“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” — Mark Twain
Is there something you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t yet done?
I vow to do this. I swear I’ll do that. I’m going to do this.
Vowing isn’t the answer.
Vivid, concrete plans are.
If you want to follow-through on something, then visualize, in a concrete way, how you’re actually going to carry it out.
In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Sweck explains how vowing doesn’t work, even if we assert it loudly, but when we make concrete plans, we actually increase our ability to follow-through. As a result, we increase our chances for success.
Vowing Doesn’t Work
According to Peter Gollwitzer and team, even intense vowing doesn’t work.
“Everyday people plan to do difficult things, but they don’t do them. They think, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow,’ and they swear to themselves that they’ll follow through the next day. Research by Peter Gollwitzer and his colleagues shows that vowing, even intense vowing, is often useless. The next day comes and the next day goes.”
Vivid, Concrete Plans Do Work
If you really want to “git er done”, then make a plan you can actually see in your mind that jives with reality.
“What works is making a vivid, concrete plan: ‘Tomorrow during my break, I’ll get a cup of tea, close the door to my office, and call the graduate school.’ Or, in another case: ‘On Wednesday morning, right after I get up and brush my teeth, I’ll sit at my desk and start writing my report.’ Or: ‘Tonight, right after the dinner dishes are done, I’ll sit down with my wife and have that discussion. I’ll say to her, ‘Dear, I’d like to talk about something that I think will make us happier.’”
Make a Concrete Plan
You know you have a concrete plan when you can answer the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW of making it happen.
“Think of something you need to do, something you want to learn, or a problem you have to confront. What is it? Now make a concrete plan. When will you follow through on your plan? Where will you do it? How will you do it? Think about it in vivid detail.”
Concrete Plans Lead to High-Levels of Follow-Through
The secret of tried-and-true follow-through, is creating concrete plans.
“These concrete plans — plans you can visualize — about when, where, and how you are going to do something lead to really high levels of follow-through, which, of course, ups the chances of success.”
Don’t vow it.
WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? HOW?
Actions speak louder than words.
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Image by IamJohnMichaels.