Stop talking about your dreams and start building them.
If you (like me) are spending the waining hours of 2011 reflecting on last year's accomplishments and prioritizing your goals for the upcoming year, speaker Derek Sivers suggests you might increase your likelihood of follow through if you keep those goals to yourself.
Because our minds mistake talking and doing.
Sivers highlights research showing that when you tell people about what you intend to create, that act alone can activate pleasure centers in the brain and create a sense of accomplishment. When all you've really done is talked about doing something, not actually moved forward on creating something.
It's an insidious trap I've seen many creative people fall prey to. The rush of pleasure that our mind rewards us with from simply talking about our future ideas actually saps the energy and focus that is needed to make those ideas a reality.
Throw in Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and it's hard not to see a pandemic of creative talented people substituting action on their long-term dreams for the short term rush of talking about those dreams instead.
This certainly doesn't apply to everyone. But if this concept of trading action for talking feels familiar to you, try something new for 2012. If you have something important you want to accomplish in your life over the coming months, don't give yourself the easy out of talking about what you intend to do. Instead, try keeping your idea to yourself, and discipline yourself to share your results and actions instead.
When the only option you allow yourself is to show what you've done, rather than talk about what you want to do, you may find that your creative energy is channeled in new ways.