I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want one thing or another to be different in their lives.
If only I…
- had the credentials (I think I need),
- was 5 pounds lighter
- had a partner
- had more money
- had more time
- had more followers
- had a nanny
- hired a personal assistant
- had perfect health
- had the body I dream of
- lived closer to family…
The list could go on and on.
This small sample of wants and desires are things people think would transform their lives in some meaningful way once obtained.
You are not alone if you are ‘one of those people’ – join me and everyone else. It’s a big club.
Recently, I caught myself ruminating in these thought patterns:
“If only I had a life partner to support my day-to-day.”
“If only I had more money I could run my business exactly as I want.”
“If only I had the time to do all the hobbies I love.”
These thoughts are not helpful.
Now, don’t get me wrong – having goals and wanting to grow are meaningful and Marie Forleo shares constructive ways to goal set.
However, the “If only…” mindset comes from a place of ‘lack’ and slingshots you out of the present and into the future.
I have a simple and practical way to get out of the rabbit hole of longing and wishing for things to be different.
What I have noticed is that once we achieve something, our brains have a tendency to almost immediately move onto the next goal or desired outcome.
Take weight loss as an example:
“If only I lost 10 pounds, I’d fit into my old pants and be so much more confident and happy.”
Imagine 6 months has passed and the goal is met – yay! Now, “If only I could lose just 5 more pounds…”
Having goals and meeting them is fantastic, amazing and worthy of celebration! To be clear, they CAN and DO transform life in meaningful ways.
When I find myself in the rut of dwelling on my list of “If only… If only… If only…” I catch myself and do a very simple step to get my brain back into the present moment and out of the future-focused hysteria.
It only takes two minutes.
I SAY THIS TO MYSELF:
“Look how far you’ve come!”
That’s right, it’s not a question. It is a second-person command. I have a short conversation with myself:
“Jessica – STOP! – glance back in time and recognize how far you’ve come!”
As I do, I take stock of all of the wins that got me to where I am right now. I appreciate that at one point in time my “If only…” was to be exactly where I am RIGHT NOW. I appreciate my successes, relish in them and give myself a big ‘ol high five.
Instead of jumping straight to the next wants and desires, I look in admiration of all my hard work, dedication, and focus. I have come a long way. I am certain you have too.
The New Year – 2020 – is just around the corner. At this time, people set goals for the coming year and fix themselves forward on all the things they wish to change and create.
While you goal set and envision your next 365 days, don’t forget this one simple yet critical step, to look how far you’ve come!
See you in 2020.