The One Thing Holding You Back From a Life You’ve Always Wanted

the-lifeYou Will Never Have The Life You Want.

Let me say that again, you will never have to life you want.

Unless you set out to do so.

Life is a lot like a river that always keeps flowing.  Because of this, it is too easy to just flow along with it and let it take you in the direction it is headed.  This includes twists and turns but also a lot of sameness.

One day becomes like the last and pretty soon you are a year, 10 years, 50 years downstream and very little you really wanted to accomplish has materialized.

This is because you did not make it happen.  You took what came to you and accepted it as OK, no matter if it was what you wanted or not.

I had these thoughts in the last couple months because of something seemingly frivolous.  I started reading again.  I started reading fiction.

I have not taken the time to read fiction since I was in high school.  I actually really loved it then and would stay up late to find out what happened in the stories, I could not put the books down.  My favorite is actually sci-fi and fantasy.  It was my favorite then and I think it continues to be.

What I was finding in these stories is that the characters were doing things.  They were changing their lives and the lives of those around them.  They were not just sitting still and letting time overtake them, oppressed with sameness.

And really I think sameness is oppressive in a way.  It’s subtle and we don’t always realize it.  But when you get 10 years down the road and look back at things that did not happen and it becomes obvious.

You will never get healthy.  Unless you set out to do so.
You will never have the marriage you want. Unless you set out to do so.
You will never have the relationship with your kids you want. Unless you set out to do so.
You will never save money. Unless you set out to do so.
You will never have the job you want. Unless you set out to do so.
You will never have the friends you want. Unless you set out to do so.
You will never change the world. Unless you set out to do so.

The Secret (2)


Look around at the people who are doing big things.  They make them happen! If you want to write a book, you need to actually start writing.  If you want to take a big vacation to Europe you need to save the money or make more so you can afford it. If you want more passion in your marriage, you need to have more passion (both you and your spouse will thank you for it, believe me, I know).

Whatever it is you want you HAVE to set out to do.  It’s rare that good fortune falls in our laps.  Sure it happens, but if waiting for good fortune is your game plan I think that you will find yourself disappointed, I know I have.


So, how do we start? A good place is to make a list of what you want in life.  What have your dreams been over the years?  Is there something you dreamed of in high school that never happened but maybe still could in some form?  Then write it down.

Then take it a step further.  How can you make or at least encourage these things to happen?  Start small or start big.  Really it’s up to you, but take a step.



Instead of a list of dreams, make it a list of realities. Big stuff that you make happen.

Think of what this world would be if it were full of people who made life happen instead of letting life happen to them.  It would be a different place.  It would have greater meaning and fulfillment.

To quote one of the stories I read that inspired me and this post,

Be Brave.

What are the REALITIES you what to make happen in your life? Please share them.

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  1. Sarah says

    Thank you! I definitely find myself getting stuck in “sameness”. It is oppressive, and causes much frustration and restlessness; yet sometimes I don’t fight against it because I feel overwhelmed . I plan to work on that this year.

  2. says

    Sameness is definitely a part of life and I don’t do well with sameness. Being uncomfortable with sameness is probably a blessing and a curse but it does keep me learning and exploring.

    • jlpenner says

      It is a part of life and we need a bit of it, but if you realize that it is ALL of your life, then there is a problem.

  3. says

    There is so much that I wanted out of life that cannot happen, because well, life and tragedies happen, but I do believe we need to be intentional about our actions and daily lives!

    • jlpenner says

      I totally agree. We can’t make everything happen (I can’t either), that is just life. But there are so many things that we can, and it is those we can work on!

      Thanks for commenting Debra.

  4. says

    My husband and I know from experience that this is true. We were coasting along life’s highway until my husband was laid off and thanks to a lifetime of type 1 diabetes is chronically ill. He’s only 46 but he’s sick everyday. I’m writing this in the ER with him. I thought we’d have more time but now it’s too late. He is having more bad days than good. If you are reading this and you are healthy then please be inspired. Get off your butt, work for the life you want before the opportunity is gone.

  5. PamW says

    I needed this. I took my youngest child to college this past weekend, and wonder what to do with myself. Not happy with the sameness of a job don’t want to start over, want to go to school don’t know what I am even interested in. It happens as a mom you forget what you want in all the have too’s of life, its hard for me to think this way. But I know what you have posted is true, and have lived it at phases of my life, I need to do it again! Thank you

  6. Anne says

    Wow, I certainly needed to read this today. I am a firm believer that “you are as you believe!” I have been planning my craft for so long trying to get everything in order before I even start, but the days keep rolling by with no progress. Today, I become a “doer” and not an observer

  7. Patricia Antolic says

    I have just found this article. I realize it is almost 1 year old, but this has been my way of thinking for many years. You have to set your mind on what you want and stick with it. My goal in life is to see as much as this world as possible. To date, I have probably made over 50 trips. Not all grand or distant. But, they have made me very happy and I am going to continue for as long as I can. I have given up some things to have these trips but it was well worth it.

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