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Published on January 14th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

How do I get from thinking about projects to actually doing them?

CARSON WRITES: There are, and have been, many projects and goals I’ve wanted dearly to accomplish, but it seems like all I do is plan and fantasize about them, never actually getting anywhere. My question is: How do you get things going? How do you find the motivation to get anything done?

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  • Jacob Carignan

    Oh my goodness I completely understand! This happens to me a lot of the time. Right now I am trying to get a bible study set up and I am having trouble getting from talking about it to actually doing it. I think one of the best ways is to let others know, so you have someone who can hold you accountable.

    • Eva H.

      I agree with the letting others know. It’s a lot easier than trying to do it by yourself if they can keep reminding you to get something done

    • For the past year or two I’ve been meaning to start a before-school prayer meeting. Finally after a very encouraging testimony time in my history class (I go to a Christian school), I decided to just do it. Last week we started and tomorrow morning will be my second time leading it. Like you said about letting others know, I told another guy about the theoretical prayer meeting and he loved it. We decided upon a day of the week, then printed out memos and sent them home with 9-14th grade students. And here we are today.

      As hard as hard things are (hence the name), I think that until we just do it, it sounds so much harder. Once you get your hands dirty, things seem to fall in place more or less. Just always be praying in humility that the Lord will direct you, and you’ll be fine.

  • alana

    I’m pretty sure we all know it says in the Bible that God will give us the desires of our hearts if we are faithful to Him. A lot of people read this and don’t realize that to prove we are faithful, we have to be tested, sometimes in painful, life changing ways. And sometimes in small, mundane things. Start small. If you can be responsible with small things, you’ll soon be trusted with big things. (See Matthew 25:23)

  • Hi Carson, :)

    First of all, prayer! Through God all things are possible, whether (in this case) that means being able to accomplish a goal or just finding the motivation to start! We all know prayer is the thing to do in this type of situation, but I challenge you (if you haven’t already, and if you have, yay!:) to get on your knees and lift your plans to God. Give Him control and ask Him to inspire and motivate you, to give you the ability to carry your plans to fruition.

    I totally agree with Jacob. If you’re serious about what you plan to do, telling people about it can make all the difference. It’s a huge motivational boost, and, as Jacob said, it holds you accountable to what you said you were going to do. Also, they can help support your plans, whether physically or through prayer (or both!).

    Finally, sometimes you just have to start! It can be scary to start a new/big project, but if you feel it’s what God is calling you to do, go for it, and enjoy the journey! I’ll be praying for God to watch over your endeavors.

    God bless!

    • Exactly!

    • Sam S.

      Proverbs 16:3
      Commit your work to the Lord,
      and your plans will be established.

      • Amen! We have that verse hanging on the wall in our house. :)

  • Elizabeth Marie

    The perfect recipe for a “Doer of the Word”:

    1. If you read your Bible and Pray every day, you will DO, DO, DO!
    2. Accountability Partners!
    3. The book “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris!

    • Louis Gervais

      Love number 3! =vD

    • Excellent list. πŸ˜‰

  • Josh A

    Carson, I totally understand! I’m a Life scout really close to Eagle, and I can’t find the motivation to get off my hiney and start planning my Eagle project. So, speaking to myself as much as anyone, some things I would do are:

    1. Make a practical to-do list. Start small, and work your way up. Also, consider putting deadlines on it so you have a time frame in which to complete the step.

    2. I agree with @disqus_BVvgpvrfkF:disqus and @jacobcarignan:disqus about accountability. Share your list with someone so they can make sure you’re doing what you need to.

    3. Get help if you need. You don’t have to work alone.

    4. This has also been said but no matter what you should pray and ask God to help you honor Him in your project.

    I would wish you good luck, but luck doesn’t exist so GODSPEED!!! :-)

    • Josh A

      Woah sorry not sure what happened with @disqus_BVvgpvrfkF:disqus there :-/

      • Josh A

        NO!!! It did it again! I was just trying to give credit to Elizabeth Marie lol.

        • Josh A

          Well now its showing up fine so I look REALLY STUPID!!!! It was showing up as @disqus and then a random string of numbers…sorry :-[

          • You’re fine. I’ve done that type of thing before. :)

          • Sam S.

