Thoughts become things, plain and simple. The way you think and the way you speak determine how your world looks, how you feel on the inside and how others perceive you on the outside. If there is one thing many successful people all have in common is that they keep things moving forward; they think positively about the outcomes they desire to achieve and they convey this with their verbal and non-verbal body language. Many of us have what are called “limiting beliefs” which are in essence mental constraints we put on ourselves. A limiting belief can be about anything, something as simple as saying “I can’t do 10 pushups” to something as deep as thinking “I always date the wrong person.” Both are self-made fallacies, they are only true if you believe them to be. So what does all of this have to do with 10 words to remove from your vocabulary? Well, if you’ve noticed- I’ve already used four of them.

1) Have to, Need to, Must:

These three dream killers and stress-makers are responsible for more unhappiness and pressure than most. They all imply that you have no choice, no option, that you are a victim of the situation and that you have no control over how you feel and what you want to accomplish. We all use them, it happens. Your friend calls you to hang out and you reply “I can’t tonight, I have to work.” Bullshit. You don’t have to do “anything.” You chose to work, if you hate your job, well then you’re choosing to be unhappy too. This may sound harsh, that is not my intent, my intent is to show the power of our words. Now, if you don’t work and you go out with your friend you may not finish and you might get fired- again that is a choice, you don’t have to work- you don’t have to do anything. The same goes for things you “must do” or “need to” do. They all imply no choice, no freedom. Next time your friend asks you to go out and you “have to work,” tell them them truth and let them know you are “choosing to work.” Watch the pressure this change in your mindset releases and watch as it lowers your stress levels to the things you are resisting.

2) Should, Would, Could:

I should be better… I would follow my passions if… I could to it, but…. Wrong. If you should be doing it, then you would be doing it. Using words like should implies that what you are doing right now is wrong and not in-line with what’s right for you. Even something as simple as saying to yourself: “I shouldn’t be relaxing right now, I “should be working” implies error, and then you’re right because at that point you’re not even relaxing! You’ve got noise going on behind the scenes telling you your choices aren’t correct, tell those noises to quite down. I just took a three hour nap at 11a.m. before writing this. The second I say: “I shouldn’t have done that” is the second I discredit my choices and tell my system that I didn’t need rest. Well, would I have taken a three hour nap if I didn’t need rest? Don’t would, should or could yourself to death- we live in a world which is constantly telling us how we should look, feel and be- the last thing we all need is to compound this stress by doing the same to ourselves and others for that matter. Whenever I work with clients on stress management, most of them have a similar thread of using these words constantly. It’s not until I gently point them out that they begin to see their self limiting patterns and learn to quickly remove should, would and could from their lives. The results and impact are nothing short of amazing.

3) Always and Never:

Listen to someone who “knows it all.” You will constantly here them saying “well, I would never do that” or “I always do this.” Yeah right. When we use words like never and always we are projecting our current thoughts onto a future situation, one we do not truly know how will unfold, how we will feel or how we will act. Unless you’re omnipotent you truly don’t know how things will be, the only thing you can do is be present in the moment and act in accordance to what feels right. Removing always and never from your vocabulary will take pressure off of the future and open you up to being more present in the moment– all keys to managing stress and finding more happiness and joy.

4) But:

This is a tricky one. For all of you writers out there you know that using the word “but” discredits the previous statement made. For example: “I want to reduce my stress by practicing yoga, but I don’t have the time.” Did you notice what happened there? The statement identified what needed to be done to make a change and the use of “but” completely killed it. “I want to be in love, but who will love me?” Drop the word “BUT” -try using “AND” instead and watch what happens: “I want to be in love and I will find someone who loves me.” You just changed one simple word and may have just changed your whole life.

5) Can’t:

My arch nemesis of words. If you’ve ever taken one of my yoga classes you know I hate this word and like to jokingly reply to the “can’t response” with “yet!” There are countless things you are all unable to do, yet. There is is nothing you can’t do- well unless you believe that to be true.

I never believed that former corporate sales manager and self proclaimed “bro” would become a yoga teacher and wellness coach because I thought I couldn’t do it. I thought it wasn’t what I should be doing, I thought I had to be rich to be successful instead. I used to say to myself that this can’t be my path and used to listen to people when they made fun of me for it, but then I removed 10 simple words from my vocabulary and realized I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing because I chose to. Are you willing to make the same choice too?