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Why We Say What We Won’t Do (but Still Say It Anyway)

Why We Say What We Won’t Do (but Still Say It Anyway)

Every day we say a lot about what we want and will do.

“I want to pet a cat.”

“I want to buy a house for my parents.”

“I don’t want to be single anymore.”

“I will love you no matter what.”

“I will work harder in the future.”

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    It’s easy to make plans for the future. And we make resolutions all the time. Consider that a full 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.[1] And that a vast majority of relationships (plus many marriages) end as well with break-ups or divorce. The best intentions and the best-laid plans generally speaking end in failure.

    No one intended to lie

    In general, people make these kinds of promises or resolutions with the best intentions. They don’t want to fail; if anything, they want desperately to be right, to improve themselves, and to make their friends and family happy. So even if a resolution doesn’t work out, when they utter them, it’s far from a lie.

      People often speak without thinking. They say what comes to mind, but without really thinking it through. And what usually comes to mind is wishful thinking – the ideal result, not what’s possible and practical. It’s tempting to fantasize about a beautiful and perfect future: a good romantic relationship, to have the approval and respect of your parents, and to have a successful career.

      But how to get what you want is not always clear to you in the moment you utter it. It’s hard to see beyond just the easy, idealized image. The challenges you may come across, the disappointments and sadness you may face – none of that is anywhere to be seen in a daydreaming mind.

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      Wishful thinking often end in crushing disappointment

      The problem is this. Wishful thinking and fantasies will only end in disappointment if you don’t follow through. You disappoint your friends, your family, your boss, and – most importantly – yourself. This can really take a toll on your own psyche and sense of self-worth.

            At a personal level, you’ll have so many unfulfilled dreams and goals. This is an incredibly common situation for people everywhere. As a teenager, you might have dreamed of what your life would be like as an adult: happily married and with a successful and high-earning career by the time you’re 25. But these are two seriously challenging goals that take planning and effort. Many people find themselves alone and in a dead-end job – rather than a career – wondering where they went wrong.

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                On an interpersonal level, making empty promises is hurtful and damaging to relationships. Friendship and healthy family relationships are built on trust. People who want to be your friend take you at your word and expect you to follow through. If you tell your friends that you’ll “be there for them,” but never pick up the phone, they will be hurt and no longer want to hang out. The same is true for family or even professional relationships. You might find it tempting to tell your boss that you’ll finish a major project “by the end of the week,” without considering whether this is plausible. If you are unable to complete the task in the timeframe that you set, it’s not easy to regain your boss’s trust.

                Keep what you want to yourself

                It’s vital to be clear about what you want. Notice when people around you are prone to saying “I want ___” and “I don’t want ____.”

                Kids are very prone to saying all their wants out loud, partly because they don’t have the independence and resources to get it themselves. This is why children and young people are often vague about what they want in the future. They have lots of wants without a concrete plan on how to get them.

                This is one of the challenges of being an adult. As you gain the practical ability to provide for yourself, and as you learn from your mistakes, it’s more and more important to be clear about how you plan to get what you want.

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                  Practice visualizing plans to attain your goals. For example, you might want a pet – everyone shares pictures of their dogs and cats on Instagram! But before you go out to adopt one at the shelter, make sure you visualize all the things you have to do to take care of your pet. Pet-ownership involves: cleaning up after it, house-training it, taking it to the vet, walking it, buying it food, and making sure that it gets plenty of stimulation and exercise.

                  If you want or need a car, think about how much you need to save to purchase the car, the cleaning and maintenance costs, how to pay for regular car insurance, parking costs, et cetera.

                    If you really want something, don’t just say it. Plan for it and do it. Create conditions that make what you want inevitable. Do small things consistently and make it a habit. You’ll amaze yourself and your friends if you constantly work on attaining your goals. Read more about how to follow through your goals here: Why I Can Be the Only 8% of People Who Reach the Goal Every Single Time

                    It’s easy to make or break promises. Set yourself apart from others by being reliable, deliberate, and thoughtful. Match your intentions with planning and action, and you’ll find that you’re happier with yourself and that your relationships are enriched.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    More by this author

                    Brian Lee

                    Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                    Last Updated on January 9, 2019

                    7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next)

                    7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next)

                    Changing your life can be both scary and exciting, but more than anything it’s necessary to grow. Most people come to a point one day where they have to make a change in their life to either grow personally or professionally, but it’s hard to figure out when you’re ready to make that change.

                    So how do you know when it’s time that you’re ready to change your life?

                    The truth is there is at least one sign in front of you that you have been ignoring or not even noticing. This article will take you through 7 signs that shows you that you’re ready to take that next step.

                    1. Your Motivation Is Gone

                    Humans all have something that makes them tick. A goal that makes them wake up at 5am even though they would love to sleep in late. A drive that makes them decline social events, because their jobs need them to stay all night, or maybe it’s the opposite and you attend social events to please the ones close to you.

                    It comes from your motivation to succeed either professionally or personally, but once the drive is missing, then you can’t keep going and you will lose your motivation.

                    If you suddenly can’t find that drive inside you once had, then it can be a sign. It can be your needs or wants that have changed. The important thing is that if you don’t feel the same motivation any longer, then it’s time to do something about it.

                    We’ve been taught to keep going even when it gets tough, but it’s okay to change and redefine yourself. It’s not about giving up. It’s about stopping up and revaluate whether you still want the same things in life.

                    Sometimes you may find out you still want the same time, but the way you’re going about it isn’t working for you.