            It’s her Disqus ID. A small bug in Disqus makes it show up like that when you first post. It’s fine. What I do to confirm that it worked is hit edit and post again. A couple seconds later it will look fine. Nothing to worry about :)

          • Josh A

            OK thanks :-)

          • You’re not the only one who has done that! :) Nice list! I think giving advice to someone else can often help motivate us to do those things as well.

  • Hey Carson!

    I second what Christy said a few hours ago: pray, tell others, do it.

    I find that setting a time to do somethin and then doing it really kills procrastination, wich is what we both want, I think.

    When I wanted to start my blog, Soldiers of God , I had no public article writing experience, not much knowledge of web design or management, and no guarantee of a receptive audience (or even an audience at all for that matter). But I really felt like it was something O could do for the Kingdom of God. So, I just went to blogger.com and followed the instructions to create a blog.

    Since then (4 months ago), the website has attracted over 7000 pageviews, and 800 comments. And to be honest, if God’s hand wasn’t in it, I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere with it.

    So, we must follow God’s leading, but not expect him to pick up the pen and paper, and write articles, or stand on stage and give messages on Human Trafficking. No, that’s the job’s he’s given us, to do with His guidance. :)

    God bless you!
    – Trent

    • Yay, blogging example! πŸ˜‰ It’s amazing what God will do if you just step out in faith, isn’t it?

      • Yes. Definitely!

        • Martial Artist

          Off topic it is, but heard speak Yoda you do. Chat we should, if time you have, yes mmm.

    • mimeforJesus

      Wow, you didn’t know anything about writing or web design? Your blog looks great!

  • Aurie

    I love the advice given here, but I have a sense that you’re looking for a practical starting block… I think for most people, motivation comes from seeing a manageable task. Ever wonder why games like Candy Crush are so addicting? You complete a task (or level), rack up points, and unlock the next level. You even share your activity (and send annoying game requests) to all your friends. Be honest: if they handed you unlimited, private access to the game, you’d play it a week and get bored. It’s the little achievements and their rewards that make players come back.

    If you’re able to make plans, then you can break them into monthly goals, then weekly goals, then daily goals. I use a journal much like a bullet journal for this. Planning a big project is uber-inspiring but unlikely to actually get done; seeing a simple daily task or quota is reallllyyyy boring but is easy to accomplish and progresses FAST. Take tips from the Candy Crush people – you can’t go to Day 23 on your plan until you finish 1-22. You rejoice and send up digital fireworks for major tasks completed. You let your friends know what you’re doing. And you actually get stuff done (unlike the CC people… *ahem*).

    God bless your work!

    • Love the analogy! πŸ˜€

      • Sam S.

        Me too Rachel! That’s a great way to put it.

      • alana

        Yes! Also a fan of Candy Crush!

    • Elizabeth Marie

      I’m totally NOT a journalist… But this is Great Advice! …and a great way to look at projects!

      • Haha, I’m not a journalist if you mean “paid writer”! I do keep a private journal for planning and setting goals and to-do lists, for everything from spring cleaning to online classes to dental appointments. (I’m an adult. My mom won’t force me to go to the dentist anymore so I gotta do something…) O.o

        • Elizabeth Marie

          I meant “journalist” as in “someone who keeps journals of any kind”. I don’t journal at all! And I probably never will… I do get things done… just not by that method… so my above comment was really meant to encourage those of us who “don’t journal” to not just ignore the “candy crush” advice! Lol πŸ˜‰

  • Carolyn Taylor

    I wish I could give a smart or inspirational solution like everyone else but honestly, having others help hold me accountable is what really gives me motivation to get harder things done. Whenever I start to procrastinate (sadly happens a lot!) I try to just sit quietly and ask God to give me motivation, and in what ever form, be it coffee or my nagging conscience! πŸ˜› But then sometimes that still doesn’t get me going and I have to resort to desperate and embarrassing measures; beg the mom to threaten punishment if I don’t start/finish what I need to! You’d be really surprised at how much that has helped me accomplish!

  • Louis Gervais

    Pray about a project, asking God if it’s His will and timing for you to embark upon it. I’ve done this, and if I didn’t think it was the right thing or the right time, I didn’t do it. But those times when God confirmed that it was the right thing–and the right time–I had to do it, because then it was something God wanted me to do, and I had to obey by doing it with thoroughness and in a timely manner, doing it for Him.

  • Martial Artist

    “Do or do not, there is no try.”

