Just Say “I Don’t”

Mind over matter.


“It’s all in how you look at it.”

The overwhelming majority of how we live is due to mindset. The hardest part about exercising is starting. Getting out the door. Getting out of bed. Turning on the video. Lacing up the shoes. For most people, whatever your means of exercise is, getting started is the hardest part. That’s not a physical hurdle — that’s a mental one.

Deciding to eat — or not to eat — a plate full of cookies is a decision. Mental. (Nothing tastes as good after the first bite or two anyway, so you can’t blame your taste buds. Most of the crap we eat doesn’t even taste that good anyway.)

Last week, I saw this article that talks about a simple way to reframe cravings (or anything along those lines, really) to make it more likely to stay on the path towards your goals.

When presented with something that is no longer part of what you’d like to be consuming, instead of saying, “I can’t have that,” say “I don’t eat that.”

“I don’t” is language of empowerment; “I can’t” is language of deprivation.

Going to try it? Report back and let me know what you find. 

(photo from http://www.freedgitalphotos.net)


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Amy on 30 July 2012 at 22:01

    I’ve heard a couple of (healthy weighted) people answer that exact way in the past week and took notice. They seemed incredibly in charge of what they put in to their bodies and didn’t apologize for it as so many people do when they turn down unhealthy food.

  2. I actually have had this situation come up a lot in the past few days. Someone asked me at dinner if I “could eat that”, my response was “I can eat whatever I want- I don’t eat that though”. Again at lunch when I brought out my own pre-packed salad. “Don’t you want pasta?” “I don’t eat white pasta.” I really feel that i have complete ownership over the choices of what I put into my body (including that small brownie I ate a little while ago- man was that tasty…) and have never felt like I was “on a diet”. That is hard for some people to understand.

    • Seems to be something that people need to embrace before they really understand it. Not sure how to help people make that leap, but it sure is liberating on the other side, isn’t it?

  3. Posted by Dan Hankins on 1 August 2012 at 08:30

    What about “I will not” or “I choose not to”? Seems to me “I don’t” is descriptive and continues to avoid taking responsibility. “I will not” refers directly to my decision to avoid the food.

    • Interesting. How does “I don’t” avoid responsibility? It is descriptive of a piece of your health plan, but it’s a self-scripted plan. The bigger piece was that “I can’t” is language of deprivation, which is not an issue with “I don’t” or “I will not.”

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