First things first. I know what you are thinking…that I don’t know how to spell. The ‘but’ I’m referring to in this post is not the butt that you sit on though; rather the small word ‘but’ that we often find in the middle of sentences to indicate opposing thoughts (e.g., I want to fly to the moon, but I don’t have a spaceship). This seemingly insignificant word is anything but (pun intended)! ‘BUT’ is a goal-crushing, hope-squelching, confidence-zapping word that stops you in your tracks and inhibits further action. When it comes to health goals specifically, this is what it might sound like:
I want to exercise more often, but I don’t have time.
I planned on walking this morning, but it’s raining.
I want to eat healthier, but I love sweet treats.
I’d like to cook for my family, but I’m tired after work.
I need to get more sleep, but my kids keep me up late.
Read those sentences again. Out loud. Go ahead…I’ll wait. Did you notice your inflection at the end of each sentence? I’ll bet your voice went down and implied that there was nothing left to talk about. End of discussion. Hopeless. Maybe both of the statements in each sentence are true (you really want to eat healthier AND you love sweets), however the ‘but’ gives all the strength to the last statement and weakens the first. Just the opposite of what we want!
So…in order to give the power back to our original goal, we need to KICK our ‘BUT’ out of that sentence and replace it with a simple little ‘and’. Read this sentence out loud:
I’d like to cook for my family, and I’m tired after work
Hear the difference? First, the word ‘and’ doesn’t give either statement more strength than the other; you are just listing a few facts. Second, replacing ‘but’ with ‘and’ makes the sentence seem like an incomplete thought. You should have had an urge to finish the sentence by adding the tiny word ‘SO’ followed up with a SOLUTION, like this:
I’d like to cook for my family, and I’m tired after work, SO I will prep some meals on the weekend that will be ready to go during the week.
Kicking the ‘but’ and replacing with ‘and’ leads to ‘so’. Most importantly, ‘SO’ leads to problem solving; a solution; specific action. These easy edits give power back to your goal, and to YOU, which renews your hope, and strengthens your confidence!
As you may know, I end all blog posts with “Now What” action-steps because reading my blog with no implementation serves neither of us. Here’s your simple 2-step action plan for this month:
- Keep your ears keenly sensitive to the word but in all conversations; and in your own head!
- Practice kicking your own but, your spouse’s but, your constantly negative co-worker's but! Replace with ‘and’, then watch the ‘SO’-lutions appear.
Wishing you a “KICK-BUT” August!