    Well, that may not exactly be what you’re looking for, but let me explain. If you desire to do something and you have a great plan and you’ve prayed about it and you feel that you need to do it, do it with everything you’ve got. Don’t test the waters to see if it’s dangerous; jump all in head first. Maybe one reason for never going past the planning phase is that you’re scared that the project may never be what you want it to be. You may be scared to fail. Don’t be scared of starting a project if you really feel passionate about it. And don’t be scared to fail because, as they say in the scientific world, there is no such thing as a failed experiment; you merely learn something that you didn’t expect to. As long as you’ve prayed about it and God says yes, there’s nothing you can’t do with the right motives. But even if it doesn’t work out, maybe the whole point was for God to teach you a lesson that you weren’t expecting.

    Hope this helps.

    • Megan Smith

      Yes. Fear holds us back so often! It’s important not to overthink. If we know God’s in it, there’s no reason to wait.

      • Josh A

        Hey along these lines check out the book “Just do something” by Kevin DeYoung.

        • Haven’t actually read the book myself, but have heard his sermon based off of it. It’s really good!

    • Sam S.

      Helped me!

    • Josh A

      Thank you oh wise Yoda! :-)

      • Martial Artist

        Welcome you are, Josh A. Glad I am find you my wisdom useful.

        *Yoda chuckle* :)

        • mimeforJesus

          Will the two Yodas please get together?

          • Josh A

            Oh no – if the two Yoda’s get together…we’re DOOMED! πŸ˜› You have to be a Star Wars fan to get that one.

          • mimeforJesus

            I don’t get it fully, but now I’ve got a really bad feeling about this.

          • Josh A

            LOL Yeah I sense a great disturbance in the Force. πŸ˜‰

          • Martial Artist

            Quote C-3P0 you did Josh A. Star Wars nerd we all seem *yoda chuckle* Addicted to this Yoda speak I am becoming, yes mmmm…

          • Josh A

            Oh no he’s still talking like Yoda…I guess we’ll have to be miserable. It’s our lot in life. :-)

          • mimeforJesus

            It is our destiny. [Insert heavy breathing]

          • Josh A

            Oh if I search my emotions will I find that it is true? *searches emotions* NOOOOOOOO!!! You’re my father….er mother….er I guess you’re somewhere around my age so NOOOO you’re my sister….in Christ πŸ˜‰

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, I’d prefer to be your sis; then I don’t have to be Vader anymore. Can I be JarJar’s sister?? Mesa like JarJar!

          • Josh A

            Not if it means I’m jar jar πŸ˜› I may be goofy but I hope I’m not THAT goofy πŸ˜‰

          • mimeforJesus

            No, you can be Jar Jar’s other brother who nobody knows :)

          • Josh A

            Your logic is not sound. I am Spock now. 😐

          • mimeforJesus

            Ok, that’s cool. Nice face :)

          • Josh A

            OK everyone’s being Yoda and talking about Star Wars so I guess I’ll be different…the logical choice would to be Spock. *starts to smile then realizes that Vulcans don’t smile* 😐

          • Martial Artist

            Ha! That’s funny! I mean, funny that is. Out of character I was. :)

          • mimeforJesus

            That’s funny – I randomly started talking like Scotty earlier today, and then you’re talking like Spock.

          • Martial Artist

            Speaking of yourself were you? Hmmm…strong with the Force you seem mimeforjesus.

          • mimeforJesus

            No, strong with the Force I am not. Impersonates Yoda does Trent Blake. Very good is he.

          • Martial Artist

            Speak with him, I will. :)

          • mimeforJesus

            Thank you, I do :)

  • Megan Smith

    I heard someone once say that there are really two types of people when it comes to big projects like you’re talking about. These two types are starters and finishers.

    The starters are your entrepreneurs, the kind of people you think about as “doing hard things” on the front lines, founding organizations, etc.

    And the finishers are the ones a who come alongside the starters, who work behind the scenes. They may not have the big ideas, but they are absolutely vital to keeping an idea from staying just an idea.

    In addition, some people can fill either description, depending upon the situation.

    It sounds as if you have one of two problems. It could be that you’re a starter, but don’t have enough finishers around you to make your dream possible. Or maybe you’re a finisher who needs to latch on to a starter – someone who has the skill set to help you get started with your ideas.

    Pray about it. Ask God to show you how He can use your particular abilities and who He would have you combine with. Form a strong team, and take it step by step, leaning on God.

