You can either be the victim of your words or be the architect of them. Which one would you prefer?”
Learning To Say No
Learning how to say “no” gracefully is one of the most useful skills you can develop, especially when it comes to up leveling the results that you want to create in your life!
• Saying no to unnecessary commitments can give you the time you need to get the things done that support your goals.
• Saying no to daily distractions can give you the space you need to focus on what is important to you.
• Saying no to frequent temptations can help you stay on track and achieve your goals. (we will talk about that more…)
We all know by now that small changes can make a huge impact over time…the compound effect. Learning to say “no” to the pull of others outside of you, says “yes” to your dreams and your goals.
Why “I Don’t” Works Better Than “I Can’t”
Your words help to frame your sense of empowerment and control.
The words that you use create a loop in your brain that impacts your future behaviors, kind of like an application that runs in the background.
For example, every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you create a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations.
However, when you tell yourself “I don’t”, you are creating a feedback loop that reminds you of your control and power over the situation.
It’s a phrase that can propel you towards breaking your bad habits and following your good ones.
Heidi Grant Halvorson is the director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. Here’s how she explains the difference between saying “I don’t” compared to “I can’t”…
“I don’t” is experienced as a choice, so it feels empowering. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. “I can’t” isn’t a choice. It’s a restriction, it’s being imposed upon you. So thinking “I can’t” undermines your sense of power and personal agency.
In other words, the phrase “I don’t” is a psychologically empowering way to say no, while the phrase “I can’t” is a psychologically draining way to say no.
Applying This To Your Life
“I can’t” and “I don’t” are words that seem similar and we often interchange them for one another, but psychologically they can provide very different feedback and, ultimately, result in very different actions.
They aren’t just words and phrases. They are affirmations of what you believe, reasons for why you do what you do, and reminders of where you want to go.
The ability to manage life’s temptations will depend on your ability to develop the skill of saying “no” and “I don’t.” instead of “yes” and “I can’t.”
Now, go be a goal setting, goal getting, goal digger!