4 Tips to Reimagine If-Only’s

Jan 9, 2019 | Life

I looked around the room thinking how much solace I’d find if only I lived there. I was in the parlor of a colonial home in the mountains of Northern Virginia.

I’ve been to Virginia often in the recent years visiting my daughter who went to college there. The mountains, the architecture, the history – it all inspires me. On every trip, I find myself thinking:

  • if only I lived in a two-hundred year old house…..
  • if only I could have a view like this, then I could write more….
  • if only I could connect with rich history, then I’d be inspired…..

Do you have “if only’s?”

Life can take you to the land of “if-only’s.” There, “if-only” thoughts embed your life, creating covetousness and discontentment.

The “if-only” dream really isn’t what you’re longing for. You’re yearning for what it represents, the trigger that exposes unresolved hurt or discontent.

If you’re visiting the land of “if-only’s,” you don’t have to stay there. Whether it’s a physical need, a relationship, or a life-style change, here are 4 questions to transform “if-only” discontentment:

What do you really want to change? “If-only” thoughts usually have a root problem needing resolved or changed. My “if-only” daydream was rooted in the need for a writing space in a house full of teens and college students, and an innate longing to live somewhere that’s rich in history.

Relationship problems, lifestyle needs, health and workplace discontentment are approached the same way. Acknowledging what you can’t change, honestly ask, “What can I do to make the situation better? Is there an attitude or response I need to change?

Realistically, what can you change about the situation? Since relocating or remodeling my house isn’t an option, I looked at my current space. I reorganized rooms to meet current needs.

What can you modify or change in your current rut? What can you do for a new start or fresh perspective, even if the situation doesn’t change?

What do you need to get rid of? In my case, I got rid of furniture, books, and trinkets I didn’t need anymore. This made more useful space. Some items will be given away. Many were thrown away. Now there’s room for new.

What are you holding onto, either physically, emotionally, or mentally, that needs to be thrown away so there’s room for something new? Do you need to let go of faulty-thinking, bad relationship patterns, or a stressful job? Do you need to let go of the past so you can move forward?

What can you change today, even if it’s not perfect? I had one day to revamp the spaces I worked on.

  • I told myself, Not everything has to be in the exact place today.
  • I moved the “to-put-away-later” piles out of sight.
  • I stopped the revamping when my feet were swollen, even though I wanted to do “just one more thing.”

Whatever your situation is, leave the land of “if only’s,” and do what you can today. If you’re waiting for the right time or perfect conditions, it won’t ever happen.


  1. Decide what needs to be changed.
  2. Assess what you can realistically change.
  3. Let go of things.
  4. Do what you can now.

Which one of these principles can you implement today?


Simple Secrets For A Compelling Life

Do you feel trapped in a chaotic, relentless, demanding lifestyle? No matter where you live or what season of life you’re in, you can find inspiration from the simpler life. 


  1. Cecily Moore

    I love this view on ‘If Only’s. Not simply just working on contentment but looking for the root, and address the core!

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thanks Cecily! The root and core are at the heart of so many things!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This