How Do I Turn Around My “If Only” Thinking to Feel More Positive?


When consequences happen that you did not expect, it is wise to look at the choices you made as well as the choices in front of you. Sometimes we cause events to happen. Sometimes events happen to us that are beyond our control. But the feeling is usually the same, “If only I could change the past and do it over.”

It’s impossible to control everything around you. No matter how perfectly you plan your life, the unexpected at one time or another is going to strike. Knowing how to cope with and through these moments is a significant part of self-growth, personal awareness, and creating a life well lived. There is an inner strength that comes with being able to turn life’s tumultuous moments into new ah-has, new choices, and new beginnings.

Your definition of tumultuous will be different from that of another person. Whatever the circumstances that come your way, whether it is a divorce, the death of a loved one, poor health, a job loss, a financial setback, an embarrassing moment, time lost over the years without living your dreams, or an out-of-the-blue unexpected happenstance, how you turn these “if only” situations into a better future comes down to a key point: Your attitude and taking appropriate action.


Attitude and Taking Action that Matches your Goals and Personality:

You can choose not to focus on losses, failures, or catastrophes, but rather focus on ways to handle them. Actually it is possible to step away from a failed relationship and create a better partnership that is more fulfilling. It is possible to turn the death of a loved one into a more meaningful and purposeful life filled with loving memories. An embarrassing moment can be rectified. A misunderstanding can open new doors of opportunity. You can choose to eat better, start exercising, and think of a long life in front of you. You can decide to rearrange your finances and start fresh if there has been a setback.

Knowing how to make new choices and re-decisions can help you turn regretful memories into distant memories. They no longer negatively affect you.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How are my thoughts and attitude affecting my life?
  2. How are my decisions influencing my future?
  3. Does my attitude and actions … compliment my life?
  4. Does my attitude and actions … complicate my life?
  5. Are my actions arrogant or useful to others?
  6. Am I in control of my choices or are others controlling me?
  7. Am I envisioning where I want to go?
  8. Who comes through for me when I ask for help?
  9. Am I coming from Faith or Inner Fear?

Again, while you can’t control other peoples’ motives or actions, you can accurately analyze, study, and judge situations. Life is too short to stay stuck in “if only” thinking. What makes you feel good about yourself, your choices, and your future? What allows you to reinvent yourself to create a better future? It is important not to be around people who deplete, discount, or deny you from getting back on your feet. Allow yourself to walk away from time-wasters, unproductive, illogical, or overly impulsive individuals. Your thinking will be clearer. Let your attitude become more aware of possibilities so you can take positive action. This will allow you to step over and past circumstances that seem overwhelming, daunting or seemingly impossible. Remember, the impossible can become the probable, and the probable the inevitable. (See my videos and download GPS for Success as a support system to fully understand this principle).

You may want to make a commitment to follow these simple but basic steps to turn around “if only” thinking.

  1. Notice what does and doesn’t work for you.
  2. Do not underestimate your talents.
  3. Do not let setbacks destroy your morale.
  4. Look for the best in life.
  5. Do not let other people’s problems burden you.
  6. Fight worry and stress with logical and useful solutions.
  7. Act sooner than later when you have a solution(s)
  8. Tap into the power of prayer.
  9. What does a life well lived mean to you?


Each of us is continually in the process of change and what I call being a “fluid self.”

Embrace the things that are most meaningful to you – not what someone else tells you to do. What does thriving mean to you? What does joy mean to you? What does purpose mean to you?  If you have let “if only” thinking slow you down, maybe it’s time to renew yourself with a “we force” that supports your goals and gives wise advice.

Also, fresh ah-has often happen when you are in the mood to have a self-moment, a fluid moment, a “you moment.” You can break out of replaying worst outcome scenarios and “if only” thinking. You can ask for help. You can gain inner confidence. You can choose a new direction. You can see your uniqueness. You can start living life and do your dreams. You can learn a new skill. You can…..

“If only” thinking rarely solves what you are facing or moves you forward.

Let your attitude, actions, and personality turn a lemon situation into lemonade.