Have you ever thought about the words you use in day to day life, and thought about how they might be changing the way you think, act and feel?
Words can help or hurt, motivate or discourage. Words can mean the difference between giving up or achieving your goal. Or they can affect your whole day, week or life.
I’ve written about this before: the way that changing the words you use can make things seem easier to achieve or help you deal with your day more constructively or help you be more happy. Using different and more positive words can help you keep going when things are tough, or help banish excuses and help get exercise done instead.
As you probably know, I’ve learned to use positive self talk, mainly for use in running marathons, for when it gets tough. But I’ve realised I use it in every day life now too:
Keep going / Don’t stop
You’re doing great / You’re slowing down
My feet are fine / My feet are killing me I want to stop
I’m going to make time / I don’t have any time
I can / I can’t
I feel fine / I feel like crap
It’s what makes the difference between having a great day and a crappy day. And it’s when I’m wearing my CAPE that I’m really able to fly.
If you haven’t come across my ‘cape theory’ here it is: https://lornpearsontrains.co.uk/2013/08/02/my-present-to-you/ )
The words of others can even affect you too. As an example, the words of a doctor can affect a patient’s health.
If a Dr says, ‘We have this treatment, we’re not sure it’ll work but we’re trying it anyway’, then (it’s been shown that) the effectiveness of the treatment will actually be reduced. If the Dr doesn’t believe in it, and the patient ends up not believing in it, and it ends up being not as successful as it could have been!
The words of a partner, friend or work colleague can affect how you feel and how you see your day or your week.
On Monday at 9am I asked a colleague, out of courtesy,
‘How are you?’,
and he replied quite seriously,
‘Is it Friday yet?’
‘It can’t be that bad is it? It’s only 9am on Monday!’
‘oh yes, it’s that bad’.
Luckily it didn’t take the bounce out of my Monday-morning-I’ve-just-beasted-a-strength-session-step! (If I’m honest, it actually made me feel good that I was looking forward to my busy day ahead! Oops).
Healthy and successful people have their own vocabulary. And I’ve realised I do too. It’s the reason I walk to work and home from work with a smile on my face. The reason I feel good, happy and content 99% of the time.
Healthily and successful people view:
Failure and feedback.
Problems as challenges.
Frustration as fascination.
Confused means curious.
Shoulds become musts.
Older beans wiser.
Injury is an inconvenience.
Some people see injury as a massive problem, the end of the world, a reason to give up. I see it as a chance to learn from and a reason to try something else. It might mean more rest, more time out or a change in what I’m doing.
Looking at the world in a positive way: challenges, feedback, inconvenience, helps you to look at the challenges you face and learn. It helps you to find solution to those challenges, improve and move on.
Unfit people say they HAVE to workout. Fit people say they GET to work out.
To unfit people, exercise is a chore. To fit people, exercise is an opportunity to improve and they feel grateful for it, because they know other people might not be able to do what they can. (See my Run an Adventure, for those who can’t).
A diet is seen as a restrictive eating programme that you go on, suffer through, and then get off and go back to normal. I prefer to use the words ‘nutrition plan’ instead of diet. It removes the emotional baggage and presumes you’ll be eating nutrient dense foods and have a plan.
The word ‘can’t’ does not mean something is impossible. It jeans you have chosen not to do it. ‘Can’t’ really means that you won’t or you haven’t yet.
When you use the word ‘can’t’, it completely stops your brain from working on solutions. To move your brain into a possibilities frame, change ‘I can’t’ to ‘How can I?’. It’s not that you can’t, you just haven’t figured out how yet.
You might remember the little girl in my beginner class at swimming lessons a year or so ago – she was shouting ‘I CANNIE DO IT, I CANNIE DO IT!’
Believing in yourself, reframing the words you use and the way you think can have a dramatic effect on your life. So can surrounding yourself with positive people, and ignoring or removing the negative people in your life. (I’m sure I must annoy people at work with my smiles and positivity!)
So the next time someone asks you:
‘How are you?’
Think twice, put a smile on and say, ‘I’m good, how are you?’ See if it helps you to feel good the rest of the day.
The next time some negative words are about to slip out of your mouth: Stop. Think. And change what you were going to say, into a positive. You might surprise yourself about how good it makes you feel. 🙂