I call it the "When-Then" syndrome and it affects people from all walks of life. How do I know this? I see it in my clients (I'm a clinical psychologist), I see it in my friends and worst of all, I see it in myself!
Here's how the When-Then syndrome works. Think of a goal, something you really want to accomplish. But instead of setting a reasonable deadline (a goal without a deadline is just a fantasy, by the way. Something nice to dream about, but it will never happen.)
Now, you're all excited about accomplishing this goal. But...instead of getting to work on it right away, you pick another event (way off in the hazy future) and you decide that you can't get started on your goal until the other event takes place. It's completely irrational, but you cling to the idea anway.
For example, are you guilty of using any of the When-Then's listed below?
When the kids are back to school, then I'll have some time to myself and I can organize the closets. When the kids are back to school and the house is quiet, you may have no desire to clean the closets! You may relish the time to yourself and prefer to enjoy a good book. (preferably a cozy mystery). Reality check. There is never an ideal time to clean closets. Just pencil it in on the calendar and do it!
When I move, then I can really get started on my novel. Reality check. This is called "the geographical solution" in psych circles. Some people have the mistaken notion that their lives will instantly get better if they move to a different city. Reality check. Life doesn't work that way. Remember that line in the Billy Joel song, "Piano Man." The narrator says, "I know I could be a movie star if I just could get out of this place." If years go by and you are still clinging to the belief that everything will be different if you move, trust me, it won't. People are like turtles, we bring our shells with us.
Watch out for the "When-then's" in your conversation and in your self-talk. Nip them in the bud. Life is to be lived, right now, right here!! As Doris Day said in her famous song, "The future's not ours to see, que cera, que cera."