Do or Do Not; There is No Try
Updated: Apr 18, 2018
As we start another year, many of us have made resolutions and have them posted as a reminder of the things we’d like to do and change. Several years ago, some friends and I gathered a few weeks after the New Year and the discussion turned to resolutions. As the conversation went along we were all saying things like, “My resolution to try to get to the gym three times a week.”, “This year I’m going to try and go out with my friends more.” or “Each weekend we are going to try and spend more time with the kids.” Then one of my friends said, “I intend to read a new book every month and I’ve starting working on that!” Her resolution struck me more than the others and it took me a while to figure out why. It wasn’t a huge resolution on the surface, not like quitting smoking, so what was it? Finally I realized her resolution was an intention to work on something — not a resolution to try like the rest of us had stated. Those small changes in wording — intend and work instead of resolve and try — really resonated with me.
In subsequent years, I began to use this phrase when writing my New Year’s Intentions, and something clicked when I started using that wording in place of "resolutions". A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something — which is strong. But an intention has a plan of action behind it, and to me, that brings even more power. Now, in my mind, those two words come as a package to help me keep my eye on what I’ve set out to do. You surely need a strong resolve to back your intention. Now I see the word Intention as a power word with a plan and resolve behind it!
The word "try" is a funny one too isn’t it? Roll it around a bit and think about the implications. If you say you are going to try a new restaurant, a new vacation spot or try a different route? Trying then smacks of adventure! But to me when I hear someone say (or catch myself say) they will ‘"try to…," and then state a goal they are working towards, I feel that they are attempting without a plan for that goal. When I replace "try" with "work" I feel a sense of purpose — I’m going to work on or work towards something and I feel as though I am starting on the right foot. I find that my goal is more solid and I have more confidence. Mind you, I am in no way discounting when someone says they have "tried" to do something! Many of my clients have become frustrated with everything they have tried to organize in their homes, or attempted to declutter, and I completely understand their frustration. I do feel that reframing one's speech from try(ing) to work(ing) can give one a sense that an intention has been set.
I often get a list of what clients would like to try and do (clean out and organize their spaces etc.) and then they ask if we can ‘try to work on’ a specific space. Try to work on? No, because in the words of Master Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.” I start appointments with asking what they would like to work on, what are their organization goals, what would like to see happen — we set an intention. Then we use our package of resolve and intention and work towards their goal. It is a wonderful feeling to see a client empowered as we meet their goals and they reclaim their space! I share with them that every step they take to work toward their goals is a victory — it all counts!
When I write my intentions each year I think of my friend and am I’m grateful I heard her speak of her intention to read new books. I’m happy to share the difference it has made for how I view and approach my goals. From that year on, I set intentions and encourage my clients to do the same and find strength and power in their spaces. And my friend? She’s also a client and is still reading…in a nicely decluttered space.
Heather Shore is a professional organizer based in Cary North Carolina. She brings peace of mind to her clients one room at a time, with budget-friendly decluttering, no judgment, and a friendly disposition. Peace of Mind Decluttering services the Raleigh and Cary areas, with appointments for clients available in Wilmington for an additional fee.