A blog popped into my inbox last month from my colleague Conni Medina titled Choose Your Words Wisely. I recently wrote about elevating the conversations we have with ourselves so I eagerly read her piece. Spot on.
Her focus was on a particular set of words, those that hint at obligation rather than choice, like “should” and “have to.” These are words I hear in every coaching call. In every prospect call. In almost every conversation I have with myself and others. We say them without question.
Many years ago, I trained with a Registered Dietician to learn nutrition and intuitive eating concepts. She told a story of finishing with her last patient of the day and as they left together, she casually said “I have to go to the gym.” Her patient, wheelchair-bound, said “you don’t have to go to the gym; you get to go to the gym.”
Consider the times you say those words:
- I have to cook dinner for my family
- I shouldn’t eat any more
- I should exercise
Can we say drudgery? Deprivation?
But what if we change those around:
- I choose to cook dinner for my family
- I’ve decided to stop eating when I’m satiated
- I’ve committed to regular exercise
When we use the language of choice, we use the language of freedom. And our brains like that much better than feeling forced to do something. But as Conni wrote, sometimes feeling obligated may indicate that you’re over-committed or doing things you don’t enjoy. How do you know the difference?
Ask yourself and trust the answer. For example, would you commit to the project/position/task all over again? Would you bow out if given the opportunity? Would you make a difference choice today?
You don’t “have to” do anything. Sure, there are consequences to not doing the thing (like paying taxes), but be honest with yourself that it’s a choice.
Once you identify what you genuinely don’t want to do anymore, consider how you can remove yourself from those duties.
For the others, be purposeful with your words. Use the language of choice. You’ll notice an entirely different relationship to the tasks. Doing the things becomes easier. In some cases, effortless.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if losing weight and keeping it off, felt more effortless? It can be. Let’s talk!