                    Chris Sacca, an American venture investor, and entrepreneur, bought a cabin in Tahoe’s less-expensive neighbour and moved to the prime skiing and hiking country when he felt his motivation sliding away. He still had the same goals, but described a need for a change in his life to get back the right mind-set:[1]

                    ”I wanted to have the time to focus, to learn the things I wanted to learn, to build what I wanted to build, and to really invest in relationships that I wanted to grow, rather than just doing a day of coffee after coffee after coffee.”

                    If you still want the same things, then do what Chris Sacca did and change your daily routine. If you want new things, then maybe it’s time to quit your job, or make a change in your personal life.

                    It doesn’t mean that you have failed. It simply means you are ready to focus on what matters: You.

                    Find your passion and motivation back to live a better life with these tips:

                    Want to Know What Truly Motivates You, and How to Always Stay Motivated?

                    2. You’re Unhappy at Least Once a Day Every Day

                    We tend to ignore unhappiness because it’s normal to get upset or feel a bit down. It’s true. It is normal, but if you feel unhappy every day and usually without even knowing exactly why – it’s a sign.

                    A task, a job or a relationship can be both giving and draining — most often both. While we have to accept a certain struggle, we don’t have to accept being unhappy.

                    Here’s a little test you can do easily:

                    Take a look at what you do every day, and take a look at the things you have assigned yourself. How many of these things do you do for yourself? And how many do you do to please someone else?

                    Once and a while, we need to take a step back and look at our to-do list. Are you dealing with a to-do list of others, or your own to-do list? There is a difference.

                    This can easily be misunderstood, but you need to remember it’s not about being selfish or lazy. If you’re unhappy on a daily basis, then you can’t make other people happy in the long run either.

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                    If you’re unhappy every day, then it’s time to recognize it as a sign that you’re doing something wrong in your life when it comes to your own happiness. It might have seemed right before, but it’s clearly not doing you any good anymore. You’re ready for a change.

                    You can learn how to be happy again from this article:

                    How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

                    3. The People Around You Are Changing

                    The grass is far from always greener on the other side of the street (at least most of the time), and while we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the people around us on a daily basis, it’s okay to take a look once a while.

                    The people you surround yourself with often reflect back on yourself. If you’re going through a phase where most of your friends have been going out all the time, and then they suddenly start to focus on work and family, it might be a sign.

                    This by no means imply you should change your life if you’re still feeling fulfilled and good about it. But if you turn your head and start noticing a change around you and it makes you rethink things, it’s probably a sign of you being ready to change as well.

                    4. You’re Bored

                    A healthy life shouldn’t be all fun and games, but if you’re starting to feel bored on a daily basis, then it could be a sign. There’s a difference between waking up on a Sunday and not knowing what to do, and waking up every day and feel bored.

                    Maybe you don’t feel challenged in your job any longer, or your normal idea of fun is no longer giving you the enjoyment it once did before.

                    Take the time to check with yourself. Are you just bored? Or do you need something more in your life?

                    Humans are run by habits and routines, which makes it tough to change them. It also makes us stay in bad situations much longer than needed.

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                    It’s always hard in the beginning but you can do it! Take a leap of faith and change your life.

                    5. You’re Stressed

                    Stress is probably one of the most common signs that you’re in need of a change, but it can also be one of the signs that can be the hardest to react upon. Because when you’re stressed, you automatically feel anxious about making a change.

                    It can be hard to deal with stress, but luckily there are many different types of solutions to deal with it. It often comes down to trying different ways and figuring out what works for you.

                    Tim Ferriss notices that:[2]

                    “More than 80% of the world-class performers I’ve interviewed have some form of daily mediation or mindfulness practice.”

                    Take a look at this to find what’s best for you to relieve stress:

                    The Healthy and Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress

                    But sometimes all you need to do is to figure out what is stressing you out and whether it’s worth it. If the stress comes down to being a sign, then you need to accept it and create a change in your life, because you’re clearly ready.

                    6. You’re Scared

                    Everybody lives with fears. They’re afraid of losing someone. They’re afraid of losing their job. They’re afraid of making the wrong decisions. They’re afraid of a lot of things because life is pretty scary.

                    The trick is to recognize whether the fear drives you or brings you down. It’s okay to be scared, but it’s not okay to live in constant fear.

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                    If you’re scared about a specific thing or just feel anxious on a daily basis, it’s time to get a better understanding of where it comes from and also see it as a sign.

                    When you’re already scared, it can be tough to consider making a change in your life, but look past the fear and know that you can choose to stay in this state of mind or work through it.

                    Try to visualize a future where the fear is no longer present and use it as a tool to make the hard decision now and change your life for the better.

                    This guide written by the author of Fight the Fear – How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life will help you conquer your fears:

                    How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

                    7. There’s No Stimulation in Your Life

                    Humans need stimulation in their daily lives because we will feel scared, stressed and unhappy at times. If you can tell that you no longer have that stimulation in your life, then it’s a sign that you’re ready for a change.

                    What drove you in the past or got your heart pounding faster once might not do the same for you anymore. Before you get to the previous mentioned state of minds, you can get ahead of things and recognize this lack of stimulation as soon as possible as a sign.

                    The Bottom Line

                    All changes are hard and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but we need to start seeing change as a positive rather than (as we often do at first) a negative. Changing your life can be tough, but it’s worth it.

                    Once you decided to change your life it won’t be easy in the beginning. Try to use a phrase Chris Sacca used when he was going through the same:[3]

                    ”I had a phrase I kept repeating in my head over and over again, which was, ‘Tonight, I will be in by bed…”

                    This will help you remember whatever you’re feeling right now is temporary. But if you don’t find the courage to make a change, then the negative feelings and emotions you’re dealing with won’t be.

                    Featured photo credit: Joshua Ness via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    [1]Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans, page 165
                    [2]Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans, page 149
                    [3]Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans, Page 167

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