When I Say “I Don’t”

I found an amazing article this week which got stuck in my mind, and I hope it stays there for awhile: The Amazing Power of ‘I Don’t’ vs. ‘I Can’t’.


Isn’t it crazy when a couple of words can make all the difference?

I mentioned on Wednesday that it’s been over five years since I changed my diet for health reasons, and during that time, I have always said things like, “I can’t eat sugar,” or “I can’t eat chips”.

EVERYTHING changes when I say “I don’t eat sugar.”

Suddenly, it sounds like this strong choice I’m making for my own health, rather than some terrible burden I must bear because someone out there is not allowing me the pleasure of eating whatever I want.

Try it.

As in right now.

Pick one thing you “can’t” do, and say it out loud. Now change it to “I don’t”.

Amazing. I’ve already been making some awesome, healthy choices simply because I feel like I have the power to do so. I choose to do this for myself. Nobody’s forcing me. I’m not being held back. I can, but I choose not to.

4 thoughts on “When I Say “I Don’t”

  1. The power of words, hey? This spills into so many areas of our lives. Thanks for the reminder of how our words can cause us to feel empowered about our choices! Seems so small, but how much it can change our perspective! Love it! I will walk through my day with this on my mind. Now I wonder…does this work for chores? Can I say…I DON’T do laundry? Teehee.

    • Yes, you can say you don’t do laundry. Maybe “I DON’T do laundry, but just for today, I will make an exception…” Would that make you feel any better?:)

  2. I have done the same except instead of I can’t or I should I say I am choosing not to. That makes a big difference if I say, “I should bring so and so supper” and then substitute I am choosing not to suddenly empowers me to do it. I can’t and I should are excuse words where you don’t have to take ownership.

    • I quite like this idea of eliminating “I should” as well. It really makes no sense – if you should, then DO, or else acknowledge that you’re choosing not to! Very wise.

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