnout cycle, as I like to call it. We have the long to do list, feel overwhelmed, do busy work, feel guilty. Then you start doing the important things, maybe a lot of perfectionist entrepreneurs don’t even do that bit. They just get so disheartened because I spent the whole week on busy work. But maybe you are actually like, Okay, do need to do this thing? And so you start making an attempt, or you exhaust yourself doing it, and then your to do list just gets longer and longer and longer. Or while you’re feeling more behind and more exhausted because you’re not actually getting to take a break.

So if that is you, if you can relate to that, then what you need to do instead is really understand and look at how you’re planning your time. Your follow through problem is a planning problem, and anyone can learn how to plan properly as a perfectionist. I’m going to be talking about that to you throughout this series, but this is such a big one, and I wish someone had told me this, that I didn’t need to be more motivated or more disciplined or have more willpower. And back in the day, when I started my business as a blog, I was constantly writing blog posts about like how I was trying to stay motivated and the different things I was trying to do to keep myself accountable, to actually building my business. And what I didn’t know was that I just wasn’t planning my time and planning and organizing my tasks in a way that made it easy to follow through.

So what I was doing when I had my long to do list or my multiple attempts at time blocking in my calendar, was that I was actually setting myself up to have a really, really hard time following through. And I wish someone had pulled me aside and said, Hey, actually, it’s not that you have this consistency issue or this motivation issue or this burnout issue. What’s going on here is that you just aren’t actually planning in a way that works for your perfectionist brain. And in the beginning, I didn’t even know I was a perfectionist. I thought I had a motivation problem. So I just want to share with you the five signs of perfectionism. I’ve seen these time and time again, overthinking, procrastination, burnout, fear of judgment and all or nothing, thinking.

So when you were doing those things. I call it having your perfectionism handbrake on. And you don’t need to be able to overcome perfectionism or to be a recovering perfectionist. All you need to do is learn how to get your perfectionist mindset working for you instead of against you. It’s not the enemy, but you do need to take it into account when you are planning out your week and when it comes to following through, but you can’t actually solve for any of your procrastination that’s going on you’re overthinking until you actually change the way that you are planning, because the cause of most of your problems with following through with your plans is going to be solved by planning properly as a perfectionist, and then you can learn how to be more productive.

But until you actually solve this, first, it doesn’t matter how much time you put into trying to stop procrastinating, it’s not going to make a difference. This is the needle mover. If you have been having a hard time following through with your plans, you’re either inconsistent or you were taking a lot of action and you are exhausted, you are burning yourself out, you are really struggling to switch off, or your action that you’re taking isn’t actually adding up to the results that you want. Then you need to plan properly as a perfectionist, you need to actually take your perfectionist brain into account, and to know that the most popular productivity tools out there the to do list time blocking all of the paper planners as much as I love a beautiful paper planner, they don’t actually work for your perfectionist brain.

And so I have tried all the things, I have studied all the methods, and I have brought together what actually works for my perfectionist brain, and then I have tried and tested that with over 1000 other perfectionist entrepreneurs, to actually have a way to plan out your week that makes it easy to follow through. And again, I just wish someone had said to me, like, Hey, you don’t have to be more motivated and disciplined and have more willpower. And yes, you can work on those things. But the bottleneck isn’t that you’re not motivated enough like that isn’t the thing that is stopping you from progressing. It’s a planning problem. And when you can actually start planning properly as a perfectionist, follow through becomes easy.

You’re struggling to follow through because everything feels important. You don’t know where to start, because you don’t have enough time to get everything done, and because you’re exhausted, because you never switch off, and the constant pressure you put on yourself, this is all solved when you were planning properly as a perfectionist. So in part two of this series, I’m going to be sharing with you four simple things you need to do to follow through with your plans. This is really going to debunk a lot of myths that you might have been believing about follow through, because it really is simple and easy to do. And I used to be so inconsistent. I used to be the person. I just couldn’t actually trust myself to do what I plan to do, and I just felt like everything was going to be a waste of effort, and I couldn’t even trust myself to complete anything that I started. And then I couldn’t even trust it. If I did complete it, it would actually get me to my goals.

And through this process that I’m going to be teaching you, I have completely changed that there is no way I would be able to work three days a week while having three little ones under the age of three currently, and be able to make over $2 million in my business to be doing something that I love, like I have a background in having a law degree, a finance degree, a diploma in French, I worked in the corporate world, like for me to be able to become someone who was in that world and just so scared of anyone finding out that I thought I could help them, and just being absolutely mortified of being laughed at and really showing up as a real me to now being able to do that day in day out, without it being a lot of effort and just being the kind of person who follows through. I just want that for you too. I just know it’s possible as well, because I help people with it every day. So tune into part two. I’m going to be sharing with you the four simple things you need to do to follow through with your plans and be taking action. It’s really simple. It’s really easy. Anyone can learn it. So I hope you found this helpful, and I’ll talk to you then.

If you’re ready to start planning properly as a perfectionist so you can follow through with your plans, I invite you to join us inside perfectionist getting shit done. We will be starting a 12 week power planning challenge on the first of July, and it’s going to be perfect for you. If you’re in need of a mid year reset, or you love extra accountability and support, to join us for the challenge inside the program, all you need to do is be inside PGSD by 11:59pm New York time on Sunday the 30th of June. You can find out more about the program and sign up at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Author: Sam Brown