“Once I have more money in the bank, then I’ll be happy.”
“Once I lose twenty pounds, then I’ll be satisfied.”
“Once my schedule frees up a bit, then I’ll find time to work on that business idea.”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever let one of these gems fall out of your mouth *awkwardly raises one hand while using the other to finish typing this sentence*
I’ve been there, too.
But what I’ve come to realize–and what I hope to show you here–is that I was waiting for things outside of myself, and possibly out of my control, to dictate how I felt or acted.
I wanted to feel more excited about my job, but I was waiting for someone or something to make it more exciting.
I wanted to feel better about the number that stared back at me in my bank account, but I was waiting for that number to rise before I decided to.
I wanted to feel good about the guy I saw in the mirror every morning, but I was waiting for a 6-pack to show up before I decided to do so.
If you see yourself in the statements you just read, let me tell you something, my friend:
You are holding your happiness hostage.
Living with these ultimatums make it impossible to find even the slightest sliver of joy and content.
You are suffering from “Once_______, Then _______” Syndrome.
You may tell yourself that you have high standards or that you won’t settle for less than you’re striving for, but…
You will never be “good enough” with a mindset that never celebrates the good in what you already have.
Deciding to only be happy, satisfied, or content with some improved future version of yourself discredits the current badass that you are. It takes away from all the great things that you’ve created up to this point in your life. But don’t you worry, I’ve got the perfect prescription for the syndrome you’ve been carrying around.
Gratitude Now. Greatness Later.
Until you start shining a light on the amazing things that you have in your current existence, you’ll never be able to get to where you’re trying to go. This is what happens when your focus is only on the future and what you want to have in it:
God, the Universe, or whoever it is that you think put you here gets a sense that you can never be satisfied. They’re willing to give you a whole lot, but when they see you drooling over everything except for what you already have, they realize that you’re hard to please.
Why would they give you more if you’re giving out vibes that say, “Eh, this is cool, but I’d be really happy if I had 10 more of these, a million more of those, and 15 fewer pounds”?
They can’t win if you can never be satisfied.
So, rather than getting all googly eyed over your future fortune, set aside time to be grateful for what you have in this moment.
Do This Every Morning and Watch Your World Change
Every day, before you go out to take on the world, sit down and write down three statements that all begin with the words, “I am grateful for…”. Pick three things that you currently have that make you feel good about your life. Don’t overcomplicate this little task and start writing poems on me. Just get to the point, feel the gratitude in each statement, then move on.
Here’s a simple example to get your mind flowing for tomorrow morning (because I know you’re going to do this the next time you wake up, right???):
I am grateful for this cup of coffee that will wake me up and taste so good.
I am grateful for another morning that I get to wake up in the same bed as my wife and dog.
I am grateful for Christmas songs on the radio on the way to work.
Do this for an entire year and you’ll rack up 1,095 statements that reflect how amazing your current reality is.
Once you start enjoying the life that you’re actually living–not the one that you want so badly but can’t seem to make happen–you’ll find that the things that you used to wish for will start popping up.
That’s the beauty of gratitude: it reciprocates. Being happy and content with the present makes it easier to welcome an awesome future because you’ve shown some appreciation for the things that have already come your way.
So, if you’re going to suffer from “Once ____________, Then ___________” Syndrome, make sure it looks a little something like this:
“Once I show gratitude for the life that I currently have, Then I’ll create the amazing future I’ve always dreamt of.”
Greatness comes from gratitude, not the other way around.
Your Monday’s Don’t Have to Suck
Grab your copy of the Moving Past Mediocre Reflect and Direct Exercise to:
- Look back on each week as it passes and realize how truly AMAZING your life is.
- Look ahead to each upcoming week knowing EXACTLY what you’re going to conquer.
- Get rid of those Sunday Blues.