The key to getting things done (and not just talking about it)

We all know that friend who is always enthusiastically telling you about the new thing they’re doing, a new goal they’re working towards or simply how they’re planning on getting things done. You know these kind of people, right? They usually they have one flaw… they have a history of poor follow through.

They love to talk about getting things done but rarely actually do.

We are all guilty of this to some degree. I know I’m certainly am, considering all the times I’ve told others that I was going to start a new band, read a new book, become a rock climber, blah blah etc…

Recently, though, I decided to take a different approach in working towards my goals.

I simply stopped talking about them. I stopped talking about getting things done.

Think about this for a minute. Among your circle of friends and acquaintances, who are the people you respect the most? If you’re like me, they are the people who tell you about their achievements rather than their plans for future achievements.

getting things done - guys filming movie

Think about your own behavior when it comes to this. If you continuously do not follow through with what you say you are going to do, you lose a lot of respect. You become the kid who cried wolf. Your statements become as reliable as drunk promises.

We all want respect, right? I know I do.

I recently set out on a journey to start my own company. With this entrepreneurial goal in mind and with the above ”walk the walk’ mindset driving me, there was no way I was going to let it fall through. I would not allow myself to stay in action limbo.

In working towards this goal of starting my own company, I am learning a lot about what will actually help me get accomplish what I set out to do – not just talk about doing it.

Here are 5 strategies that will help you get things done.

getting things done - man under Brooklyn Bridge

Stop telling people about your goals.

I know this goes against conventional wisdom which says you should tell people about your goals as they will help keep you accountable. But I have found that this isn’t always necessary true.

First of all, talking about your goals in casual conversation with people will realistically get you nowhere, as most of the time, people could honestly really care less about your goals. That person has their whole life to deal with and, honestly, their nods of approval or “that’s really cool” remarks are going to do little to drive you to accomplish what you are telling them about.

There is also some compelling scientific research that points to people actually being more unlikely to achieve their goals if they tell people about them. Check out this TED talk by Derek Sivers. He basically says that the sense of gratification that comes with telling people about your goals makes you more unlikely to follow through with them. He says that by telling people your future plans, it makes them feel more realistic and gives you a false sense of accomplishment leading to a higher probability of inaction. Very interesting stuff.

Now, this is all not to say that you need to keep it a complete secret especially if you live with a family and your goal includes a complete lifestyle change. What it means is that you need to tell the right people.

Instead of just telling people causally who are going to give you the old adage “good job buddy” and empty encouragement, look instead to get some inspiration. Look to find someone who has done something similar to what you are doing. Be strategic in getting advice or tips on how they did it. You will feel more inspired and have a more realistic understanding of what you need to do.

Plan realistically and take action.

If you have your heart set on a goal, you need to take a hard look at what it is going to take to make it happen. How much time is it going to take out of your normal schedule? How long is it going to take to get there? Are there any milestones you can plan to hit?

Once you have an understanding of what it is going to take to accomplish your goal, you need to start planning actual steps towards it.

You can find almost an infinite amount of ‘how to’ or ‘top ten’ lists for achievement or the sort online to help get you going. I am not going to go into any details on those here.

The point is that in order to make a change, you need to take control of your efforts, plan accordingly and set reasonable expectations.

For me, in starting my brand Sol Vibes, I had to adjust my entire routine. There was no single solution that worked either. It was a process of trial and error to find what was both the most effective and worked best in my schedule.

Keep your motivation and be productive.

For most goals, we are eager to get started but it is incredibly easy to get distracted and lose motivation. Some goals are larger and take longer than others and it is important to keep your eye on the prize.

Again, plenty of resources to help you find motivation on what you are working on, but one thing everyone should do, no matter what their goal, is find a way to measure success. It is far too easy to lose track of progress when you are constantly focused on new tasks to help you advance. There is a lot of power in a simple before and after picture, or measurement statistic etc.

Get started now.

Prove to people that you are an achiever rather than just a dreamer. Don’t tell just anyone about your goals. Make sure they are the right people who are actually going to provide value on your journey and inspire you to walk the walk. And when the time comes that you get to actually tell people about what you have achieved, that sense of delayed satisfaction will be totally worth it.

Getting things doe - Sol VibesI may not know much, but I can now say that I have successfully started a business. It is an artistic and soulful apparel company dedicated to being modern and mindful called Sol Vibes and it feels good to say that I have started a business rather than I’m going to start a company.

Getting things done - man at work station

I would love to hear from you if you have any comments or questions please email me. If you have the chance, check out solvibes.com and let me know what you think! kaz@solvibes.com