[90 Days of Vitality] Day 11: Change Your Words, Change Your Life

How do our words influence our behavior and our core beliefs? 

In today’s vitality tip, I share a hands-on practical tip to fueling transformation in your life – in whatever area (food, fitness, business, relationships, etc.) – change your words, change your life.

I LOVE how Stephen Covey explains this concept in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which you should read NOW if you haven’t yet!). He basically lays it out in a determinism vs. choice comparison.

If we are determinists, life happens to us and we don’t have any choice on the outcome. So if it’s rainy, we’re blue… if it’s sunshiny, we’re happy. Determinism also absolves us of any responsibility because ‘we couldn’t help it.’ A more complex example would be, in my personal story, that I blamed my abusers for several years for my riotous drinking, drug addiction, and almost failing out of college. After all, I acted the way I did because I had been abused… right? Unfortunately, this way of thinking and living will ultimately keep us stuck, push us down, hold us back, and prevent us from ever achieving anything worthwhile in life because it’s a victim mentality.

By the way, this is exactly why I loathe labels, like ‘Hi, my name is Gerilyn and I’m a narcotics addict.‘ More on this momentarily…

The alternative is that we have a choice in life. Life can throw us curveballs, but we can choose how we will respond. So if the skies are gray, we can choose to be happy. If we’re being harassed unjustly, we can choose to love. This power of choice is what makes us different from animals (stimulus/response).

A couple of days ago, I shared a simple way to re-frame our productivity in choices & consequences. Today’s vitality tip is a very practical way to begin actively thinking in terms of choices & consequences quickly.

Language like, “I must,” “I have to,” and “I can’t” is reactive language (i.e., deterministic). Using language like this on a regular basis (which we all do… just how frequently?) reinforces a determinist mentality, that we aren’t responsible for our schedules, the way we spend our time, our jobs, our relationships, or our positions in life. So the words reinforce the belief that is acted out and further reinforced by the words… you see where I’m going with this?

Proactive language, however, is centered around choices & consequences. Because I have a choice of how I control myself throughout my day, “I choose to work  long hours,” “I choose to sit on the couch instead of exercise,” and “I will be healthy today.” 

Increasing awareness of the language we use and consciously re-framing it to include more proactive language is probably the simplest, most effective means of causing BIG transformation in our lives! Like the cycle of reactive language, the cycle of proactive language is similar… I choose, I can, I will feeds our behaviors and beliefs, which further feed our language. As we talk to ourselves and others, we begin reinforcing more positive and desirable behaviors, thus treating the root cause (instead of throwing tools at symptoms) of our behaviors.

So this is why I left A.A. and rehab after one week (though I didn’t know it exactly then). I couldn’t stand the idea of living in a victim mentality. Introducing myself as an ‘addict’ every single day not only reminded me of my issue, but reinforced the idea that I was helpless and powerless, and couldn’t ever fully overcome my struggle. I don’t know about you, but I believe in and serve this really BIG God who is willing and able to help me rise up, heal, and overcome any struggles and addictions I may have! And changing the way I talk is but one way God works in my life in BIG ways! 🙂

If you find it difficult to change things in your life, then try working on your language first, and watching what happens. I mean, it’s simple, right? What’s it hurt to try?

Your Assignment

  1. Notice the language you use day-to-day. Is it proactive or reactive?
  2. When you notice yourself using reactive language, pause. And consciously flip it to a proactive statement.
  3. Comment on what you notice (and the realities about your life you’ll have to face) when you begin using words like, “I choose” instead of “I have to”. What does that imply about your current quality of life?
  4. Now what will it take to act differently?

Know someone this could help? (It could save a life!) Please share this with them and spread the message of vitality!

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Gerilyn is a mentor to women getting healthy to transform the world! Her experience in nutrition, strength & conditioning, personal growth, love of cooking, and passion for transformation make her uniquely suited for this mission. She has a knack for creating contagious healthy experiences and providing the needed support and accountability that turn diets into lifestyles and dreams into realities.

Learn Gerilyn’s Signature Jump-Start Formula – free. It’s a simple nutrition formula to infuse you with more energy, more freedom, and more vitality! Click here to access it now! 

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