Focus on Your Word Choices

5 Deflating Phrases replaced by 5 Empowering Ones.

It’s been eight months since my daughter decided to change her health habits. She gave up sugar and white flour, just a couple of changes she made.  She works out five to six days a week, sometimes with a trainer. We were at a family wedding, and she was checking out the desserts and said, I can’t have any. I quickly replied, “no, you choose not to have any.”

The word choices are part of our mindset. My daughter could eat the cake if she wanted to eat it; she was choosing not to because she made a commitment to her health.

Words can empower us or deflate us. Years ago, I started the exercise of changing words and phrases to be more empowering.  It started when I read Sam Horn’s book Tongue Fu!  I was later certified to facilitate her program. I have since added to it with my own techniques.

The words we use can either deflate us or motivate us. I have to can be replaced with the phrase I get to. When you make a commitment to lose weight or improve your health, exercise is most likely part of it. I have to go walking makes us feel forced and controlled. So, I can say, I get to go walking. The positive phrase changes our mindset. I get to go to the gym. I’m blessed to be able to do these things. I’m blessed I have the time do it. It helps us focus on gratitude.

I picked up my daughter from the gym one day and she wasn’t the same upbeat self that she normally is when she is done working out. After a few minutes, she kept saying. I should’ve worked out harder. I should’ve spent more time at the gym. I didn’t get a good enough workout like I normally do. I replied, “next time you can work out harder. Next time, you can stay longer.”

We beat ourselves up all the time with I should have… Sometimes we say, “you should’ve,” to other people. It’s a deflating phrase. No one can change the past. However, we have options of what we can do the next time.

When my daughter made that decision to change her lifestyle habits to improve her health, she didn’t know how to approach it. She knew she wanted to make changes. She kept saying, “I don’t know what to do.” She also said, “I don’t know where to start.” I asked her, “well, where do you think you can find the answers?”

Information is literally at our fingertips. We can do internet searches of just about anything. There are many programs focused on weight loss, exercise, and healthy habits. There are nutritionists, gyms, trainers, and coaches. She sought out the expertise of people in the health industry. She spent hours watching videos on exercise, eating habits and nutrition. She spent several session working out with a trainer who taught her how to exercise. She met with a nutritionist who affirmed what she had been doing for several months.

There have been many moments in my life, I have felt like a failure both professionally and personally. I have uttered those words, “I feel like such a failure” to my husband on more than one occasion. When I worked in county government, my colleague had a quote taped on the wall in the office we shared. It read, Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth.

We can replace the phrase, I am a failure with the phrase, I haven’t figured it out, yet. Just because I didn’t get it right the first time, doesn’t mean I won’t the next time. I have struck out hundreds of times wearing many different hats –  as a communications strategist, coach, content creator, as a wife and as a mother. I remind myself daily, I can find the way where I can get it right.

The words we choose can move us forward or paralyze us in place. The next time you catch yourself using any of the phrases we should lose, pick the replacements to use.

Lose this                 Use this

I can’t                        I choose not to

I have to                    I get to

I should have          Next Time

I don’t know            I can find out

I am a failure          I haven’t figured it out

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