This headline sounds like hyperbole, right? Can you really change your life by changing your language … i.e., the words you speak? The following article shows how what you say can be a game changer when it comes to the success of your chronic illness health goals. Can one word be all that powerful?
In a word? YES.
Before I dive into that one word – let me share something quick that you need to know right now.
Here’s the basic process of change. These four steps follow each other like dominoes in succession:
- 1) Introduction or exposure to a new idea
- 2) Entertaining the “truth” or value of new idea
- 3) Declaring acceptance of new idea
- 4) Taking ACTION based on that new idea
Here’s how this plays out as an equation.
New Idea + New Thoughts + Declaration = ACTION
It’s important to note that the declaration in item #3 doesn’t have to be based on your full acceptance of the idea or concept. You just have to demonstrate a willingness to try it on for size. Here’s another important note. Actions ALWAYS follow thought. Meaning, when we change what we think, the actions that follow will reflect that change.
Here’s an example.
Years ago, I thought that foods had no effect on my fibromyalgia symptoms. In fact, I’d been told this directly by my doctor (sadly, from many doctors). Oh, how I wanted that to be true! Who wouldn’t want to think they could eat anything and have no adverse effects?
My research, however, told me otherwise. So, I entertained thoughts about changing what I ate. I thought about healthier, whole, REAL foods. I read more. I researched more. I listened more.
Finally, I said, “I have to try changing how I eat. If my belief that it won’t work is true, at least I’ll have proven it as fact.”
Fortunately, I was wrong. And, I proved it.
I changed what I ate
and I changed my life.
I healed most of my fibromyalgia symptoms and went on to learn other key principles, healing even more. The point is that my action (changing what I ate) followed my new thoughts that said, “What if? What if foods can make a difference?”
So … getting back to the power of words.
What ONE word can help you shift into empowered action? Here’s the most helpful tip I can share:
Remove the word CAN’T
from your dietary vocabulary.
Can’t implies that you’re unwillingly being held back from something. Something that you want.
Have you ever said …
I can’t have wheat/gluten
I can’t have sugar
I can’t eat fast food
I can’t eat processed foods
While the above statements may be what you’re aiming for, you’re missing the mark. The way they’re phrased shows that you’re restricting or controlling your nutritional intake. Restriction never places you in the driver’s seat!
How ‘bout this instead?
I don’t consume wheat/gluten
I don’t consume sugar
I don’t choose fast foods
I don’t choose processed foods
What’s the diff? One sounds like a plea – the other, a declaration. Check out this simple illustration. Imagine you’ve given up alcohol. Here are two ways to say it. I can’t have alcohol. Or, I’m a non-drinker.
Can you feel the shift?
One feels like an admission of defeat –
the other a declaration of strength.
Anything that we restrict or try to push away from us will ultimately push back.
So how can changing this one word change your life? The answer to that also happens to be one word: ACTION.
When you think empowered thoughts – empowered action follows.
Try it on for size. What can you restate by removing the word “CAN’T” from your vocabulary?
What empowered actions will you take today?
As one very strong-willed and opinionated individual who detests being told what to do, this philosophy works great for me. It’s all about perception…my body isn’t telling what I can’t have, it’s telling me what I need to thrive! Thank you for the reminder to shift my focus to the positive!
Love the comment! It’s the shift that keeps on giving 😉
I found changing my eating habits very difficult when I thought of this as a “diet”. After all, at least in my mind, a diet usually ends at some point. When I changed my way of thinking to adopting a lifestyle that included “healthy eating” it was so much easier for me to eat less processed foods, dairy, sugar and wheat.
I love this Sue! It gives the power back to me by declaring it my decision. “Can’t” seems like the decision is imposed on me. “Don’t” is saying I’m the decision maker!
Kim – I’m glad this has struck a chord with you. You ARE the decision-maker when it comes to your own health!
I like what Kim says about ‘can’t’ being something forced on someone and ‘don’t’ being a choice. That’s exactly what it’s like and can make a huge difference. What would be great if others accepted when you say you don’t eat something. For example, the local Veteran’s hospital was having an ice cream social in the lobby. As I passed by to leave, several volunteers offered the ice cream to me. After saying ‘no, thank you’ several times, the volunteers kept pushing it. I know everyone loves ice cream, but dairy just hurts my body. I finally had to say, “I can’t have dairy. It hurts my body.” It was embarrassing for me. I don’t know why. Couldn’t they just accept my ‘no, thank you’?
There is a new linkup I’m hosting every Friday for spoonie bloggers to linkup posts about chronic illness. I’d love for you to join us! http://www.beingfibromom.com/chronic-friday-linkup-1/
Gentle hugs, Brandi, Being Fibro Mom
Brandi – thanks for jumping in here and I appreciate you sharing with the group! Hope we can connect at your linkup soon 😉
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