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There is procrastination, and then there is complete bluffing. You know those people (it can sometimes be us, too) who talk and talk about doing something but never put any action with it?

The conversation becomes draining as we hear the same things over and over, along with various excuses supporting their decision to not step out and work on accomplishing their goal.

We want to scream: get it done, pursue it, go for it! 

Action is quite difficult for some people to reconcile. It can also have a different meaning for individual people, living out different seasons in their lives. Sometimes action is physically doing something with our bodies, other times is it being still and patient. Action can be planning and strategizing, and then it also involves carrying out those plans with deliberate effort.

One thing that action does require, is that it means we need to be doing something. Eventually sitting around just talking about our goals and plans is not enough. We have to get up and get on with the business of living life, taking those courageous steps, and advancing in our dreams.

Nobody want to be the bluffer, the person who is all talk and everyone around them knows it. The bluffer is only fooling someone who has never heard their 25 minute elevator pitch before, all of the woes and wails about life, and how everything and everyone is unfair. The bluffer catches eye-rolls, deep sighs, and is quickly ignored by those who have realized long ago that their words are just that, words with no action.

We can all likely identify one person who will not advance beyond bluffing to pursuing. They are always filled with brilliant ideas and plans but never actually follow through with any of them. Maybe we can find ourselves bluffing from time to time, knowing that we have been talking about doing something for way too long now, and that action is required.

How do we help someone pursue their goals and stop talking about them? 

How can we help ourselves to take action and make our dreams reality? 

Some of the resolutions to these questions are based in the inherent nature of procrastination (see this article for more details), while other pieces to the answers require confrontation of the bluffing and passive stance toward action.

Inaction is a form of action. Passivity is also a form of progress, only backwards.

Try some of these techniques when facing the bluffer, whether it is yourself or someone else:

  1. Be direct about it. Tell the bluffer that they need to stop it. Sure, this conversation is not always easy, but if you have heard too many repeat tales about their goals and plans, then the communication is overdue. Be direct and express the need to start talking about outcomes, and much less about the strategy. Either the person will agree and get on board with changing their confession, or they will find a new soundboard for bluffing. If the bluffer is yourself, have this same conversation with yourself! It is only considered as socially “crazy” if we answer our own questions out loud, but we can definitely talk to ourselves in affirming ways to help motivate ourselves and get our head in the right game.
  2. Offer immediate solutions. It is one thing to identify the bluffing, but since you have heard the same story over and over, you likely have some suggestions to help end the madness, so offer them! Once again be direct and clear. If you know of some concrete steps they (or you) can take to reach the desired goal then share them! Possibly consider investing your time in helping them to create a solid plan of action to stop bluffing. Sometimes we need help to connect to a starting point of pursuit.
  3. Vow silence until there are new details. Stop talking about it. Our words have power, and if we rehearse our goals too much, then we risk sabotaging our own success. There are times when the conversation must stop, and its time to take action. Vow to stop talking about it unless there is new information, a baby step has been reached, or you sincerely need help with some aspect of the action plan.
  4. Do not allow a bluffer to negatively impact your life. If the bluffer is doing way too much talking and wasting your time and energy, it is time to establish some clear boundaries. Do not accept their indecisive nature and include it as part of your existence. They need to sort out their wants and dreams from their actions, and sometimes we just cannot be part of that. Drawn out relationships are great examples of this sort of behavior. 

Bluffing is a close relative of procrastination. Stop pretending to accomplish your goals, and do not sit back and allow others to pretend either. Push yourself and others to stop sitting around talking about life while avoiding pursuing a good life.

Before we know it, this life is over and the options we thought we once had, are now gone.