Stop Saying, “I Wish…” and Get What You Really Want Out of Life

Joe Martin
3 min readAug 22, 2023


How Changing a Single Word Let’s Us Into The Future We Want

A “wish” is but a wasted attempt at creating the reality we want to exist.

As kids, we’re often encouraged to think about and express our wishes and dreams. In fact some of our fondest memories might be tied to far flung wishes, especially the ones that didn’t come true.

Consider Santa, the jolly old wish-giver and his team of elves and reindeer. (Author’s note: I’m still waiting on the Huffy BMX bike I asked for when I was 8, Claus.)

While wishing can be a treasured and important aspect of childhood, it starts to outgrow its usefulness in adulthood.

In fact, I have a hunch that using the phrase “I wish” as an adult might be setting a bad precedent.

I know that might sting a bit, but hear me out before you write me off as a curmudgeon. This little change might just make your life a whole lot better.

Wishing doesn’t get us closer to happiness.

When we say “I wish,” we indirectly, and maybe even subconsciously, affirm the impossibility of the thing we want. To others, but especially to ourselves. Those words give us an out, and ability to say what we want but not have to act.

Need proof?

When was the last time you heard “I wish” and then immediately saw it followed up with resolute action? “I wish I had some pizza,” swiftly followed by packing up and heading out to find the nearest slice?

I’ve never seen that happen.
Not even once.
And we all love pizza.

Other examples…

“I wish I could find someone to be with.”
“I wish I were 15 pounds lighter.”
“I wish I could get a new job.”
“I wish they’d give me a raise.”
“I wish they understood how I felt.”
“I wish that person would just drop dead.”

Okay so that last one probably shouldn’t be backed up with any kind of action, but you get the picture.

We wish for stuff all the time — stuff that’s important and that we actually want. But by affixing “I wish” on the front end, we might be dramatically hurting our chances of gaining that very thing.

Make your actions clear, stop wishing.

If saying “I wish” secretly opts us out of taking action towards the object of our desire, then how might we declare our desires into the world in a more useful way?

For starters, you can start consciously avoiding the phrase “I wish.”

  1. Instead of saying “I wish…” try saying, “It would be cool to…”
  2. Instead of saying “I wish…” ask yourself if you would spend a wish on this if you only got three wishes.
  3. Write down your wish after saying it aloud.

Stop wishing. Start doing.

Joe Martin is a Chicago-based business growth consultant who helps companies align their messaging. He has built and exited two companies, while his innovative ideas around work-life balance been featured on WGN, FOX, and the TEDx stage. His portfolio includes creative work for McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch, and Microsoft.



Joe Martin

Entrepreneur, author, and TEDx Speaker who believes real world interactions are more valuable than digital ones.