The anticipation effect

visualize the future

visualize the future (Photo credit: vnaylon)

I’ve always thought that being in the moment brought about the greatest happiness. Don’t dwell on mistakes of the past, don’t stress about the future. Just “be” and all  is well.


According to The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) (Yes, this is a real thing) and a recent study on vacations and vacation planning, the greater amount of respondents were happier in the planning stages than actually on the vacation.

Besides wondering how I can become employed by such a fun sounding society, I had to delve into this a little deeper. These lucky folks indeed studied vacationers as they planned their trips, then again when they returned from said trips. Apparently the most fun for the largest sector was in the planning of the trips.

The outcomes of this study “helped decision makers apply performance measures and outcome assessment techniques.” To me, this means, company management can go ahead and cancel vacation days. Work product will increase, dividends will pay big time. All a company has to do is ask employees to spend an hour a week planning a vacation that they will never, ever take. Let them dream of warm beaches, snowy peaks, great museums. They don’t have to buy new clothes, strip down for TSA, or sit idle on the tarmac.

If all people have to do is anticipate something to feel great, I am feeling terrific! I’m visualizing my latest novel published, whether it ever gets there or not. Success guaranteed. What the hell am I doing editing a novel when I can just visualize it. I can see the cover now, designed by my friends at Hunchback Graphics. I can see myself signing piles of books at a trendy booksellers, sipping a skinny latte, joking with famous people.

In fact, why am I writing this blog, when I could have just planned it? I suppose you knew this all along and allowed me to keep going.

Thanks a lot.

What are you visualizing?


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7 Responses to The anticipation effect

  1. Really made me wonder for sure . . . .thanks for sharing the reflection, Sally. I visualize a relaxing vacation for Mike & me in January, with all the planning joy delegated to a travel agent. Miss you, soul sister from Weymouth

  2. Mary-Jane Wright says:

    I visualize sitting in my small apartment in Hull, inhaling the aroma of a roasting turkey. Forget the 7 ayem flight from Florida to get there, forget the food shopping in a maze of crazed people, forget the cooking. Just relax and enjoy the day.

  3. Samantha says:

    That makes you think! What can we plan next!

    Thanks Sally, please don’t stop writing your blog!

  4. Linda M says:

    Agreed! Please don’t stop writing your blog! We love it. And speaking of which, I am now more conscious of when I use exclamation points. They are overused!!!! 😉
    I’ve heard of this phenom with anticipation of vacations. I think it kind of makes some sense, because the hassle of travelling there, and sometimes the thoughts of/planning can be more dreamy and surreal than the actual day to day of getting there, and what actually occurs on vacation. Though, some of my lovely trips to the Caribbean with Bill were fantastic, and so so relaxing, restorative and just plain amazing. I dream of going there again someday… I sooooooo loved Barbados, my first foray into the beautiful Caribbean. Jamaica was amazing too. And little Amelia Island on the west coast of Florida was like a Peaks Island, only tropical and a bit more artsy. Loved it.
    YES! This is working. Dreaming of (even if not exactly planning) is making me very happy and peaceful. Nice start to a wednesday. Thanks Sally!! 🙂

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