You may not realize it, but every waking moment your brain is filled with mind chatter. This internal conversation is framing the way you see yourself and everything that happens to you, and most of it is negative and judgmental. Your mind chatter, or whatever you choose to call it, can make you feel both afraid to do something and guilty if you don’t. Good news! Research shows that even a slight decrease in your negative self-talk increases your ability to respond to the world more creatively and reduces self-induced stress.
Begin by monitoring your self-talk and eliminate the negative or quickly substitute a positive phrase for the limiting ones. Be on the lookout for sentences that begin with the following phrases. By using these phrases you sacrifice the power of personal responsibility in exchange for blame, regret, guilt, hopelessness and additional stress.
1. If only Drop this one altogether! Mourning the past keeps you from building the future.
2. I’ll try This is one of the most frustrating phrases because it is a weak excuse for not doing anything. To quote Yoda, “Do or do not… there is no try.”
3. I should have Using this phrase brings in blame, regret, and guilt. Way too much baggage to carry; send it to the trash bin!
4. I could have If you must express this sentiment rephrase it as, “I had a chance to but instead I chose . . .”
5. I ought to Sounds like another reason to procrastinate. Use this phrase only if you like standing still and accomplishing nothing.
6. I must Most often this is a result of some long ago message drummed into your head by a well meaning parent or former control freak boss. Time to grow up and make your own decisions; it’s your life; choose to be in charge.
7. I’d better This phrase signals you might know what to do but you’re standing there contemplating or waiting for someone to give you an excuse not to. Cut through the double talk and go with “I choose to” then move forward.
8. I meant to Excuses, excuses, excuses, and a poor one at that. Hit delete and never bother to utter this phrase again!
9. If it weren’t for When you hear this you know a pity party is coming along with big helpings of blame. There is power in personal responsibility so tap into it already!
10. Why didn’t I We could all waste time with this one but hey, that would be wasting our life! Stop beating yourself over the head and live in the now.
Life is not as hard as you make it. Quit adding to the negativity of the world and banish these phrases from your vocabulary forever!
Darla Arni is a professional speaker, author, and life strategist who inspires a call to action for self-improvement, life balance, improved health, better attitudes and positive choices. Her work and experiences have been featured on CNN.com, MSNBC, iVillage, VoiceAmerica and BlogTalk radio and numerous blogs and newsletters.