Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. —Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back

So many of us say we're "trying"—trying to be more considerate of others, to take time for ourselves, to find the time to make a difference in the world—but "try" as we might, we never really get around to it. That's because saying we're trying is the great escape from doing. We want to excuse ourselves for not doing, and we want to avoid looking at the real reasons that have kept us from following through: "It's not our fault that we haven't done it, 'cause we're trying." We don't go any further with it, and nothing really changes. When all we can manage is "trying," there is inevitably something else, something hidden or at least unexamined, that is really preventing us from doing what we want to do.

So next time you hear yourself saying, "I'm trying," take a moment to look at what is standing in your way of doing this thing you say you want to do. Is it that you are motivated by guilt—thinking that you "should" be doing it rather than being propelled by any sense that you want to? Do you perhaps feel pressured by others, rather than from your own inner desires? Are you afraid that doing it will make you too vulnerable, or that you will fail? Or is it that you really don't feel like being kind because you are too angry at the world—or someone in particular?

The old habits and personal issues that can keep us locked into a limited and lonely existence can be difficult to sort through and even more difficult to shed, but we can never find our way until we at least face them squarely. If you find yourself "trying," stop and search instead for the puppeteer behind the curtain.

Editors of Random Acts of Kindness in Practice Random Acts of Kindness