How to Stop Talking and Start Doing

Sometimes we need to remember to stop and soak up the moment we’re in. Quit thinking about the next big thing and just celebrate where we are right now. Sometimes we need to pay attention to the colors of today, lest we miss out on what’s real because of our obsession with what could be.

And sometimes we need to snap out of the complacency of today and move our butts towards what we want for tomorrow.

Have you been talking about the same dream for months (or years)?

Are you dragging your feet on important changes?

Are you sitting around the campfire talking about “what if” and “someday”, but spending night after night in the exact same campground?

If your life has become a series of hypothetical conversations, it’s time to actually do something.

Unfortunately, our brains seem to love the idea of taking action more than the actual execution, especially if it is in any way different from what we know. Some call it “lizard brain”, the reptilian part of our brain that refuses to evolve beyond the familiar. It’s the reason we stay in unhealthy relationships and jobs we hate. It’s the reason we die in cities we don’t love. It is the internal mud that keeps us stuck, but it is not impossible to overcome.

One way I’ve been using to overcome my own lizard brain lately is to set deadlines.

I’m not talking about those pretend deadlines meant to fool us into progress – my lizard brain knows motivational BS when it sees it – but actual deadlines that come with dates and times and consequences.

When we were talking about taking our RV trip, I set a date of June 1 for leaving. Suddenly, the dream became real and plans were being made around that specific date. Recently, I had another idea for a book – any writer can tell you they have more ideas for books than pairs of clean socks – and I knew instinctively that the timing was right for this idea to become reality. I bought a ticket for a publishing conference in New York City at the end of October and then forked over a piece of our savings for a plane ticket. Deadline set, money staked, and book proposal is actually almost done.

Confession: I’m totally amazed at how much progress I’ve made on that proposal. I’ve started books and proposals before, but never made the time to actually see them through. Now, although I’m as busy as ever, I’m making time because I have a deadline.

Deadlines turn our fantasies into priorities. They help transform us from people who talk to people who live. They send the message to our lizard brains – and the rest of the world – that we are committed to living with purpose and power.

Sign up for a race.

Register for a class.

Make a deposit on that vacation to Ireland.

Whatever your next finish line is, make it real. Make it now.

Or don’t, and keep dreaming the same dreams because they are nice and pretty and easier.

What deadlines do you need to make?

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