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How To Tell the Difference Between a Wish and a Hope

Lisa Haynes

How do you usually feel when the new year comes around?

Excited? Satisfied? Optimistic? Happy? Anxious? Depressed? Confused? Sad?

New Year’s Eve can stir these emotions even though you know it’s coming. Every year, it’s an end and a beginning all at once.

A new year signals new opportunities.

New Year’s is often a time when you envision the person you want to be. Some people make resolutions in January — 40 to 50 percent of Americans do this every year. Others set their goals in different ways, but nearly all of us have at least one thing we want to work on.

What’s on your list? Is it something you can change on your own, or do you need help? What will you rely on to carry out your goal? Have you invited anyone to join you in pursuing your goal?

Do you believe you’ll achieve what you set out to do?

When deciding what to aim for, there’s a big difference between wishing something would change and hoping something will change.

Wishes may never actually happen. Hope is based on what is possible.

To wish is to “feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that cannot or probably will not happen,” according to the Oxford Dictionary.

Hope is defined as a “desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it or a belief it is obtainable” by Webster’s Dictionary.

What you expect and what you believe matter when you think about your resolutions.

Jesus told His followers, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, New American Standard Bible).

We find hope when we find the path that leads to our goal.

Starting a hike at a marked trailhead is easier than picking a random spot at the base of the mountain and bushwhacking your way to the top.

Life is hard. Even when you set goals, unexpected obstacles might get in your way. Hope is what you need to keep going. It keeps you motivated.

Dr. John Maxwell said, “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.”

Hope is empowering.

The path might be steep, but the closer you get to the top of the mountain, the farther you can see. And, there’s an unforgettable view at the summit.

Are you interested in learning more about hope?

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