Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Why You Should Stop Saying “I Can’t Do That!”

Why You Should Stop Saying "I Can't Do That!"Have you ever watched a friend accomplish something amazing, and your immediate response was, “I can’t do that.” I have. This sneaky little thought pops into my head almost daily. I’m a writer — I work with other writers in all stages of their writing careers. I’m a simplicity consultant — I look at other people’s homes, their calendars, their routines, and habits. I’m a working mom with kids entering the preteen and teenage years — I see the triumphs of other families while thinking of our struggles.

From my work, I know I’m not the only one with that thought sneaky thought. I can’t do that. Writers tell me all the time that they just can’t do what “he” or “she” does. Every day I hear “I can’t write like that. I’ll never be able to write a book. I’ll never be a ‘real’ writer.”

Friends and clients tell me they want a simpler lifestyle, a cleaner home, or a less chaotic schedule. One breath later, they also tell me, “but I can’t do it. My house will never look like that. I’ll always have way too much stuff. My calendar and to-do list will never have breathing space. I’ll never be able to break that bad habit.”

The variations of “I can’t” is astounding.

And my response is this: Why not?

Seriously, why can’t you do {insert your desire here}? What exactly is holding you back from pursuing the job you’ve always wanted, from creating a home you feel relaxed and secure in, from removing some of the fluff from your schedule? Why can’t you change your habits to pursue a healthier lifestyle, to pay off your debt, to free up your obligations so you can travel more?

It’s not that you really can’t do something. It’s that you’re currently not doing it. Click To Tweet

Most of the time, it’s not that you really can’t do something. It’s that you’re currently not doing it. There’s a difference there, and it’s usually because of the negative mental chatter going on inside our heads. It’s just so easy to tell ourselves that we can’t do something than to put forth the effort it’s going to take to do it. Maybe we feel like it’s not worth the effort, that we’re not good enough, or that we don’t have what it takes to succeed. Why bother if we know we might fail?

To be or not to be…

Every success starts with a decision to just get started. The will to try anyway. The intention to succeed. The simple choice to say “I can.”

Constantly telling yourself that you can’t do something means you won’t. You’re deciding to fail without even trying. Changing the language inside your head to a more positive dialogue instantly boosts your chances of success. Start thinking in terms of what can work, the best that could happen, the talents you have, the gifts you were given.

Stop the comparison game.

Social media hits us hardest when we covet what other people have, what they can do. As the saying goes, we compare our shortcomings to other people’s highlight reels. It’s fantastic if you can find inspiration in other’s success, but it’s the ultimate dream killer if all you can see is what you couldn’t, or didn’t, do. You need to think about what you’re capable of and what resources you have at your disposal — not what others have or can do. They’re just showing you the good stuff, not the stuff that keeps them up at night, wondering the same things you wonder: Am I good enough? Am I doing enough?

Yes, yes you are.

Reverse the mindset that you don’t have what it takes, and instead embrace the possibility that you already have everything you need. Sometimes getting from point A to point B isn’t a straight line — you may need to get creative about how to get there. But you can get there, as long as you keep telling yourself you can.

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One Reply

  1. Sandy,
    A good place to start: “changing the language in our head” (of “I can’t do that.”)
    Let’s go for: How do I learn to do that?
    Let me try!

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