Change Your Mantra

Recently, I've been on the road a lot: tradeshows, conferences, training, and consulting. Seems like I just get home and I have to pack for the next trip. I was starting to get cranky about it when I decided to listen to my inner dialogue, my mantra.

A mantra is anything you say to yourself repeatedly. It could even be just a word or a phrase. Say anything enough and you start to believe it.

As I listened to my mantra, I heard "I have to... I've got to... I should... I need to". In the world of linguistics, these words imply necessity not options. They are about survival and survival creates stress.

The flip side of necessity is possibility. The key word that implies possibility and choice is "want to". So I decided to change my mantra. Every time I caught myself saying "I have to..." I changed it to "I want to." I have to complete this project became I want to complete this project.

Every time I changed "have to" to "want to" I could feel my body relax.

Because I'd been in airplanes and hotel beds so often, I also caught myself saying "I'm tired." So I changed it to "I'm relaxing" or "I'm resting." Again, this changed how I felt.

What's Your Mantra?
What are you telling yourself that could be rephrased?

"I don't have enough money" becomes "I'm earning more money."

"I'm sick" becomes "I'm getting well" or "I'm healing."

Are you using necessity language (should, have to, must, need to)?
What happens when you change it to possibility language (want to)?

It's your mantra. Why not change it and see how it makes you feel?

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