If Only

I’m prone to the psychology of misjudgment (essential reading linked) and my most common trap is “if only”. A few that have visited me in 2012…

If only…

  • I had a lighter bike
  • I lived in a smaller house
  • I had less…
  • I had more…
  • She joined our team
  • My kids would behave better
  • The world was more like me
  • I was a better, faster, leaner, more beautiful…

Whenever I catch myself obsessing on an “if only” point, a red flag goes up. The next step is to dig deeper and ask “then what.”

  • If I had a lighter bike then… I’d climb faster.
  • If I climbed faster then… not sure (dead end)!

Most of my “if only” thoughts fizzle out after two, or three, steps.


August 11th is the end of my athletic year so I’ve started my annual review precess. 

Pulling out last year’s review I am reminded of my Key Five (Train, Write, Marriage, Kids, Learn). I compare my Key Five against my “then what” replies, which often disappear at that stage.

At the start of this year, I was planning a sabbatical in 2013 (if only I could get away).

In looking deeply, I discovered that I was considering a path to leave my current life. When I compared that to my Key Five, I saw my true desire was a shift towards learning and writing. I’ve spent the last five months learning a new sport (mountain biking) and swapping writing for coaching. These changes avoided the major disruption of a change of hemisphere.

I should have known that the answer wasn’t waiting in Australia!