Why Bother to Stop Saying, “Someday”?

Why Bother to Stop Saying “Someday”?

Did you know that someday is not an official day of the week? There are only seven days in any given week; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Yet, some people add an eighth day and call it, someday.  Sometimes we begin our sentence by saying, “Someday, I’m going to …” While at other times we tag it on at the end, “I’m going to ____________, someday.” 

Whether we begin with someday or end with someday, it does not exist. It is a figment of our imagination, an illusion, a way to avoid doing what we know we need to do. To say someday, is just another way for us to procrastinate. 

    Do it Now

What keeps us from doing now what we keep saying we will do someday? Each of us have our own unique reasons to put off doing today what we can always do tomorrow. But if we identify those specific reasons, then we can erase someday off our imaginary calendars.

For instance, I avoid making cold calls, that is I hate calling strangers. 

Recently, I changed dentists. I put off choosing a new one because I dislike talking with anyone over the phone who does not know me. My tongue gets tied in a knot, I forget what I want to say, and I wonder if I am talking too much. In short, I get anxious. It is a strange, quirky idiosyncrasy, but it is one that trips me up from making those important phone calls. 

Since talking with strangers over the phone is part of being an adult, I’ve had to learn to accommodate my little impairment. First, I set an appointment with myself to make the call. Since I want to get it over with as soon as possible, I set the appointment as early in the day as possible.  Also, I write out a little script to help me stay on track and to remember what it is I want to say or ask. So far, these two small adaptations actually help me to make those phone calls that I hate to make. A minor victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Another dilly dally area in my life is taking on professional duties. Continuing education credits and volunteering for leadership roles are the worst for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like learning and I like leading, but I don’t like hopping through the required hoops to accomplish these goals. For starters, I have to make choices and commitments. 

Choosing continuing education classes requires me to think through which ones will hold my interest and actually pertain to real life. When deciding on a leadership role, I talk myself out of them when I muck around in comparing myself to someone else. There is always someone smarter, more confident and better at leading a committee than me. Who am I to think I can be on a leadership committee? Yet, if I want to keep my job as a teacher, which I do, then I have to comply with the requirements. 

To do what I have to do without delaying my inevitable professional duties, I will ask for the advice from one or two other professionals. I am not in this alone. Others, like me, have had to make continuing education choices and take on leadership roles too. Having conversations about the choices they’ve made, and the experiences they’ve had, helps me to go ahead and make mine. 

Why bother to stop saying, “someday”? We can poke along, dawdle and vacillate about doing what we need to do, someday. But, if someday does not really exist, then neither do those goals we hope to accomplish, someday. 

Why Bother To Pause?

Why Bother To Pause?

Some religious people believe firmly that Saturday is the Sabbath, while others believe the official day of rest is Sunday. In the 1600s, the blue laws were written down establishing laws that the Puritans enacted to control morality. The sale of alcohol was prohibited on Sunday and  most labor on that one day ceased. Though the blue laws were difficult to enforce, the law ensured at least one day of rest from labor everyone. Later on, those same blue laws also gave recess to retailers. Grocery stores, gas stations and drug stores locked their doors from consumers.  For one day of the week, store owners were unconcerned with one day of loss from sales. Rest, not profit, was the bigger commodity.

How exactly, did abstaining from making any purchases one day out of the week lead to morality? And though the blue laws are extinct, are they worth reinstating even just for ourselves?

         Delayed Gratification

To buy what I need when I need it is convenient, to wait is to delay gratification. Back in the 1960s there was a famous marshmallow experiment performed with 5-6 year-old children at Stanford University.  The experiment began by bringing each child into a private room, sitting them down in a chair, and placing a marshmallow on the table in front of them. Then the researcher made a deal with the child. If they could leave the marshmallow alone for fifteen minutes, then the child would be given a second marshmallow. If however the child decided to eat the first marshmallow before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second marshmallow. A simple choice any child could understand: one treat right now or two treats later.

The experiment did not end there. Instead, these children were followed for more than forty years. The ones who delayed their gratification and waited for that second marshmallow grew into adults who ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. This simple little experiment with a marshmallow and a six-year-old child proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success later in life.

These days we don’t have to wait. The blue laws are extinct. Stores are open seven days a week and even if my local food store closes at 10:00 p.m. I can still shop online and have my goods delivered the next day. Yet, I am wondering how many of us might benefit from delaying our own gratification. What would it be like for us to postpone our purchases? Could we set aside one day a week and press the pause button? If we choose to abstain for just one day then what would the benefit be? 

Self discipline is a virtue we are all capable of practicing and the pay off leads to success whether we are setting goals for getting out of debt, losing a few extra pounds or furthering our education.  

Why bother to press the pause button? It is worth ceasing from consuming goods, even just for a day. In doing so, we practice delayed gratification and grow stronger in self-discipline.