I love words. I love to read and write and encourage others. And I sincerely believe that while actual words have no power, how you use them does. The argument, “You are just arguing semantics” makes my skin crawl. “Words can never hurt me?” Yeah, right. We give words power. They can lift up others or aim to pierce a soul. They should be considered and chosen wisely.
How you speak about yourself and others give a glimpse inside your character. Gossip and insecurity go hand in hand. As pop icon character Moira Rose (from Schitt’s Creek) so aptly puts it, “Gossip is the devil’s telephone. Best to just hang up.”
Words matter. Not on their own, but coupled with emotion, intention, and influence.
Your thoughts are the words you use to talk to yourself. These thoughts spark action. Spend some time thinking about how you use your words within your own mind. Focus on the intention behind them. Keep in mind that just because we think it, it doesn’t mean it is true. Question your thoughts. Ask yourself, “Is this true?” “What makes it true?” Answer honestly.
Consider how you phrase things in your own mind and then to others.
Try to avoid vague goal language—words slipped into statements that give you a pre-made excuse, or an “out.”
I might race this year.
Maybe I should consider going to bed a little earlier.
I should eat better. I should exercise more. I should be more patient. I should go visit a family member… I should, I should, I should.
Does that make you feel as anxious as I did writing it?
You have all the ability in the world to make whatever choice you want to make. It doesn’t have to be defined as right vs. wrong. But, when setting goals don’t confuse vague possibilities with concrete goals. If you tell yourself and others that you might race, your brain does not register that with the idea that you will race until you make it concrete.
Maybe you will do something? Your brain will keep doing whatever you are doing unless you decide to tell it something different. You cannot leave reaching goals up to chance. This kind of language leaves the door open to maybe you will OR maybe you won’t do what is needed to actualize your potential.
And the dreaded, I should. Every time I write this I have to fight the urge to insert the green vomit emoji. Who decides what you should do? Why do we think we can tell people what they should do? Saying out loud that you “should” do something is most often not the catalyst for actually doing it. Typically it only makes you feel like you are falling short of something, even with no real intention to do it. This can actually have even more of a negative impact.
I should only eat salad today. (But I know am not going to.) So, I guess I just might as well eat an entire cake.
You only have so much energy for each day. Stop spending it giving lip service to what you should do while still avoiding reaching your goals. Listen to your thoughts and if they are consistently vague or negative regarding your goals, consider why. It could be fear, lack of control, laziness, searching for comfort in the moment, sabotage, or insecurity. Or it could just be that you sincerely don’t want to do it. Don’t be afraid to consider whether or not you need to pivot.
Who CARES what you SHOULD do? YOU get to decide which goals bring value to your life and to those around you. Use authoritative words in your own mind and to others. Make choices and be prepared to own the consequences.
The intention of your words matters. Choose them wisely to nurture your own personal growth.
I will race.
I see the importance of going to bed earlier. I am going to start today.
I am going to eat at least five servings of vegetables a day. I will re-evaluate my exercising volume in two weeks and see if I want to add more.
Pre-COVID I spent a short amount of time with a goal in my own brain. I concocted it as a should and then shared it with a few friends as a false concrete goal. After performing well at IMWI 70.3 in 2019 I decided that I should take the next step to try to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do that race someday. But I truly don’t have any desire to race the Ironman distance right now. I thought I should do it now.
Luckily, I have gathered a few tools to stop myself from going down that path too far. “Was this thought true?” Nope. Okay, time to move on to what I really want and what it worth me spending my time and energy on.
Listen to your thoughts. Question them. Take your new awareness to another level, toward mindfulness. Being mindful means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations through a nurturing and gentle lens. When we practice mindfulness our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Mindfulness is being present. And being aware and present is the way to fully actualize your potential. Being aware is the only way to fully serve others.
I will leave you with some encouragement from the current pop culture queen of words, Moira Rose, “One must champion oneself and say, “I am ready for this!”
Speak to yourself like a champ. Use those strong words to take action for yourself and to encourage others. Champion you to love humanity.
AND…. A GIVEAWAY! I don’t write these blogs to only read my own words or “hear” my own voice. I write them to reach YOU. And, my heart lies in giving back to my community of readers and beyond. So… I am giving away a 4-week micro-all in coaching experience! This includes four weeks of personalized coaching with weekly meetings and assignments. Perfect for wannabe, beginner, or veteran runners, duathletes, cyclists, or triathletes who want to up-level their experience and their overall lives!
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Entries are due by Sunday, March 28th at midnight CST.