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What is hope and how do I obtain it?

hand writing the word hope

As we’ve talked in previous blogs, mental health crises are on the rise in America among the youth of today. One important combative tool to this epidemic is hope. Hope is an abstract concept that many people struggle to define, but Chad Hellman has defined hope as “a belief that the future will be better, and that we have everything in our power to make it so.” This definition is an important one, as it is a belief that we have the power and therefore tools to make the future better- it is within our reach. But what are the tools, if we all really have them? How do we access this power if we do believe that it exists? Here’s three ways: 

  1. Use appropriate verbiage- Hope can sometimes be confused with optimism and wishful thinking. While those are good qualities to implement and have along the way, they are not hope in itself. Hope involves a plan and tools to make it better as you go. We often use phrases like “I hope my child can be happy.” While that has hope in the phrase, it doesn’t involve a plan of action. True hope within our definition would be stated like, “I hope my daughter can be happy, so I will note the times that she is happy and encourage her to do those things again.” To employ this road map, use specific goal setting strategies. The one who has the roadmap must set their own goals, and make it valuable and meaningful to them. If someone else is to set these goals, they will not be achieved as quickly and they will not put the same effort behind it. Avoid making goals from an avoidant mindset. Avoidant goals sound like “I hope I don’t get a C.” Instead, try moving towards what you do want, which might sound like, “I am going to try to get an A or a B.” 

  2. Create actions for a roadmap- Every goal needs to be tied to a verb in some way. Goals without verbs turn into wishful thinking. If a child says, “I want to try new things,” it would be unhelpful to just leave that as a goal. Instead they should brainstorm new things that they would want to try, ask other people for help, research things that they could be trying and maybe ask for support if they need it. Then they would need to reflect on the things they do try. Reflection is important, as it relies on memories and brain connections of their feelings. All of these can shape a good road map, because they are action based. A good plan also comes with a plan B. To create a better future, we have to acknowledge that sometimes plans don’t work the very first time. When they don’t, what will we do? Well, if we have a plan B, then we don’t usually struggle with that for long. A good road map will set up supports for the inevitable obstacle. 

  3. Have willpower- When things don’t go the way we hoped for, as aforementioned, we need a plan B. But, we also need willpower to get back up and do the plan B. Willpower is the mental stamina that it takes to get back up and keep going! This usually is where we see people struggle, as it can be hard to get back up and going. A few things you can do to get back up and going is to remember why the goal was set, and to reflect on that when you feel like you are without willpower. Also, take the goal one step at a time. Instead of looking at the total result, just look at one thing at a time. Thirdly, you can set affirmations that you can tell yourself. What you tell yourself becomes your reality! If we use these strategies, our willpower should be visible. 

At WeThrive Learning, we believe hope in the everyday is the best way to succeed. Creating these goals, however, can be overwhelming without support sometimes. If you or your family need support creating hope, then we can be of assistance. Go to our website today,, and book your free consultation today!

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