Hopeful Thinking

Almost every morning during my 15 minutes of doing nothing, the word hopeful makes an appearance. No matter what else I’m feeling–frustration, apprehension, happiness, etc.–hopeful flits into my thoughts.

Thinking about that this morning, I remembered a conversation I had with a friend back when I was contemplating changes to my way of living. I told her some of my ideas, such as focusing on fruits and vegetables and exercising every day, and said that I was hopeful I would lose some weight, but even if I didn’t, I’d certainly be healthier. (Little did I know!)

Time fogs up memories, but I honestly can’t recall any time before that when I had used the words hopeful and weight loss together. I was far more likely to begin a sentence with, “I wish.”

I wish I could lose weight.
I wish I could drop X sizes before Spring.
I wish I wasn’t so tired all the time.

Not hope. Wish.

It’s a little bit of a pilpul, or hair-splitter, and it doesn’t necessarily work for all situations, but it does point out to me the trap I was in before in trying to wish the weight away. And somehow feeling mystified and disappointed when it didn’t happen. I wished hard!

The problem is that wishing doesn’t really require any participation. I can wish for anything–a lottery win, a clutter free home, calorie-free foods–but unless I’ve taken some action in that direction, I don’t have much reason to hope for success. Hope is, at its most basic, an expectation. I did X, so I’m hoping that Y happens. Y may be unrealistic, but if I’ve done something toward it (like buy a lottery ticket), there’s at least a possibility that it could happen.

As you can see, I’ve spent far too much time thinking about this today, and it may make sense only to me, but I think that it’s somehow important in figuring out (and sharing) how I was able to fight my way out of the diet cycle and drop my weight once and for all.

I hope.

In an odd coincidence (or maybe not), my daily email from Martha Beck was waiting for me when I returned home this morning. It read, in part:

The simple act of hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone – a habit that can replace anxiety with happy participation.

Wow, that Martha Beck pegged me well: Hopeful thinker, happy participant!

What do you wish for? (Besides wishing that I would get a job so that I didn’t have so much time for thinking) What do you hope for?

19 thoughts on “Hopeful Thinking

  1. Thank-you. I am thinking about this as I think your use of the work HOPE is profound.

    There’s a Bible verse which says something like this:- “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

    Hope is the beginning of believing. There is power in this four letter word to change our lives.

    I am pondering on what it means for me.


  2. I think what I’ve come to appreciate with this whole weight loss lifestyle revamp malarkey is that there’s no hope or wishing involved at all. It’s just fact. If I change the way I live, eat, think about living, eating, how I exercsie and what I want from my life then IT WILL HAPPEN, it HAS happened. It’s quite amazing really but the simple hard fact is it is possible.

    Lizzie xo

  3. Love these thoughts on hopeful thinking!! Great stuff!
    I think wishing is what many of us do in relation to our goals and dreams, but believing in them is what really makes them happen.
    Am thinking that perhaps this is what you did on your weight loss journey – hoped, believed and then became the new you.

    I am fond of Stephen Covey also and as I write a particular quote comes to mind.
    I hope it is okay to share it here.

    “All things are created twice: first, a mental creation; second, a physical creation.
    The first creation, vision, is the beginning of reinventing oneself. It represents desire, dreams, hopes, goals and plans. But these dreams or visons are not just fantasies. They are the reality not yet bought into the physical sphere, like the blueprint of a house before it is built or musical notes in a score just waiting to be played.”

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
    Love yours…
    PS I also agree with your 15 minutes of mind stillness. A great practice.

  4. “Wish” isn’t really a word I use much.

    I am adding your blog to my blogroll, I HOPE you don’t mind. If you do, let me know and I’ll remove.

  5. “Wish” or “hope.” Whatever, same thing, right? Ahhhhh….one of those rare instances where semantics really DO make a substantive difference.

    My head hurts now. Thanks. 😉

  6. This is one of those fabulous, thought provoking posts that makes me sigh when I get to the end and think of how I would answer your question. The moment of truth when I have to be self-reflective and ask if I am wishing or hoping. In this exact moment, I actually feel a bit discouraged with myself so I think I feel something else entirely! More sighing. BTW – I had to look up pilpul – love a new word:)

    P.S. – My godaddy tech call was not in the least helpful and my darn blog was totally uncooperative by moving ever so fast the whole time I was on the phone with them doing their diagnostic tests!!

  7. I hadn’t thought in terms of “hopeful” about my getting healthy plan. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. That’s really sad.


    I’m hopeful and certain I’m getting healthy.
    I’m hopeful and certain I’ll soon be pregnant.
    I’m hopeful and certain my enjoyment of life is increasing every moment I live.


    Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  8. Do you remember “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride?” I think it suggests that it’s useless to wish unless you’re DOING something to make your wish come true. I’m working hard at this and hoping my work pays off!

  9. I really love this post. Hope and faith are such important factors in all aspects of our life. By being hopeful, I think we are exercising faith in ourselves to lose the weight, eat healthier, etc. I really like the quote. I just may have to use it one day myself. :)

    I wish I could be a size 6. I am hopeful that I can be a size 10 someday soon. :)

  10. I wish I could write as well as you. I hope to do that some day. How’s that for applying the lesson?

  11. I have very lofty wishes and very modest hopes, I think.

    I wish I would win the lottery. I hope I have success finding a new job soon after I finish my current 6 month contract.
    I wish I had infallible commitment and follow-through. I hope my friends can always trust and in me and my word.
    I wish I never had to think about money. I hope I’ll never have to really struggle to make ends meet.
    I wish my bf would propose already! I hope my bf and I are as happy together in 50 years as we are today.
    I wish I could take a year off and travel the world. I hope I am lucky enough to experience a few more new cultures, places and cuisines before I die.
    I wish I had a house with a garden and a little porch. I hope I’ll always have a place to call “home”.

  12. Wow, Cammy!!! I really, really needed this tonight. To feel that it’s OK to hope, even good to hope; to remember that hoping comes out of action… I hope to remain clean and sober regarding overeating and binging for the rest of my life. There, I said it! Thanks to you.

    Thanks also for your great recipes and food tips. They’re very helpful to me. I don’t like to cook either…

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