The Power Of "I Don't"

If you want to change a behavior, using the phrase “I don’t” is more than twice as effective as a simple “no.” As a matter of fact, it’s is up to eight times more effective than saying “I can’t.”

The Journal of Consumer Research conducted several research projects on this simple difference in terminology. One of the studies divided the participants into three groups.

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GROUP 1 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals or commitment, they should “just say no.”

GROUP 2 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals or commitments, they should implement the “can’t strategy.” For example, “I can’t miss my workout today.”

GROUP 3 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals or commitments, they should implement the “don’t strategy.” For example, “I don’t miss workouts.”

So what were the results?

GROUP 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members stick with their goals or commitments for the entire 10 days.

GROUP 2 (the “can’t” group) had a dismal 1 out of 10 members stick with their goal or commitment for the entire 10 days.

GROUP 3 (the “don’t” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members stick with their goals or commitments for the entire 10 days.

So next time your tempted to miss a work out, say to yourself, “I don’t miss workouts.” When you’re asked to babysit a friend’s dog, say “I don’t babysit dogs.” When you’re running late on an assignment, say, “I don’t turn my work in late.”

“Don’t” is non-negotiable; “can’t” implies you have a choice – and making the right choices, time after time, is one of the keys to abundance in your company and significance in your life!


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