Can't vs. Don't

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I'm doing this online course about Social Psychology (still obsessed with those free online courses! nerd!) and I read about an interesting study the other day.  Its basically saying that when you are trying to change your habits - using the words "I can't" versus "I don't" can make all the difference. So, say you are trying to exercise consistently but you are slacking one night...you are more likely to fail if you say to yourself, "I can't miss a workout tonight" instead of "I don't miss work outs".  Or "I can't eat this sugar!" versus "I don't eat sugar".  They ran studies on several groups of women and the groups who told themselves that they 'don't' do something always had much higher percentages of participants who met their goals.
What do you think? I think we are very used to ignoring 'can't' messages to ourselves...but its a little more ballsy to defy the 'don't' messages. I've been trying this with running and it has definitely worked! What would you try it on?

18 comments:

Elle Sees said...

i just read an article on this somewhere--and it's so true!! great way to change thinking.

Matthew Pike said...

Interesting study, I've not looked at it that way before. I'll try this later when I'm at the gym, lifting those massive weights!

Jane said...

so so true. i took a course in how to run campaigns and so many people were like "we can't do that" - and the trainers kept challenging us by saying.. really.. you can't? and in the end, everything that was proposed could be done if we tried hard to find a way. and the thought process was we don't want so and so to happen so we must do this campaign. it was pretty neat!

sorelle in style said...

Ooh very interesting! Sounds much better than adopting a defeatist attitude :)

♡jilly
sorelle in style

Claudz said...

I have never thought about this. I love it. I am so applying it in my life right now. Makes so much sense!

Kristen said...

I think this actually makes a lot of sense. I gave up soda for new years 2012. It is one of the few things I have stuck to, and since then, I have always said, I DONT drink soda.

christina said...

good stuff! my sister always says "I can afford that but i choose to spend my money elsewhere"...instead of saying " I can't afford that."

nancy @ adore to adorn said...

I've never thought about this before but I can totally understand why it would make a difference. I really want to try this out on myself since I've been feeling like I've been in such a negative state but it's all about mind set!!

xo,
nancy

Krystal said...

my "i don't miss runs" attitude made me run tonight at 9:45...so much better for it!

Amanda said...

I don't clean my house. It really works!! ;) ok, seriously, though, for a long while we have said we don't eat McDonald's or other fast food and we have not had it in like 4 years (but In N Out is an exception).

Diana Trotter said...

That's really interesting. I think when we say "I can't" we are putting ourselves down like, "I can't eat this doughnut." Well you can eat it, but you're trying to force yourself not to and you're feeling bad that you want it. But if we say, "I don't eat doughnuts", it just sounds like a more positive way of training our brain.

Well, now you got me thinking!! :)

LyddieGal said...

Hummm. I will definitely think about this the next time I want to say "I can't"!

Crystle said...

I will definitely be trying this out.

Tracey said...

Oh that's really interesting ... now I kind of want to analyse how my own language influences my behaviour.
:)

ivette said...

interesting.. there's something similar we try during yoga classes.. I'm an instructor.. and I was taught to never use negative phrases during a class.. for example, instead of saying "don't stop breathing"..say "keep breathing"... or "don't over arch the spine".. say "take care of your spine, listen to your body and go as far as it allows you too.." stuff like that, because when ever you throw a "don't" or "can't" into the scene, you create negativity, the mind just prepares for negative stuff... maybe even one day, stop using the can'ts and don'ts and instead of saying to ourselves .I don't miss workouts.. let's say "I regularly work out"... does that make sense? haha anyway.. cool post!

rooth said...

That's a really good way to think about it. I had posted on something similar recently and Erin suggested that you say "I don't have enough time to" instead of "I can't" and it helps you figure out how you prioritize things

Wendy said...

Definitely running and finding the will power to eat clean. Thank you for posting this!

Ashley said...

Wow. I'm trying this. You better be right or I will make sure I "don't" visit any blogs with village in the header.

hehehe.

 

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