The Language of Choice

How frequently do you find yourself uttering phrases like: I shouldn't, I can't, and I have to? Chances are, it's a daily recurrence, happening several times. Such statements tend to strip us of power. Consider a study that split participants into two groups, both aiming to improve their diets. Group A adopted the mantra, I don't consume unhealthy snacks, whereas Group B leaned on, I can't consume unhealthy snacks.

The choice of "I don't" reflects a decision made from personal conviction, whereas "I can't" seems to stem from external limitations. The outcome? Group A, the ones affirming their personal choice through "I don't," were notably more successful in adhering to their nutritional goals.

This concept has been dubbed 'empowered refusal,' emphasizing that it represents a deliberate choice or decision. This mindset empowers us in our goal-setting and decision-making processes. Conversely, phrases like 'I can't' can amplify emotional stress, diminishing the likelihood of achieving our objectives.

Therefore, instead of resorting to phrases such as 'I shouldn't,' 'I have to,' or 'I can't,' consider replacing them with 'I'm going to,' 'I'm not going to,' 'I will,' or 'I have decided to.' This language shift not only communicates to others but also reinforces to ourselves the strength of our agency, underscoring that our choices are intentional and mindful, rather than passive or automatic.

I understand the sentiment that there are tasks at work you'd rather not do, such as sifting through an endless inbox. It's a common feeling. However, consider the broader picture: you accepted a job role, possibly with a promotion and higher salary, both of which were appealing. With this new position came the expectation of increased responsibilities, like managing more emails. In essence, this was a choice you made. And what drove this choice? Likely, the desire for financial independence. And why is that financial independence important? It could be for the peace of mind it brings, or the opportunities it opens up to travel and experience life more fully.

Remember, our present decisions stem from past choices. With this perspective, encourage yourself to use language that empowers you towards your objectives and the life you aspire to lead.

Written and filmed by Melanie Whitney. 2022

Instagram @melaniewhitney_

Read or watch the others in the series here:

  1. The Language of choice
  2. How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
  3. How to Manifest the Life You Want to Live
  4. Creating Your "To Be" List


Shop now

Invest in the tools that transform sleep from an afterthought into a priority.