One of the nastiest beasts that keeps people stuck is what I refer to as the “If-Mores.”
We tell ourselves that if only we had more (fill-in-the-blank), we would be able to do something that we long to do.
This can become an excuse not to take action.
Oh well, we say. I guess I just can’t have that.
This is usually accompanied by some major Poor me energy, along with a grumble or two of comparison to others who have the thing we wish we had more of.
Today, I challenge you to begin a journey to banish the If-Mores by doing the following exercise.
Step One: Fill in the following sentences with as many answers as come up for you:
If I had more money, I’d _________________.
If I had more time, I’d _________________.
If I had more space, I’d _________________.
If I had more courage, I’d _________________.
If I had more help, I’d _________________.
If I had more energy, I’d _________________.
If I had more contacts, I’d _________________.
If I had more credentials/education, I’d _________________.
Step Two: Now, here are three approaches to bust through that “If-More” limitation and get into action. Go back through each item on the list and put it through one (or all of!) the following filters:
1. Ask yourself, what do I think I would have or feel if I (blanked)?
For example, if you wrote If I had more money, I’d travel a lot, maybe you think that by traveling, you’d get to experience other cultures, meet new interesting people, get to explore, get out of your everyday headspace, finally have a real break, and feel adventurous.
Then, ask yourself, what else could I do, that doesn’t depend on (money, time, etc.), that could give me those same feelings and “haves”? There are so many ways to experience other cultures, meet new people, explore, and be adventurous that don’t involve expensive travel, or traveling at all.
Find alternative ways to get the feeling—because the feeling is what you really want anyway.
2. Take steps to get the money/time/etc.
No, you can’t wave a magic wand and suddenly have more money or more “free” time. (If you can, pleeeease let me know where I can find one, too!!)
But you can take a baby step—and then another step—and then another step—to work toward getting whatever that thing is.
The key is deciding to take charge and do it, bit by tiny bit, rather than using “lack thinking” as an excuse not to live the life you want, and passively being victim to the If-Mores.
Create a clear, specific vision and commit to it 100%, and then be persistent and determined as you work towards it. If you need it, seek the support of a coach or another professional to help you with that.
If your goal is to carve out time to complete a project or go after a dream, ask, How much time do I need? What would be one little step I could take to begin carving out more time?
3. Find other ways to get or do the (blank) without having more money, time, etc.
You may be making an inaccurate assumption that your (blank) can only be accomplished If-More.
Ask, how else could I arrange to get what I want?
For example, if you want to travel, maybe you can apply for funding to go to a conference in another city (building your credentials/education and contacts, too!!). Maybe you can start setting aside a very small amount of money from each paycheck in a travel fund—and in the meantime, enjoy planning where you will go to make the vision more real. Maybe you can take a small weekend trip (possibly staying with a friend) to give yourself the sense of adventure and getting away without the expense of a longer-distance/-duration trip.
What If-More will you begin to banish today, and how will you do it? Share in the comments below.
2 thoughts on “Are the If-Mores Holding You Back?”
Great post! It reminds me a bit of a video I watched on the New York Times a few months back about breaking habits. It recommended that you focus not on the habit itself, but on identifying the feeling that the habit gives you, and trying to achieve that in other ways. Here it is: http://www.nytimes.com/video/2012/02/16/magazine/100000001362755/how-to-break-the-cookie-habit.html
Thanks, Rachel! I am actually in the middle of reading The Power of Habit (the book by this author) right now–interesting stuff with so much food for thought (cookies, mostly)! It’s fascinating to think about one’s own habit loops and try to identify and isolate the cues/routines/rewards.