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June 18, 2009

Be One of the Few Who Do

Crossing-the-finish-linejpg Last night I felt inspired to ask a random question on twitter: "Wondering: do you have goals or just wishes?" It seemed to have struck a chord with people. There's a wide gulf between wishes and goals, my friends. A very wide gulf indeed.

This week I'm working on fine tuning my future plans. I journal out my vision of my "ideal life" in as detailed a manner as possible. Where I'd like to live, what it will be like to entertain, what I'll feel like, what I'll wear, where we'll vacation, what we'll do for fun, what we'll do for fulfillment. Details. Tiny details. These aren't wishes. These are plans.

How sad to have a book of wishes? You're tapping into vastly different emotions when you conjure up these images and categorize them as wishes. Think about it for a moment. Close your eyes and "hope" you get to work safely this morning. Hope traffic is easy. Hope your engine runs smoothly. Now....what did hope feel like? Did you feel an undercurrent of anxiety? Stress? Did you also see yourself getting to your destination in a less than positive mood?

With "hope" we are leaving the possibility in our minds that this thing we want might not happen. That doesn't feel good. Hope leaves the option of failure.

Let's try it again. Only this time "expect" to get to work just fine. Imagine the sun shining, you're listening to something great on the radio, traffic may be busy but things are going fine. Imagine yourself walking in and being greeted by your coworkers.

Now that's a much better day. Was the traffic, the weather or your office any different? No. But you were. You expected a good day, a great drive and a positive experience. And guess what? You gave yourself one. You're in control of much more than you realize, just use that noggin of yours correctly.

There's a physiology that accompanies stress and one that is present when we expect good things. When you're anxious or "down" about something you use your body differently. But when we are confident and sure of ourselves we stand straight. We feel good inside. We carry our bodies in a way that tells our minds to feel good.

{Don't believe any of this? Have you ever been to a party or a friends house and observed how confidently someone entered the room? They didn't speak a word to you yet, but you were drawn to their body language. They seemed at ease. There is absolutely a mind/body connection going on there.}

And the results are vastly different when we tell our minds to "expect" things. What if you were headed in for surgery. No one wants the surgeon who "hopes" things go well. That guy is nervous inside. I want the surgeon who expects the procedure to go well. He walks taller, comes off more confidently and has steadier hands. You might say this is a subtle difference in language and you'd be right. But just pay attention to how you talk to yourself. If you're wishing or hoping for a lot rather than planning or expecting, you might need a little adjustment.

6a00d8341c630a53ef00e54fb69bbf8834-800wi Sports your thing? Don't you want to back the team that expects to win? The ones who see themselves as winners? Champions? They think differently. Walk differently. Play differently. In their mind, they already see the victory as theirs. These guys aren't in the locker room "hoping" to luck out on the field. In their minds, they've made plans to win.

So you see..there's a big difference between wishes and goals. I don't see my journal as a book of wishes. If I did I'd sooner burn it than read it. A book of dreams, while it may seem sweet to some, seems like wasted time and emotion to me. Why waste time on wishes? It seems sad to me. I'm authoring a book of plans for my future. I'm deciding what I'd like the rest of my life to look like, smell like, feel like.

Don't "wish" you'll see Prague, Paris or Portugal. Why bother? Instead, make plans to see them. Expect to spend time there. Look forward to your experiences.

Likewise, don't "wish" for success, or a spouse, or a child, or a new career. Expect it. Plan for it. Trust me, the moment this goes from "hope" (which feels anxious on the inside) to "expectation" (which feels pretty darn good) you'll start to figure out ways to make those plans happen. You'll act differently, walk differently, talk differently. Life will be better if you'll just stop wishing and and start planning.

Now...go out there and expect to have a great day. And please, throw that book of wishes away and start making plans. Your life will be better for it.

{Image via The Brewster}

What the beautiful people are saying...

thanks for the inspiration! i'm planning on buying a new journal today to start my 'book of plans' and i'm excited about everything already...

Amen sister! I particularly like your sentence, "Hope leaves the option of failure." It does, it does, it does. Sitting next to it on the same shelf is "Trying to." I'm trying to lose weight, I'm trying to stop smoking, I'm trying to manage my time better --all of those try to statements leave open the option of failure and I think telling yourself that you're trying to do something is really disempowering.

Don't try, just do! The very second you say "I don't smoke, I'm losing weight, I'm managing my time better" is the same moment that you are doing those things for real.

You got me all fired up with this post --again-- Franki, thanks!

yes indeed, if you sit in a chair and 'try' to walk across the room you surely will keep your arse right there.

get up, do it, know that it will happen.

Someone probably has posted this already (maybe?), but one of my favorite quotations right now is from Antoine de Saint Exupery:
"A goal without a plan is just a wish."

It's on my computer, and it motivates me everyday.

Hi Franki,

I am a sometime lurker on your lovely blog. The last few posts of yours have been great, but his particular one is truly inspirational. We all know that we need "action" instead of just a daydream to fulfill our dreams. But, one easily tends to forget and let go...especially since it is so easy to procrastinate and inaction feeds on itself. So such a reminder is always a much needed whack on the head. :) Your previous post about a "plan" has also inspired me and I will start this Sunday. To DO: get myself a great journal that is so wicked that I will want to fill it up with my goal list (to be checked off).

Something to say, gorgeous?

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