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I Can’t vs I Don’t

In Blog, Coaching, Goals, Mental Toughness, Peak Performance, Personal Development, Self Help, UnREALogical Health | on 07.30.19 | by | Comments ( 0 )

Think back to the last time you were faced with a choice that was related to one of your goals.

Maybe you have a goal to clean up your diet and lose weight and you were faced with the opportunity to eat a big piece of chocolate cake…

Maybe you and your spouse are saving money to buy a new house (or a car, or take a vacation, or…) and you ran across the latest whiz-bang gadget on a big Amazon Prime Day sale…

Maybe you were working on your business and you had an overwhelming urge to blow off important work and head for the beach…

Whatever the situation, there was a default response that you either said to yourself or actually said out loud.

What was that response?

Did you say/think “I CAN’T…” (eat chocolate cake… spend money… take time off…) or did you say/think “I DON’T…” (eat chocolate cake… spend money… take time off…)?

It may not seem like there is much difference between these statements, but let’s think about that for a minute.

The word “CAN’T” implies restriction… It implies that you have no choice in the matter… It lifts the burden of personal responsibility from your shoulders (where it belongs) and shifts it somewhere else. I’m not a big fan of being told what I can and can’t do. I like feeling like I have at least SOME level of control over my life and find that when I am restricted in some way I tend to rage against the machine.

Rules are made to be broken… You’re not the boss of me… I am the captain of my soul… That sort of thing.

Conversely, the word “DON’T” implies choice. You get to choose whether or not you engage in some particular action. You assume the responsibility for your actions and the consequences of those actions. I like that. I like that a lot!

Plus, when you say “I DON’T…” (eat chocolate cake… spend money… ) you are subtlety training your subconscious mind that you ARE the type of person who values certain behaviors (eating healthy… saving money for a higher purpose… hard work…).

Do you think it’s easier to resist temptation (whatever that temptation may be ) if you feel like you are being forced into a certain behavior or if you believe the choice to “do the right thing” is completely congruent with who you are at your core?

No brainer, right?

Pay attention to your self-talk (and your out loud talk) and every time you catch yourself thinking I can’t have this, or I can’t do that, just say No, I don’t do this, instead.