Not-To-Do List Challenge – Day 4 – Do Not Say “I Can’t”

We say it everyday without giving it a second thought. The term “I can’t” isn’t inherently bad, but when we say it often enough it leads to two things; 1) It limits what we believe we are capable of achieving and 2) It immediately stops the creative process in its tracks.

For today, whenever you hear yourself say or think “I can’t” correct yourself and say, “How can I?” or “I don’t/I choose”. These terms are significantly better for putting us in a mindset that will lead to success. Here’s How:

How Can I

When we say “I can’t” our minds are immediately prevented from trying to find a solution or way around a problem that is presented to us. That problem could be as simple as a friend inviting you to a concert this Friday. If you have committed to saving more money then you might immediately say “I can’t afford the ticket.”

However, if you replace “I can’t” with “How can I” your mind will automatically start to try to find a solution to this problem. You might research a way to save on groceries, decide not to eat out one less day this month, or you could decide to start a side hustle for some extra income.

If you want to enhance the effect using “How can I” write it down. In an article published by Dr Patricia Wade from the Indiana University School of Medicine, she explains how writing stimulates an area of the brain that is responsible for assigning importance to new information.

If you are still stuck after asking yourself “How can I,” don’t simply give up and go back to saying “I can’t,” Rephrase it so that you can take ownership of the situation.

“I don’t” or “I choose”

If asking yourself “How can I” leads to a dead end and you honestly are unable to do something, it is helpful to still avoid using the phrase “I can’t.” That phrase, as mentioned in a study published by the Journal of Consumer Research , creates a negative feedback loop that reminds us of our limitations and makes us think of ourselves as victims. When we victimize ourselves we are far less likely to stick with a plan or decision.

So instead of making yourself the victim, use “I don’t” or “I choose” instead. These phrases create positive feedback loops because it is now a choice we are making and we think of ourselves as having control of the situation.

If you have wanted to read more about investing before work but have struggled to create the time by waking up earlier, don’t victimize yourself by saying “I can’t wake up earlier to read that book because I’m too tired.” Say, “I choose to not wake up earlier to read a chapter of my book.” This puts you in the mindset that you are in control and you will either A) agree that sleep and physical well being is a priority for you at the moment or you will realize that you were just feeling sorry for yourself because that extra hour of sleep would feel better in the short term.

“I can’t” is simply a pessimistic mindset on things. It makes you victimize yourself and believe that you have less control than you actually do. Instead of saying “I can’t,” turn it into a solvable problem by asking yourself “How can I” or give yourself control of the situation by saying “I don’t” or “I choose.” You will be shocked at how much more control you actually have over your decisions.

Just today alone I found myself saying, “I can’t find the time to find out how I can improve my blog.” I rephrased the statement into “How can I find the time to improve my blog” and I my solution became, “I can ask you, the reader how I can improve my blog.

Normally this is where I would say please comment what you think about this article below and follow me on social media (Still do that!). But today I’d like for you to comment on what you have enjoyed reading so far or what you think I can improve on. Please let me know below and thank you in advance!

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