    To find motivation, spend time in prayer and Bible study. Go back to basics and figure out why exactly you want to do this – are called to do it! Beyond just have a general “I want to serve God,” something that God has specifically laid on your heart. Know why you do it, and let it be for the right reasons.

    • Joyful joyful

      Very true! I fire off ideas/dreams/projects very quickly, but rarely do I have (or invest) the time to actually get projects off the floor…
      I need to work on this…
      Luke 14:28-32

  • Alyssa

    I understand this feeling, but motivation is nothing without discipline. There’s a reason Nike’s slogan is “Just Do It.” Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to keep in mind. What needs to happen next for your project? With the example of starting a small group within your church, what would you need to do? First, you might want to send your pastor or a different leader an email asking some questions you might have about, say, what rooms are available, or if you can have some space in the church bulletin. Do that. It’ll take fifteen minutes, max. Boom, done. On to step 2. Make sure you give him good contact info (your cell phone, not your house phone) and remember to check your email. Just keep doing things, even when you don’t want to, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly your project is coming along.

    This also applies to studying for finals πŸ˜‰

    • Alyssa

      And remember – though prayer is obviously very important – God blesses those who go out and do their work. Don’t wait around for a divine sign or something – the fact that you have these ideas is sign enough. It’s time. Get it done.

    • Yes, I’m kinda guilty with the finals thing *shyly grins* I tend to use the reasoning that I’m a gifted student and am good at remembering things to weasel my way out if it

  • I think the most important thing is to not give up your plans. Even if it takes a long time to get it started, if you keep reminding yourself of your desire to get it done, then eventually it will happen. Also, allow for your plans to change. Even if there’s some project you especially want to do, get input from other people and if they have an idea for how to make it more doable then be willing to tweak your plan. I had to do that one time when I was wanting to do an all night prayer thing for the persecuted church. Instead, I ended up doing a presentation about the persecuted church at a prayer thing that churches were already doing.

  • Joyful joyful

    Are you talking about all the musicals I dream of composing, the books I want to author, the bible studies I recurrently think of, the stories I want to write, the emails I could send, the languages I would like to learn…
    I really don’t have any practical advice, because I have the same problem! But take heart: you are not the only one! There are others struggling to overcome the same thing!
    [suddenly I am thinking about that part of Do Hard Things where Alex and Brett were saying how they used to think they wanted to write a book, and then soon found out what they really wanted was to have written a book…]

  • Joyful joyful

    Is there a rhyme or reason to the order comments appear on a page? if I reply to something it stays under the original comment–that much I understand. but when I post a free standing comment, it will stay at the top of the page at first, but if I leave the page and come back to it the comment will be in a (randomly) different place! not at the top, not at the bottom, not next to something else I have written, I doubt alphabetical, not in order of posting… it is not a problem but I am confused…
    I know there are some people on here who actually understand technology… :0

    • Josh A

      OK here’s how it works: if you look under the number of comments on the page (for me 43) there’s something that probably says “Sort by Best.” That will make the comment with the most likes be at the top. There’s a little arrow with different options such as “Sort by Newest” (in which case the newest comment will be at the top) which is my favorite and I think “Sort by Oldest.”

      Hope this helps!

    • Sam S.

      Have I been summoned? No wait, @disqus_pWIgMpvFrR:disqus did an excellent job explaining that. Thanks Josh!

    • It sounds like people would prefer if comments were automatically sorted by “newest” instead of “best” β€” so I will change that in Disqus.

      • Sam S.

        Thanks for letting us know. I like both views depending on what I’m doing, so I’ll probably switch mine every once in a while.

        • Agreed. For me, I prefer “best” first, unless I’m in an online debate or need to read all the latest comments. So it does depend on the situation. :)

          • mimeforJesus

            Whoa, new profile pic! You don’t realize what you notice until something changes!

          • It seems so.

  • I am an ENTJ, and this defines me. I think your probably one of the personality types that are great at coming up with plans, ideas and goals, but are less able to actually put them to use.

    I don’t really know what to say considering I have this problem myself… But for me, just like the beginning of the year is the easiest time to make resolutions, the morning is the best time to commit to something. So decide, okay on Saturday I’m going to wake up early and try my hardest to accomplish (blank), and then commit to it. And whatever you do, DON’T start the day watching TV or getting on the computer. If you do that it will set the tone for the rest of the day. (At least that’s my experience.)

