The words we use to describe ourselves make a difference in what we end up doing.
Think about the words you use to describe what you want.
There are four stages in the process.
- I need… (acceptance)
- I can… (realization)
- I will… (commitment)
- I am… (actualization)
For example, if we’re talking about weight loss, one’s self-talk progresses through the three stages like this:
- “I need to lose weight.”
- “I can lose weight.”
- “I will lose weight.”
- “I am losing weight.”
Acceptance is usually painful so most people try to avoid it. However, once accepted, the next step is to find support to reinforce that it can be done.
After realization comes commitment.
It might take some time to move to that phase. When stuck at realization, ask, “Why am I delaying moving forward?” Be honest with your answer.
Common replies include:
- “I don’t need to”
- “The cost is too high”
- “I’m afraid I’ll fail,” or simply…
- “I just don’t want to.”
Once the barrier is identified, use the “Think 1st” method to break down the obstacles into small achievable steps.
Finally, if it feels uncomfortable using the expression “I am…,” it’s because you have set unrealistic expectations and you are not giving yourself the credit you deserve. Find examples of where you are doing things well. Refrain from beating yourself up over mistakes. Remember, if guilt and shame were motivational, we’d all be more successful.
In the same way in which the words you use affect your relationships with others, they also affect what you do for you. Choose your words carefully.