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Dont Just Hope - Decide!
As the story goes, a single college-age guy went to the airport one day to pick up a friend. As he waited for his friend to come off the plane, he noticed a man hurrying through the crowd, calling to the woman and two children standing next to him. The woman and two children were calling to the man as well. The man rushed up to the woman, took her in his arms, looked into her eyes, said "It's been too long!" and gave her a big kiss. As he bent down to hug each of his children he said "I've missed your faces so much."
As this touching scene was happening right in front of him, the young man couldn't help but watch the moment. The older man caught his gaze, and in an embarrassed tone, the young man said, "I'm sorry for staring, it's just such a beautiful scene. You must have been gone a long time."
"Yes, I was," he answered, "two whole days!"
The young man responded with "Wow, I sure hope I have a family like that someday."
To which the older man replied, "Don't just hope, decide."
Don't just hope, decide.
Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with hope. It's a good thing. Losing hope is a bad thing. Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
It's just that too many of us only hope things will change, get better, etc., and then that is all we do. Faith may move mountains, but you had better bring a shovel. We hope, but we don't do anything, we don't decide.
Just hoping and not deciding to take the necessary actions leads to excuses. Excuses such as the worn out words, "Well , I tried." Once you decide, however, there are only two possible outcomes. You either get what you were aiming at or you create good reasons (excuses) why you did not succeed.
Instead of hoping you can get in better shape this year, decide to get in better shape this year.
Don't just hope you will become a better parent or spouse this year, decide you will become a better parent or spouse this year.
You could hope to save some money this year, or could decide to save some money this year.
Don't just hope ... well, you get the point.
Once you have decided, then it's time to make a specific plan for how you are going to get there. Making a plan does not have to be a complex and burdensome task. Making a plan can be as simple as saying, "I'm here, I want to be there." Then comes step one, step two, step three, step four and so on.
I know that may sound overly simplistic to you. I guess I could complicate it with lots of squishy psychobabble, but why?
You might not know what the steps are, and that's fine. If you don't know what the steps are, don't use that as an excuse. Find out. Read a book on the subject. Find someone who has done or is doing what you want to do and find out how they did it. Hire a counselor or coach to guide and motivate you.
Once you get started, watch out for three of the deadliest words that can derail you in a hurry. These three deadly words are "Just this once ..." Just this once I'll not go to the gym, watch television instead of listening to my spouse or child, spend the money set aside for saving, etc.
The problem with "just this once" is it rarely stays just this once. Just this once becomes just one more time, a new pattern is set, and pretty soon you forget all about what you were wanting to do.
Hearing yourself say "just this once" needs to become a big red flag of warning to you. So the next time you are tempted to give in to just this once, turn these words on their head. Tell yourself that "just this once" I'll stay consistent and keep going with the plan.
Remember how simple it can be. I'm here, I want to be there. One, two, three four.
Don't just hope, decide.
Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.
Illustration by Kevin Van Aelst for The Chronicle Review - Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription)
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