How One Simple Phrase May Be Killing Your Dreams

hands in the sun in the shape of a heart

One day.

Two powerful words that bring about unfulfilled dreams, goals, and passions.

People say “I’ll do it one day”. And years later they look back, and one day never came.

Have you ever said “one day”?

You see, those are two very dangerous words. So many goals, dreams, and passions have never been fulfilled because of those two words.

So why do you and I say it?

Why We Say “One Day”

It’s all luck

Some people believe that their life is determined by outside events.

Things happen. It’s just luck. They don’t realize that they have any power or determination in their lives. Those who are successful were just lucky.

So they spend their life waiting for that “one day”, hoping to get a piece of that luck.

They wait for those special circumstances to arrive that bring them success for their dreams or goals.

Does that reflect you?

It’s a cop-out

Others use it as a cop-out, as an excuse.

It takes a lot of work to pursue a dream or a passion or your goals. Instant successes often come after years of hard work.

It’s a lot easier to sit in front of the TV, watch YouTube, or play video games than to sacrifice short-term entertainment for long-term gains.

So they say “one day”.

Are you using it as a cop-out?

There’s no time

Others are genuine – they want to pursue it – but they just feel like life is swamped. They have no time.

So they say “one day”, when I have time.

Are you waiting till you have the extra time?

It’s not the “right” time

Or they wait for that one day when circumstances will be right. When the conditions are optimal. When they have enough money.

They will do it then.

Are you waiting for the perfect moment?

It’s uncomfortable

Others say “one day” because if they act, it will take them out of their comfort zone.

They feel secure, safe, and comfortable where they are at. Pursuing that dream will take them out of that feeling of security and safety they are in.

So they stay where they are and say “One day”.

Are you afraid of leaving your comfort zone?

Other People Will Talk

Some are afraid of what other people will say.

If they step out, people will criticize them and what they do (it makes them look bad when others step out and they don’t). People may think what they are doing is stupid.

So, instead of standing up and dealing with the criticism, they say “One day”.

Are you afraid of what others will say?

Afraid of risk and failure

Others are afraid of risk and failure.

They want to do it – but it’s risky. It might fail. They may lose friendships.

People may say “I told you so.”

So instead of risking succeeding, they don’t risk at all (in a sense, still have the failure because they never tried), and say “One day”.

Are you not acting because of a fear of risk and failure?

They don’t know what their dreams and goals are

Others don’t act because they don’t really even know what their dreams and goals are.

They may have a vague impression, but nothing specific. They’ve never taken the time to think about it and write them down.

Do you know exactly what you want to pursue and have it written down?

One Day Never Comes

I’m sure there are other reasons why people use these two words – but it all results in the same end result:

One day never comes.

Those who wait for “one day”, for the magical day to happen, for the right circumstances to come, for the right amount of money to appear, usually wait forever.

It doesn’t come.

And then what happens?

20 or 30  years down the road these people look back and see their dreams, goals, and passions not pursued and not fulfilled.

So what happens?

Excuses Appear

Usually, they make excuses.

They may talk to their friends about how their goals were too high anyway, circumstances were never right, or other people were lucky.

Often these people find themselves living in mediocrity – and then try to pretend that is what they wanted the whole time.

They put down those who step out and pursue their dreams and goal – because it makes them look bad.

When you wait for one day, one day never comes.

So what do we do?

7 Steps to move toward success

First, know what your goals and dreams are, and write them down.

Take time to think about what your goals and dreams are. What do you want to pursue? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years from now?

Then write it down. Look at your goals every day. Post them somewhere you can see it.

Some even recommend writing out your goals every day.

For more help, see Brian Tracy’s steps on goal setting.

Second, you have to take responsibility for yourself.

It’s not circumstances. It’s not other people. It’s you.

You control your decisions. You are where you are today because of the decisions you made and the reactions you chose.

Yes, circumstances happen to us that are outside our control, but we determine how we respond to them.

O = E + R

Jack Canfield says in The Success Principles that O = E + R.

The Outcome that you get comes from the Event and your Response to it.

You may not be able to change the event, but you can always change the outcome by changing your response.

You choose

Where you head now, from this moment on, is determined by your decisions and how you choose to react to the events in your life.

Make the decision that you will take responsibility for yourself and your reactions. You will not blame others, luck, or circumstances. You make the choice.

Third, stop waiting for circumstances to be right.

They never will be.

If you decided to drive from Atlanta to Seattle but waited till you were sure there was no road construction, no accidents, no chance of bad weather, no bad traffic, no chance for a fender bender, you would never leave.

Circumstances will never be perfect. You just have to act.

Fourth, ask – “How can I?”

How can I make this happen? How can I move forward? What can I do?

It doesn’t matter if it looks impossible. Ask the question anyway.

So many dreams have never happened because people assumed it was “impossible”, so they never tried. They never opened themselves up to the possibility.

The mind is very powerful – but it follows our lead. When you tell it “I can’t” or “it’s impossible” it will tell you reasons why you are correct.

If you believe it is possible and ask, “How can I?”, it will help you come up with possibilities of how you can.

Mind storming

Brian Tracy suggests we mind storm.

To mind storm, you write out your goal in the form of a question. Then you write 20 answers to that question. It will get hard, but you don’t stop till you have 20 answers or more.

Could we get rid of prisons?

David J. Schwartz,  in his book The Magic of Thinking Big, discusses a time when he was talking to a group of businessmen and asked them to come up with some ideas of what it would take to get rid of prisons in 10 years.

The men just laughed at that and said it was impossible – there was no way.

Schwartz asked them to just humor him – if it was possible – how would we do it?

The men agreed to try and started coming up with ideas – and the ideas began to flow.

Whether the ideas could have made it happen or not – I don’t know– I’m sure some of them could have helped – but the fact is, these men opened up their minds to the possibility of it happening, and the ideas flowed.

Fifth, Make a plan.

As you mind storm and ask yourself “How can I” write down your answers, and turn it into an actual plan.

Break down your goal using your ideas. What steps can you take to get there? Write it all out. Break them down as much as possible.

Write it out.

Sixth, Act.

Act on your plan and do it.

Take a step every day toward your goal. If you get overwhelmed, just focus on one step at a time.

Reading 40+ books a year may seem daunting, but if you think about it in daily steps – you read 30 minutes or more a day, it becomes more feasible.

Even if it’s 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes is a lot better than 0 minutes, especially when you add it up over a month’s and year’s time.

Seventh, “Don’t get good, get done”

Ken Courtright says this phrase frequently in his podcasts.

What does it mean?

It means things don’t have to be perfect. The book you are writing doesn’t have to be perfect. The software doesn’t have to be bug-free.

This does not mean you do a crappy job, but if you wait till everything is perfect, you will never finish.

As Kevin Kruse says in 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, it’s better to be done and shipped than perfect.


So what’s the next step you are going to take?

Are you going to wait for that “one day”? Or are you going to take action?

Are you going to keep making excuses, or are you going to take the steps to reach your goals?

The choice is yours. It’s in your hands. You are never too old or too young to start.

I’d love to hear from you: What goal or dream are you going to start pursuing or acting on? What steps are you going to take?

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