Did you know that your choice of words can affect your productivity and your stress levels?
There are things in our to-do list that we always succeed on doing (for example, taking our dog for a walk, buying present for a birthday party) but there are some things that stay on our to-do list forever. What makes the difference between the things that we are always doing and those that we never find the time/energy to do?
Right there is the key – in many cases, the words you choose when you talk to yourself can determine your ability to achieve the things you want or have to do. Let's take a more in-depth look.
Why You Are Not Doing Things You “Must” Do
When you were a child (from toddler to teens), it's likely that your parents told you that you need to keep your room clean and you have to do the dishes. Remember how it made you feel? You maybe got angry or nervous, and the wording might have even made you want to do exactly the opposite of what you were told to do.
Our parents aren't alone in telling us what we must, need, and have to do – we do it to ourselves as well. We use these coercion words (words meant to forcefully persuade someone to do something) on ourselves.
You say, “I have to call my aunt” or “I must work out today.” These statements can quickly cause an increase in your stress level and create distress. Because it promotes anxiety, it may also reduce your motivation to actually do what you thought you needed to do.
How to Motivate Yourself with the Right Use of Words
Consider checking if you are telling yourself “I must work out today,” “I have to call my aunt,” “I need to clean my kitchen,” and replace those coercion words with “want.” Say, “I want to work out today,” “I want to call my aunt,” “I want to clean my kitchen.” Do you notice a change in your feelings and your motivation to act when you do this switch?
When you change that one simple word, it is likely that you will feel less anxiety, and you will be more motivated to actually complete the task. It's easier to do something you want to do than it is to do something you feel like you're being forced to do.
I want you to give "want" a try!