When We Can We Will


We all have things we want to do, things we want to achieve. Changing career, learning a language, clearing out the spare room. Some of them are big, some of them are small. Some are dreams, some are goals, some are just “stuff”.

We all also have reasons we don’t get round to doing some, or all, of these things. We seem to be under some sort of illusion that there is a time in the near future when we will “get round to it”, a magical time called “when we can, we will”.

I couldn’t count how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of “when I can, I will”; there are a couple of things on my goals list that seem firmly entrenched in that position. No one is perfect, right?!

The main issues here are our perceptions of time and whether we take full ownership for using it. This is evident in how we talk about our ability to achieve the things we tell ourselves we want to do.

If we tell ourselves “when I can”, it indicates that we are waiting for a time, or time itself, to deliver something to us. It doesn’t address what is actually getting in the way of us achieving what we want.

Sometimes people actually use a variation of the phrase that firmly plants them in the past, and traps them there: “If I could, I would”, suggests that the time has been and gone.

So, in order to move forward with goals, dreams and the “stuff” we say is important, we need to do two things.

First, understand what is getting in the way. What are the barriers? What are the distractions? How many of the barriers and distractions have we created ourselves? The good news here is that if they’re of our own making, they are in our control – which means we can do something about them!

I’m not denying that we all encounter external factors that impact our ability to achieve things in life. But there is so much about how we organise our lives that comes down to a matter of choice. It’s a large topic – too much to cover in a short blog – but if you want to know more about organising your life then please get in touch.

Once you’ve done this and organised your life for success, you must tackle the second and most important part. It’s time to ask yourself whether you really want to achieve the goal, dream or the “stuff”?

In reality, we all put off things we don’t actually want to do in the first place. But what about the things that we feel we really do want to achieve, but cannot find the time or have conditional actions attached to them?

“I would… if I could”, “I will… when I can”.

Perhaps, when we use these phrases we would be better replacing them with “I don’t really want to do it”. Some of you will disagree with this statement. You do want to achieve your dreams, your goals and work on your “stuff”, but you simply can’t.

It’s true, not everything comes down to a matter of desire. If you dream about flying, no amount of desire is going to change the laws of physics! If you dream about losing sixty pounds before your holiday in four weeks, you can want it as much as you like, but it’s not going to happen.

But you can do more than you realise.

If time is the issue, no one is going to give you more time. You are going to have the same amount of time today as you do tomorrow. The only thing you are doing whilst waiting for more time is wasting it.

So organise your life for success.

If you’re waiting for conditional goals (“I’ll do it when I’ve achieved X, Y, Z or when A, B, C has happened…”), my advice is to act as if those things will never happen. I have put off doing some things because I’d told myself that I needed, or that I wanted, something else to happen first. But then a month, a year, a decade goes by and the realisation sets in that X, Y, Z hasn’t happened, and so I may as well get on with what I was putting off in the first place.

Or, be honest and say I don’t really want it; drop the dream and move on.

Doing more with your life and building a life worth living should be an exciting journey. It should not be a stressful burden where you feel barely able to cope with your own existence.

It doesn’t mean you can click your fingers and achieve everything you want right now. Some of it will involve a lot of hard work, and maybe it’s the hard work you don’t really want to do!

I still have goals I’m working towards and sometimes the activity to achieve them isn’t fun. But that won’t quell my enthusiasm to live my life on my terms and to work on becoming the best version of me that I can.

What are the three most important things you want to do with your life?

Go do them.

Image credit:  Vilmos Heim | stocksnap.io

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