Avoid negative word triggers

Choosing Will over will not.

As my 47th birthday approached, I'd been thinking a lot about birthday resolutions. I feel birthday resolutions carry more urgency than new years resolutions because they are more personal and more directly tied to our own mortality.

My friend Chip told me about an year long challenge he gave himself that had a dramatic impact on his life. The challenge was to go a year without speaking the word not. His wife later took the challenge and expanded it to include the words can't or don't or won't. The idea stemmed from the fact that when someone asked how he was doing, he' often respond with 'not bad.' Saying 'not bad' isn't an answer because the other person didn't ask how you were not doing, they asked you how you were doing. Answering 'not bad' is a way of avoiding telling how you are actually doing.

This is an opportunity to tap into authenticity. An opportunity to share more of who I am. The question someone asks me how I'm doing is to ask myself how I'm actually doing.

No more avoiding the question. Next time you ask someone how they are doing and they respond 'not bad' respond, consider asking reminding them that you didn't ask you how they weren't doing - you asked how they actually are doing.

Of course, often times - we ask out of courtesy. We don't really expect an answer.


Next time your asked the question 'How are you doing?' answer without using the word not.

Simon says

Some examples that took more thought.

I'm well. It's a another sunny day and I'm grateful for my health. I appreciate your concern.


I had a great weekend, but excited for what the lies ahead.


I'm not as good as I'm gonna get, but I'm better than I used to be.


I'm not sure, but I'll reflect a bit on it and let you know.

On the contrary, an answer of 'not bad' takes no thought.

The times you say or think 'not' ____, you are taking the easy 'no thought' way out.

Remove the following negative programming words from your vocabulary:

If you are keeping a +1 scorecard for the day, give yourself a -1 every time you use one of the negative triggers.

When you find yourself about to say 'not bad,' recognize you are stating the opposite is true. So just say: I'm good. But then take a moment to really think about why that statement is true.

This may be hard for you, and if so, it's worth reflecting why that is.

I don't need to know what you won't do.
I need to know what you will.

There are an endless number of things we can't do. But how many of those things might we be able to do if we try?

Next time an opportunity presents itself to do something new, instead of saying you can't do it, say you'll try.

You never know what you aren't capable of until you try. And if you expect to fail on the first attempt, you'll be far less shaken by the failure. Consider this is the first of several times at bat. As many as you want. It's your game, nobody else's. Don't let others define the rules of your game. Snap! There's that word don't again, sneaking it's way into my consciousness.

Another way of stating you never know is 'I will try ____.'

The subtle shift in the words you choose can change your confidence level. You confidence level in turn impacts your ability.

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