How often are you saying the words: I shouldn't, I can't, and I have to? Probably every single day, multiple times a day. These words are things that really make you feel disempowered. There's a study done where they divided two groups who wanted to make nutritional changes to their diet. And one group (A) would say things like I don't eat unhealthy snacks, while group B would say things like I can't eat unhealthy snacks.
Now, the "I don't" indicates a personal choice. The "I can't" indicates a type of external constraint. Guess which group was most successful? Group A. The group that said I don't eat unhealthy snacks.
This was coined as a term named empowered refusal. So it is a decision, it is a choice you are making. And that makes us feel more powerful when it comes to our goals and our decision making. When we say things like I can't, it actually increases your emotional stress, lessening the chance of you achieving your goals.
So instead of saying words like "I shouldn't", "I have to", "I can't". Swap those words out for "I'm going to" or "I'm not going to", "I will" or "I have decided to". These will communicate not to just others, but to yourself, of the power you have, that the choices you are making are ones that you are actually consciously making, not just unconscious choices.
Now, I know you might be thinking, there are actually things at my job that I don't want to do. I don't want to answer all of these emails. It's normal. But if you think about it, let's say this job role that you've agreed to, let's say you got a promotion and with that promotion got higher pay, which you were excited about and also understood that more emails would come with this new role. So technically, you did choose the situation. And why did you choose it? Probably for the financial freedom. Why do you want this financial freedom? Maybe it allows you to have a lifestyle that is less stressful, allows you to explore more places.
So we often forget that our current choices are connected to previous choices we made. So keep that in mind as you go about your day. Use empowered language to get you closer to your goals and the life you really want to live.
Written and filmed by Melanie Whitney, for Drowsy Sleep Co. 2022
See the others in the series here.