    Let’s say your goal is to finish a history book as quick as possible. If you wake up early and immediately set to work, then you will find you will have more energy to continue working hours later then if you had just started doing it. Because the more you strive the more you want to strive. I don’t know if I’m making any sense but that’s one thing that sort of works for me. I think it is possible to overcome this common flaw but it takes discipline. And just having a strong urge to do hard things already gives you a 90% headstart from the rest of the world. That’s really I have to say, hope this helps! :)

    • JoleneRodriguez

      I think it’s a really helpful idea to not start the day with tech! For me, it’s my phone. On my worst days, I usually start the day reading blog articles (usually about planning and productivity lol), and then spend the rest of the day reading…. Or planning….

      • I know right? That’s why I really need to turn my computer off on days I really need to get stuff done… x)

  • Madeleine Grace

    when you figure it out can you tell me cause i struggle with that to and it’s really really bad :( cause i get really really discouraged!!

  • I just finished reading ” Love Does ” by Bob Goff. It helped me to find the courage to pursue the dreams God has given me.

    I’ve found that when you take small steps towards accomplishing that goal, dream or project they multiply into strides. When we humbly offer the little bit we have to God, He in turn takes those dreams and makes them bigger, better, and even more efficient.

    Start out simply. As Mr. Goff suggests…sometimes the next step is a phone call or email away.

    All these things are the keys to unlocking the dreams He gives!

    • Carolyn Taylor

      I just checked out that book from the library after hearing about it everywhere non-stop this last week! It sounds really awesome and you have gotten me all excited about reading it now! :)

      I really liked what you said about offering our little bit to God. I have been realizing more and more how everything I have is from God, and it is sad that it is so hard for me to trust God with something that never was mine. But when you know that what you have is in much better hands than your own, it seems like such a wise decision.

      • So glad you have the chance to read this!! It will help you dream big for the Kingdom. It blessed my life. I even emailed Bob Goff to tell him that his book gave me courage to launch, pursue the Valentine Card project. He thought it was a beautiful idea!

        • Carolyn Taylor

          I just found your blog and I am very impressed! I will be praying for you and your Valentine Card project! You’re doing great things for God’s Kingdom, Moriah! :) I will have to get back to you and let you know what I thought about the book. :)

          • Thanks! Your words are encouraging. :)

  • David Brownlee

    Some of the problems too, are trying to find an idea in the first place. Anyone have any?.(Loving the Star Wars down there, by the way) The best one I have is making a Christian band, but my friends who play drums and guitar weren’t really into it, so all I have is a singer, a piano and a keyboard.

    • mimeforJesus

      Star Wars is big here… in case you couldn’t tell!
      I’ve got the same question: what do I do? I don’t have answers, but you could always submit it as a Discussion Question (most people call them DQ’s for short). That way you would have just about everyone else on here answering your DQ :)
      You sing and play piano/keyboard? I sing but… let’s just say the keyboard and I only get along if I’m playing by ear.
      And welcome to the Rebelution! πŸ˜€

      • David Brownlee

        Thanks for the warm welcome! How does entering a DQ work?

        • Hey David!
          I think this page can explain it better than I can:

          Basically, you need to follow the submition guidelines and then send it as an email to the appropriate address. It’s actually really simple for a DQ.

        • GodsThespian

          Sam S answered better than I could…

    • Carson Sheppard

      Really any idea. Even if it’s not a religious project. But especially religious stuff.

      • GodsThespian

        Hi there, Carson! You new here? If so, welcome!
        I like your ideas :)

        • Carson Sheppard

          I’ve been on here for quite awhile actually, but never commented. thx for the welcome though! lol! And thanks for the complement!

          • GodsThespian

            You’re welcome!

  • Bennett Forkner

    4 years ago, my private Christian school started The Micah Conference. It is a conference in mid June where high school students get together and hear about what they can do to change the world for the better and have conversations with other students about this. This conference is four consecutive days long and at cairn university in Langhorne, Pennsylvania and we bring in speakers from all around the country. This year we had 78 students attend and we got to hear from Andy Crouch, the editor of Christianity Today magazine, about what our true purpose as youth is. A cool thing about us is that we are totally student organized and we really understand how to make it a fun time. Please contact us if you want to know more!

    [email protected]

    Or visit our website:

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