17 “If Onlys” and How To Chase Them Away

If onlyIf only I was taller I could reach that cupboard above the fridge!

At 5 1/2 feet, “If only I was taller!” could be a frequent lament for me. But since it’s something I can’t change, I can get around this limitation by grabbing a nearby stool or chair.

Bemoaning, griping, and complaining won’t add a single inch to my stature.

Not to mention any joy to my life.

I also used to whine, “If only I was thinner!” Of course, this was something I could change so … I lost weight.

And this:

“If only my mom hadn’t died when I was a teen.”

No fixing that one.

There are three ways to handle an If Only:

1. Find a workaround (the handy stool)

2. Solve it (walk more, eat less)

3. Let. It. Go. (grieve and move on)

Left unattended, any and all If Onlys waste time, talent, and energy.


Yet, they’re so common. Here are 17 If Onlys:

  1. “If only my employer would train me.”
  2. “If only I earned more money.”
  3. “If only I could get that big break.”
  4. “If only my colleagues worked as hard as I do.”
  5. “If only I had more vacation.”
  6. “If only my friends understood me.”
  7. “If only I had time to exercise.”
  8. “If only my spouse wouldn’t spend so much.”
  9. “If only people were more like me.”
  10. “If only I’d been born into a wealthy family.”
  11. “If only someone would show me how to be a better parent.”
  12. “If only my company would give me more sales leads.”
  13. “If only it was Friday.”
  14. “If only my son would listen to me.”
  15. “If only the coach would give my kid a chance to play.”
  16. “If only the schools would do a better job.”
  17. “If only I could be recognized for all I do.”

If any of these If Onlys are yours, commit to finding a workaround, solving the problem, or moving on.

The solution to chasing If Onlys away is practicing PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s accomplished by asking The Question Behind the Question—or QBQ. Here are 5 “QBQs” that work:

“What can I do today to move forward?”

“How can I change me?”

“What can I do to be my best?”

“How can I solve this problem?”

“What can I do to let go of what I cannot change?”

It’s difficult to engage in If Only lamentations when asking powerful, accountable, attitude-altering questions like QBQs.


So ask a QBQ or two today and see—and feel—the difference personal accountability can make!

Can you add any If Only’s to our list?

Which of our 17 If Onlys do you struggle with?

Of the 5 QBQs listed above, which one(s) will you ask right now?

Share below!

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