When you share your hopes and dreams, do you find yourself saying “if” more times than you can count? You may not even notice its presence, but this two-letter, one-syllable roadblock and the perspective that breeds it can wreak havoc with your life and stop success before it has a chance to begin.

I have been an avid “iffer” much of my life. It was recently brought to my attention as I was describing an “if” scenario that I was sure would cure my stress and bring me happiness. I was advised by a caring listener that I should avoid relying on “ifs” to feel better. Days later, I noticed the prominence of the word in a conversation with someone else. They, too, were allowing this one-syllable roadblock to hold them back from accomplishing something that could change their lives. It annoyed me to such a degree that I vowed to remove it from my vocabulary. I have achieved little progress thus far, but I’m determined to decrease my dependence upon such an unstable word. Let’s identify the ways this word and its perspective may be sabotaging our success and happiness.

1. “If” takes our control away. Saying “if this happens, I will be happy”, assumes that we have no control over the outcome of our lives. It leaves us helpless and hopeless when that one variable doesn’t produce. We have control over how happy we are in the present moment. Change your perspective or make small changes to increase contentment now.


2. “If” keeps happiness out of reach. Being an “iffer” encourages us to continue waiting for something wonderful to fall into our laps. Even when it does, we may not realize it because we are too busy  “iffing” about something we believe to be better. Doing what we can NOW will put us closer to our dreams. Dreaming “if I win the lottery” only nurtures hopelessness. Choose your dreams carefully and don’t base them on small, numbered balls. They just might get busted.

3. “If” cripples us. It does this by forcing us to “sit back and wait.” We become permanent residents on the waiting list at our favorite restaurant, where we are dependent upon someone else to inform us when the wait is over. And there’s no call-ahead seating at this establishment. Stop waiting!

4. “If” reinforces procrastination. It tells us there’s nothing we can do about it right now, so “just put it on the back burner and see what happens.” They say “a watched pot never boils.” This one doesn’t, either.

5. “If” supports passivity and tears down confidence. We are left as followers, allowing variables beyond our control to determine our paths. We don’t all need to be leaders, but we should at least lead our own way.

Let’s stop “iffing” our lives away. It’s time we take control and kick sabotage to the curb with the trash! The glass ceiling is difficult enough to overcome without this guy getting in the way! Saying “if” is like counting on “Lady Luck” to change your life. She has a bad side and isn’t your friend.  However, motivation and perseverance are. Sit at their lunch table more often.

Check out this article from HUFFPOST for additional insight into phrases that promote self-sabotage.