On the face of it you may think there’s very little difference, but as a study by Boston College and the University of Houston, first released several years ago, shows that researchers found that volunteers who said “I don’t skip exercise” instead of “I can’t skip exercise” worked out more often. Now this was 1 of many tests carried out proving the power of ‘I don’t’ over ‘I can’t’
Think about it in everyday life, which do you think will be most successful or powerful set of words and mindset in the following situation –
You are out for lunch with friends, you’ve eaten your main meal and your friends are talking about dessert. You are currently on a health kick or maybe even currently trying to lose a little excess flab. When offered the desert menu you can either adopt a stance of ‘I don t eat desert” or ‘I cant eat desert’
Which do you think will give you the most power of the situation?
Regardless of whether you’re talking to yourself or another person, “can’t” suggests that you might want to do something, but aren’t able to, “I can’t eat cake for lunch.” the implication is that in another set of circumstances, you could. But when you say “I don’t” (“I don’t eat cake for lunch”), there’s no room for debate. It’s a hard-and-fast rule that you set for yourself.
You see, it lies in the fact that ‘i don’t’ serves as a choice and self-affirmation of one’s personal willpower and control leading to you feeling good about yourself.
‘I cant’ implies that you have no choice and its a restriction, or something that’s being imposed on you!
The best thing about this strategy is that its super easy to incorporate in everyday life, every time you catch yourself thinking ‘i cant’ just switch up your thought pattern to ‘I don’t’
This then gives you the power to decide what you do and don’t do! If you’re always thinking ‘I cant’ its easy to lose sight of this fact.
So now you know how to take back the power over your situation, it’s really that easy, try it!