Most people don’t like to make New Year’s Resolutions because they don’t last much past January 10th. However, this year, I challenge you to make one of your resolutions to eliminate these weak, life-limiting words from your vocabulary.
1. Can’t–The word can’t is a show stopper. As soon as you say you can’t do something, you’ll never really try or even investigate doing something and instead, push it aside. For example, to say, “I can’t lose weight,” is a ridiculous phrase. If someone wired your jaw shut and chained you to a moving treadmill, you’d lose weight. So in fact, you can lose weight, you’re just CHOOSING NOT TO do what needs to be done to lose weight and you WON’T lose weight until you make different choices.
Rather than saying can’t, focus on what you can do or at least say, “I choose not to ___,” instead.
2. Maybe– The word maybe is one of the weakest words in the English language. If you tell yourself maybe you’ll do something, you allow yourself to procrastinate making a decision about it and it’s likely never going to happen. When you tell others maybe, as in “Maybe I’ll drop by your party,” it’s basically as bad as not answering the question at all. When you use the word maybe, you leave everyone in limbo.
3. Try– Saying “I’ll try,” basically dooms you to failure. In fact, when most people say they’ll try, they usually know already that they’re not going to do the thing they’re saying they’ll try to do. If it’s a request from someone else that you don’t want to do, just learn to say no. Otherwise, replace “I’ll try,” with “I will.”
4. Should– Whether used to guilt yourself into doing something, “I really should exercise more,” or used when you’re procrastinating, “I really should get started on my taxes,” the word “should” causes a negative mindset and actually increases desire not to do the task. Instead of saying “should,” say, “I choose to ___,” and finish the sentence with what you need to do AND why you need to do it. “I choose to get started on my taxes so I’m not stressed like I was last year when I waited until the last minute.”
5. But– The word “but” basically eliminates or discounts everything you stated before you say it. “He’s a really nice guy, but…,” “Yes, I like your tie, but…” “No, your butt doesn’t look big, but…” Sentences like these aren’t going to end well. The other shoe is going to drop and what the speaker really thinks or feels is coming.
Instead of using the word “but” to tie a positive to a negative thought, keep the ideas separate. “Bob is a really nice guy. He’s also a perfectionist, so be sure to double check your work before you submit it to him.”
I’m sticking to these five for now, to make this resolution more manageable. However, there are many more words and phrases we should all try to eliminate from our speech.
What other words/phrases would you add to this list?
These are great words to eliminate! I read something similar on the internet a year ago and quit using the word “just” in my email communication. The word implies that your are asking for approval or permission. “I just wanted to check in to see if you had time to review the email I sent a couple days ago.” Rather it is better to say- “I am checking in to see where you are in your review….” Much more confident!