When to abandon hope

It’s a safe bet at some point in life you’ve sincerely intended to do something worthwhile – but didn’t follow through. Me too!

Perhaps you wanted to lose weight, move more or drink less. Noble aspirations! I bet you were fired up and excited about how wonderful future you would feel – all slim, fit and clear headed. Ahhhhh.

And yet it didn’t happen. You’re still swollen, sluggish and sozzled. No, delete that last bit. You (and I) are still awesome, just not quite as awesome as we would be if, you know, we made a couple of changes.

There are many reasons we struggle to take action but one of the most common ones might surprise you. It’s an excess of hope. 


Present you is excited and thrilled to be finally getting on top of your healthy change. Present you is highly motivated and eager to do whatever’s necessary. Go you!

Present you sincerely believes that future you will share your enthusiasm and remember to take action.

But it’s not true.

Future you may not even remember much about it at all. Truth is, our energy, focus and attention all shift depending on the time of day, what we’re doing and where we are. Future you may not be feeling it.


So what can we do about this? Well future you needs some help. Instead of hoping that they’ll do the right thing at the right time, we need to be a good friend and write our intentions down.

It turns out the humble pencil is powerful. When it comes to changing what we eat, writing what you’ll do instead of hoping you’ll remember can make you 350% more likely to choose well.

So what new habit would make the biggest positive difference to your life? 

What’s one thing you’re going to do to achieve that goal? When will you do it? Get really specific and write down the when and the what. Don’t type it. Write it. Yes, you can use a pen instead of a pencil. Or a crayon. Whatever.

Now create a reminder. You could use your phone or even just put a written reminder in a relevant location, depending on where future you will be later.

Upgrading fragile hope with a written plan activates optimism. You’ll get started. And getting started will take you to where you really want to go.

So grab a pencil and go you!

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