Don't Share, Just Do!

You meet this friend you haven't met in a while for dinner one day, and you're at the table talking about what each of you is making of your lives. And so, naturally, you share with them your plans of this trip with your girlfriend to this small city in Germany where the beer is great, how you're working on writing this book comparing instincts of man vs animal, and how you're trying, albeit not too successfully, to work-out regularly for a healthier lifestyle.

Months pass, and you meet this friend again. And funnily enough, you're saying the same damn things again! You still haven't gone on that trip, you've barely worked on your book, and your body looks the same as it did the last time you met. You did, however, go for a couple of woodcutting workshops and ever since you've made plans to make this small birdhouse in your balcony. The plans are only in your mind, but you share them with your friend nonetheless.

Yeah. 6 months later, same story, same GIF.

Half a year goes by, and you have nothing to show for. You keep making these plans and get nowhere. Have you ever been in this endless loop? Like you're stuck with the same tasks endlessly, and you keep talking about them but then never really do them.

Now, I'm a person who takes on a dozen projects at once and talks about them very openly. But then I caught myself in this loop where I actually finish none of my projects, but I only talk about them. Whenever I've really wanted to do something - be it making an RC car for fun, planning a trip to ski or even reading a book - I've only ever been able to get things done when I keep my goal to myself and do it instead of talking about it before I even get started.

Here's why:
  1. Humans are social beings that take pride in being better (whatever that might mean) than their circle. Sharing goals and achievements is a key way of doing so.
  2. However, sharing a goal gives you the false sense of satisfaction that you've already achieved the end result
  3. Not sharing will drive you to actually finishing the goal sooner, so that you can share it
  4. More often than not, your circle is not going to share the same enthusiasm as you have for something. When that happens, your willingness to actually achieve the goal reduces
Other than keeping things to myself until I actually do them, what has really helped me is to hold myself accountable through someone. Make sure you send that person weekly updates of your progress - you don't even need them to reply - you'll just know when you're talking more than you're doing.


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