When it's all said and done, far more is said than done.
So much of the stress and anxiety bedevilling today's society is the result of unmet expectations.
Too many people spend too much time talking about what they are going to do and never actually doing it.
Promises are made but not kept.
Assurances are given with no real intent.
Words are cheap and conversations are too readily bankrupted.
Broken spirits result.
What's needed is more accountability, increased honesty and a greater acceptance of responsibility.
And it all starts at a personal level.
It's unreasonable to expect those around us to do as they say and remain true if we aren't doing the same.
It's not possible to live another person's life for them.
The only way to influence real change in another person is to set a good example and it can be difficult to maintain consistency.
It's important for us to decide who it is that we aspire to be ... and then work on strategies that move us from aspiration to destination.
Accepting that every day is a fresh start and a new opportunity to be a better person than we were yesterday helps us to be more honest with ourselves and concentrate on the changes we need to make - changes no-one else can make for us.
- Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor. For information about Rural Aid services, visit www.ruralaid.org.au