Here’s What Happened When I Changed my ‘BUT’ to an ‘AND’

Category: Training Tips

I tend to be an extremely positive person. So much so that I have been called Positive Polly more than once!

But like everyone, I have my moments where negativity creeps in and pounces on me like a stalking cat. Oddly enough this negativity seems to only come around when I am faced with my own personal situations.

Here’s the thing; I am a great coach to others, especially to my clients and to the people in my life that I deeply care about. I am able to swing into problem-solving-mode to help that individual when needed.

This is my way of showing support and love, but why can’t I think this way by default when it comes to my own adversaries?

This is how I felt for a long time. Until I decided to take a dose of my own medicine.

A method that I use from my nutritional coaching course (John Berardi, creator of Precision Nutrition), shows us that if we exchange the word ‘but’ into an ‘and’ in a sentence, it can completely transform our mindset.

Here is an example from a client of mine, whom we shall call Amanda.

Amanda said to me “I have to get my workout in, but I only have 30 minutes”.

After listening to her, I came back with a suggestion: “When you say that, it sounds like it’s a negative thing, you are limited by only having 30 minutes for a workout. Almost like it’s nonnegotiable and impossible to achieve. What if all was possible? Can you rephrase that sentence to sound as though it is? Try again”.

Amanda thought for a second, and then said to me “I have to get my workout in, and I only have 30 minutes at the gym”.

Now I will say off the bat that I totally geeked out on hearing Amanda rephrase this statement. The opportunity to create a workout in 30 minutes! I was almost jealous that she had such an opportunity to be creative and use her skillset! (I know, I’m a nerd).

But the reality is, I know that I am not the norm and not everyone will get this excited to hear that…

The point is that rephrasing this statement creates room for opportunity and possibility.

This is a great way to:

  • find a solution to getting things accomplished
  • make tasks sound less compromised.

It actually sets the brain up for problem solving thinking track which in turn will help you get to a result.

Good news!

This trick can be applied to any aspect of life!

That is exactly what I did: I started implementing just that into my daily life (even non fitness related stuff).

From time commitments, to doing my taxes, to my relationships, and even to pulling myself out of an emotionally tough day because yup, I get those too.

 Immediately I began to feel more empowered, confident and successful.

Now, I wanted to share with you some of the common scenarios that I hear day to day from clients. I’ve also paired them with the rephrase version as well as some possible solutions:

1. “I want to eat breakfast, BUT I hardly have any time in the morning”

Instead, try saying

“I want to eat breakfast AND I hardly have any time in the morning”

Problem solve – Possibly there is a simple recipe for overnight oats to prepare the night before, so it is ready for the morning? Or maybe you can hard boil some eggs ahead of time and take them to work?

2. “I want to work out BUT I am too tired”

Instead, try saying

“I want to work out AND I am too tired”

Problem solve – possibly a restorative yoga day or stretching would benefit you most that day? Or maybe a home workout, so you don’t have to leave the house?

3. “I want to commit to exercise BUT I can’t motivate myself to get to a gym”

Instead, try saying

“I want to commit to exercise AND I can’t motivate myself to get to a gym”

Problem solve – Maybe committing to a group class is better, or a personal trainer to help keep you accountable? Possibly meeting up with a workout buddy for a wheel outside? Or looking into workout programs you can do at home.

As an experiment over this next week, I highly encourage you to try and take notice when you use the word ‘but’ in your thought process. Notice how often it happens, and without judgement:

Be kind to yourself.

You will be amazed to see how your life changes with such a small shift in vocabulary.  

Your coach,

Megan Williamson

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