I’ve thoroughly enjoyed joining the Thrive Global community and sharing thoughts on positive habit stacking and true wellness. But, to drill down, I’ve noticed that often people think that just by writing a goal down in a journal or mentioning it to a best friend or family member that it will magically happen. They sit and wait and continue on as always and hope it will happen.

Hope is vital. Hope is powerful. Hope is the thing that has carried humanity out of the cave and through history. But, as William Rodriguez, my partner at Torii Coaching & Consulting, always says, “hope is not a strategy. Hope is what we have after we have already implemented the strategy.”

Things can change, but they require action. Hope is what we have after we already have the action. Before we get to that point, we had to sacrifice our comfort zone, in order to step outside of that and begin to be a game changer. Everyone seems to be tossing around the term “game changer” these days. A true game changer in the wellness community, in positive habit stacking, and life in general, is someone who understands that more we give and the kinder we are the better we feel and the better the world around us becomes. And that changes the world around us – even just our little corner of the world – for the better.

Action is when you really give up being afraid, exchanging the security inside of your cave for experiencing the unknown. We’re not going to find it – what ever the “it” is in the same old environment where we’ve already been. Resolutions, goals, enlightenment, what ever you want to call it, is never going to happen by sitting in the same place you’ve been and not changing anything. The answer is out there.

Philosopher Paul Ricoeur said, “hope is the same thing as remembering.” And theologian Martin Marty says in his essay “Recall” that “reminiscence, conscious looking back, produces the beginning of hope. It says we have lived days through…”

As the school year starts – or we remember our school days – it is a good time to remember, take stock and create a strategy for where you want to go. Hope is not a strategy, it is looking backward and forward and creating a plan to get to the place you are hoping for. “I hope [this horrible thing] never happens again” or “I hope [this great thing] never ends” can’t become reality without a plan. If you have a plan you will have to show up.

We admire people because when say they’re going to do something they do it. When they say they’re going to call they call. When you’re going to meet them they’re going to be there. We have to get the courage in order to open up the door, make the call, send the email, or do the thing that gets us through the plan and to our goal.

Successful people keep their word. Even if it’s just to themselves in making a new year’s resolution. It’s not some outside force keeping us from being better. Whatever you believe will be. Either good or bad. We often sabotage ourselves by not showing up, not setting goals, not reaching for the unknown experiences.

William will often talk to clients about showing up and what an important concept this is. He tells clients, “many, many people with many, many different backgrounds for whatever reason, get nervous and don’t want to go or want to change up the comfort zone, right? The devil I know is better than the one I don’t…but what I found is that if you show up and do the thing, what ever the thing is, your life can change in a heartbeat. It’s the thing that I believe above all else, that has gotten me where I am today. It is a very deep and personal thing – what drives a human being. The idea of get out of your cave, go make a difference, and follow your passion.” 

To follow your passion, to make a difference is to celebrate progress and experiencing new things. The strategy, the plan – keeps us focused and lets us recalibrate when daily life knocks us off the right path. Hope is what keeps your strategy, focus, and energy moving forward. Hope is the force telling us that what is “out there” is better than our perception of safety “in here.”

Modern life throws all kinds of curve balls at us every day. Hope combined with a strategy – combined with positive habit stacking and a solid wellness practice and community – keeps us on the path to achieving our goals.