Words That Are Delaying Your Life

Too often we blindly dismiss aspirations and goals into the hands of our future-selves, hoping one day we will be in a better place to take them on. Realistically, we need to stop and decide if the item is even worth having on our to-do list. The first step in this process is realizing when we are conveniently trying to delay a to-do to our future self. Here is a list of dangerous words on my radar which will let you know when you are nearing the progress halting state of putting things off.

Maybe

Maybe I will start reading this weekend. Maybe I will get outside and go explore a new area. Maybe I will get back into painting. Whatever it is you are thinking of doing, it certainly holds some sort of value to you and would be meaningful to start or finish. However, attaching the parasitic maybe to it devalues the thought. We get a great feeling of what could be done and then immediately dismiss it to the land of OK ideas, where nothing ever happens. Next time you catch this mischievous M word come out of your mouth, examine the thought. Is this really worth doing? Will it provide fulfillment? If yes, then address the thought for what it is, and commit to leaving maybe at home. If the answer is no, then just forget about it!

Try

No one else is available, I guess I could try to do it. There is no way I will be able to do it, but I will try. Give me one more try. Try breaks down into two options – Option A: do it whole heartedly – Option B: accept that A probably will not work. When we mentally accept option B we split our resources between the two, taking away from our effectiveness in either, so pick only the best option and proceed. And in the event option A does not work, there will surely be valuable learnings for the next go around. When you catch this troublesome “t” word roll of your tongue ask yourself if completing this task would leave you with a heightened sense of fulfillment. If yes, then proceed only with option A. 

Next Week

Sounds like a great item for next week. Next week works better for me. Push it to next week, I won’t be as busy. Are we delaying this item because we do not want to do it? Are we just feeling lazy right now? Is the task worthwhile? Chances are, this extra bit of thought will iron the details out. Either the task is not worth your time, or it needs to be done. Ask yourself, is it really something I need to put off to next week or can I just do it now? Will next week actually be any better, or that just wishful thinking? Think past the small annoyance and embrace the fulfillment at the end of the task. If “next week” just slipped into the conversation, examine the idea and remember there will always be a next week but never another now.

Draw a great big circle on your wall at home and at the office (Sharpie or spray paint not recommended, but certainly an option). Slash a line through the middle and place these doubt laden words in the center. These words make their way into sentences when we haven’t placed enough thought into the situation. Examine the idea and either toss it, or fully engage the thought. As you go about your day, encourage others to hold you accountable to your big circle-slash thing. Think of it as the swear jar for progression. No more maybe trying next week—only getting to what matters most now. 

- Calvin Simpson (HAPPFUL founder)