An African proverb says that “hunger that has expectations does not kill.” The expectation might be the knowledge that there’s Yam in the barn to be roasted to satiate the empty stomach.
Webster dictionary defines hope as a desire accompanied by the expectation of or belief in fulfilment.
Hope is an active and confident expectation which is not only dynamic in it’s evolving nature but also life-sustaining and it stresses on two things that are invisible as well as futuristic.
At times, people struggle to find meaning and purpose in their daily lives and to them, the word ‘Hope’ sounds like a vague concept that’s irrelevant in their lives.
The fact is that if you want to start to see your life in the possibilities that you wish, you need to take certain steps to achieve that. These steps can be broken down into segments.
- Envision your life: This might take some practice but it’s worthwhile to take the time to try and envision what you want your life to look like. What type of life do you imagine is the best for you? Write your vision and do a review from time to time.
- Do a comparative analysis: Compare your life at present with your ideal vision for where you want your life to head to or to be. Is your analysis far apart? Are you headed in the right direction? Have some aspects of your vision materialised? These are pointers to note and beside each point, take note of the basic steps that you are required to take, broken down in simple, realistic goals.
- Are your expectations unreasonable? It is a good thing to dream big, but your big dreams have to be dreams that are realisable over time when the necessary steps are gradually put into practise. Are you dreaming of being a millionaire when you don’t even bother to acquire the understanding and mindset required to pursue such dream? Start with goals that are more effective in your current circumstance and when that has been put in place, you will find that the next step becomes easier.
- Don’t take on too many things at a time. That can lead to a sense of hopelessness when it seems as if everything is slow.
- Push your boundaries beyond your comfort zone as often as is reasonable without getting it totally imbalanced that it becomes overwhelming.
- Set SMART goals that are relevant to achieving your vision. SMART stands for specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound.
- These steps will help to teach you how to acknowledge your strength and to build on them. Keep an eye on your positive accomplishments no matter how little they may seem. Appreciating yourself now and again, goes a long way to boost your confidence in yourself.
- You must cultivate supportive relationships that boost your morale, inspires and motivates you. As much as possible, eliminate toxic relationships and replace them with enabling connections.
- Engage in activities that will enhance your personality and life such as new skills or sports and also other causes that give you an opportunity to give back to others, like volunteering in your community. Don’t alienate yourself.
- Keep track of your progress by writing a progress report or journaling at the end of each week. This should also take your emotions into cognizance, how you feel about each day, what you are happy or not happy about…
- Don’t neglect yourself. As a matter of fact, this is the first duty that you owe yourself. Eat properly balanced meals, rest sufficiently 6-8 hours each night, hydrate, exercise and nourish your mind.
- As you progress, identify the stressors that bring on your anxiety and sense of hopelessness and develop anticipated steps to counter them, such as deep breathing, detoxing the mind, brisk walking, talking to others….sometimes, a bit of counselling from the right quarters can go a long way.
- Don’t discount your negative feelings. Face your negative thoughts and stop letting them get the better of you by questioning and understanding them.
- Keep your focus on the things that are within your circle of influence and take it a day at a time.
Hope has unquestionable results, but we must realise that it’s an attitude that we must work on each day.
Working on hope helps to change the way we see and value ourselves.
It positively affects what we do with our lives, our talents and time.
It brings us inner peace and a sense of well-being.
It builds our endurance level, our courage and confidence.
I have found from experience that reading books, materials of those who dared to hope and surmount challenges, encourages and motivates me.
My hope rests on God’s Grace. I hope that you will find this article to be useful.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
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