There is no can’t. There is only won’t.
It’s fine to choose won’t. But be empowered about it. For example, my best friend has recently decided to start training for a triathlon. That’s right. Biking, swimming, and then running. Of course, since we’re besties and like to do things together, she asked me to do it with her but I said no. Why? Because I don’t want to. I could have said, “Oh I don’t have the time with coaching and music and all the other things I’m doing, I just can’t.” But that’s not true and I would essentially be blaming outside forces for my “inability” to participate with her. And I’d be lying through my teeth. The real reason I “can’t” is that I won’t. So I just say it.
Of course my bestie has tried–jokingly mostly–to try to change my mind, and I love her for it, but nope, I’ve decided. And I don’t have any excuses. She would call me on my excuses if I gave her any anyway, so there’s really no use even trying That’s why she’s my bestie!! And I’m so proud of her for taking this on! She’s gonna rock it!
But I won’t therefore I shan’t
The lesson here is to pay attention to when you tell yourself or other people that you can’t do something. Notice how it’s actually a won’t. Just start saying won’t and see what happens.
And another thing: you know why she’s been successful so far in her consistent training and will continue to be successful? Because she’s changed all her “shoulds” to “MUSTS.”
Think about it.
What are the things you tell yourself you “should” do during the day? Not drink as much coffee? Eat a salad instead of a cheeseburger? Go to the gym? Start writing that novel you’ve been dreaming about writing? Stop smoking? Sign up for that art class you’ve been dying to take?
Seriously. Are you should-ing all over yourself most of the time? It’s not bad. We all do it. But only when we turn those shoulds into musts will we actually accomplish what we secretly dream of accomplishing.
Shoulds and can’ts hang out together in excuse land. It’s not bad to hang out in excuse land–it’s just unproductive. You have two options.
Option 1: Let go of what you want and just say, I won’t. I won’t accomplish this because I won’t make time, be committed, do the work, etc. It’ll feel better, I promise… Unless you really want it. Then I suggest following option 2 below.
Option 2: Change all your shoulds to musts and do them. Say “I will,” and take action. Every time.
The only way your life changes permanently is when you raise your standards by changing all your shoulds to musts. So, think of this blog as a metaphorical napkin I’ve handed you to wipe all that should off yourself.
There ya go. Now, what must you do today? DO IT!