Overcoming The “One Day I’ll…” Syndrome

| April 2, 2014

One-Day-I'll-SyndromeEDITORIAL – On a recent trip to Hawaii, I overheard a conversation an elderly couple was having with the flight attendant. For their 60th anniversary, their children had given them an all expenses paid, two-week vacation to the Island of Oahu. It would be their first time in Hawaii, a place they had always wanted to visit.

Like you, I’m sure, I thought their story was touching and being sent to Hawaii was a truly thoughtful gift from their kids. I hope they had a great time there. I really do. But, I can’t help but think about how much more they would have enjoyed it when they were younger.

I mean, let’s face it, climbing to the top of Diamond Head, swimming in Haunama Bay, or even just walking along the beach at Waikiki are all things most 80-year-olds are not going to do. And while there may be many legitimate reasons they never went when they were younger, I can’t help but wonder if they’re simply victims of what I call the “One Day I’ll…” Syndrome.

“One day, I’ll…” How many of us have spoken those words only to have them never come true? I know I certainly have. “I’ll do it when I graduate from school,” or “When I pay off all the bills,” or “When the kids are grown,” or “I’ll do it when…”

Basically, what we are saying is that we are going to do “it” once things are just right. But, that day usually never comes. It’s not that we don’t intend to follow through. We do. We just allow life to get in the way. Life is funny like that, huh?

Before we know it, a day turns into a week, a week into a month, and a month into a year. In no time flat, we are ten years down the road, wondering what happened to all of the time.

A great example of this is the story of the eighty-five year old couple that had been engaged since age twenty. They’d come to a young preacher and asked him to marry them.

He replied that he’d be glad to, but had to know one thing: “Why did you wait so long before you decided to tie the knot?”

“Well,” they replied, “We were waiting for everything to be just right before the wedding, but after sixty-five years, we’ve come to the conclusion that, that day will never come.”

As funny as that story is, it’s amazing to me how many people actually live their lives this way. What I’ve found though, with very few exceptions, things are never going to be perfect. There will always be some wrinkles. That’s just life.

So, if you are waiting for everything to be just right before you set out on a goal, you’re likely to be waiting a long time. Usually, it’s best to follow the advice of Nike and “Just do it.” Is there more to it than that? Sure there is.

But, I can tell you from experience, nothing, and I do mean nothing, takes the place of taking action. Without it, nothing happens.

Well, there you have it. Those are my thoughts on the “One Day I’ll…” Syndrome. Now, I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts about it? Let me hear from you in the comments section just below. Thanks!

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42 Comments on "Overcoming The “One Day I’ll…” Syndrome"

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  1. Rick Pinzon says:

    If there is anyone who truly understands the, “One day I’ll”, syndrome is you Jay! Great article! I’ll be passing this one on! Semper Fi, Rick

  2. Shannon Pierce says:

    This hits home with me, I have said those very words, “One day I’ll”. My husband and I have made a promise, this year, once a month (hopefully more)we will choose a goal from our list and set out to achieve it, within that month… regardless of your busy schedule, Life Will Happen. We just want to make sure we are there when it does;) Thank you Jay, for this reminder. Have a Blessed Day!

  3. Ross Quintana says:

    Very True, a great example is having kids. I have 6 and many people wait to have their first one until things are ready. Well, when it comes to kids, even if you think you are ready you aren’t. You have them and then you make things work. Sometimes people wait and wait and they never are ready. If you are alive you are ready to do anything. Seize the day. Great post!

    • Jay Platt says:

      Thanks Ross! Perfect example.

    • Annie Marie Peters says:

      Hi Ross! It’s funny you mention this, because I have to admit: I’m guilty of ‘One Day I’ll…’ when it comes to children. My husband and I do want to have kids, but I can feel myself waiting for when the ‘time is right’. I’m very inspired by Jay’s article today. Perhaps the time is right NOW.

  4. Annie Marie Peters says:

    Another very inspiring article, Jay. Right now, at this very moment, we are as ready as we will ever be. In the case with the elderly couple travelling to Hawaii, sometimes other factors come into play, like financial situations. Depending on where you are in life, it may not always be feasible to throw caution to the wind and put a 2 week vacation to Hawaii on the credit card. However, we do need to stop living life like there is always a presumption of ‘tomorrow’. Sometimes there isn’t. The other question to consider is: What is holding you back today? Are you using ‘One Day I’ll…’ as an excuse to NOT do something?

  5. Angel H says:

    One more time Jay is reading my mind!!
    What a motivator!!

  6. George says:

    This is something many of us do without even being aware of it. Thank you for bringing it to light, Jay.

  7. David M says:

    Simply Awesome! I think we have all been guilty of this at some point in our lives. It’s easier to make an excuse than a goal that you’ll stick to and achieve. I hope more younger people read this and take it to heart before life passes them by. Thanks Jay.

  8. cindy Richardson says:

    You really made me stop and think. Great article Jay!! Besides everything is better if you act on it when it first occurs to you, before you complicate it with details, right?!

  9. Mary Alejandro says:

    Jay, what an interesting concept. I finally convinced my husband of 40 years that this was no longer acceptable to me. We have started to take vacations (even if they are small ones) and guess what he is enjoying them. It was always maybe later when the kids are grown, then we cannot leave the pets alone. Kids are grown and encourage him to do it, the pets always have a place to stay, so as always your stories or posts always come at a great time..

  10. Cara Tomlinson says:

    Certainly guilty of this one. One day I’ll move back home….however, I have decided the day has come and am beginning to look for a place now. 25 years has been long enough for this south Georgia girl 🙂

  11. Gene Dasher SR says:

    This is so true Jay, been guilty many times, hope to improve on it

  12. hope bishop says:

    I’m definitely guilty of this. Its something I will change. I don’t want to look back and see all that I’ve missed out on.

  13. Bob spSutherland says:

    So true jay, I need to take this advice myself. It is so easy to get caught up in our busy lives. We need to remember to enjoy our lives as well and take time to do the things we enjoy. After all, is’nt that the reason get up and go to work everyday.

  14. Missy Parkos says:

    I love this.. especially this line “things are never going to be perfect. There will always be some wrinkles. That’s just life.” That. Is. Just. Life. Thank you Jay, love reading your stuff. After I read this Rich and I signed up for Salsa dance lesson.. because we always said we wanted to do it and never did. 🙂 Now we did 🙂

  15. Stephanie says:

    Good point!! I’m always telling my husband this very thing!

  16. Dyana Ellis says:

    We were guilty of this, too, until we met some folks who were in their dotage and just beginning to “finally” travel. We realized that we wanted to STILL be traveling at that age, not just getting started. Hope your readers take your message to heart, they’ll be glad they did!

  17. Regrets, you hit the nail on the head. I catch myself saying ” I never really wanted to do that anyway.” That is not the truth. I have never left the US. I have been to Hawaii once! I haven’t seen Washington D.C., or Niagara Falls. Peru or Switzerland, Germany or France. WHY…….. Thanks Jay for opening my thoughts.

  18. Michael says:

    The “right time “is now!!

  19. Trevor Coutts-Bailey says:

    It’s your destiny to feel good! Do it today and feel good from doing it.

    If you think things are easier when you just give in and quit, then think again!

    Never quit, never ever just give in! Go and make today your day and do what you keep putting off!

    Should we settle for: I can’t, I should but I didn’t! No no no!

    Lets turn I Can’t into I Can into I DID! We do this through passion and hard work, never ever quitting!

    One day I will become a motivational speaker: And please believe me if this happens for me then I truly believe things can happen for anyone!


    I love the feeling of finding a good article that’s inspires me to write.

    Thanks JAY

    England UK