Goals: Use Positive Language

“You’ve told me what you don’t want. What do you want?”


I know I do and I suspect many coaches say the above often.

Depending on our quality of thinking, which can vary, we will be on a continuum of being either directed towards or away from something.  Directed towards something the motivation is reward and achievement.  Directed away from something the motivation is fear.  Fear can be an effective motivator but is it sustainable?  I believe greater quality of life is available when we direct ourselves towards something rather than away from something.

An exercise I get clients to do is note how often they use the words: don’t, won’t, can’t and the context. When they notice it how can they rephrase what they are saying so they use do, will and can instead. For example:


“I don’t want to be fat”


“I want to be healthy according to these metrics”


Have you also noticed that whenever you hear or tell yourself to “don’t think of” you think about exactly what you told yourself not to think about?  This is because our brain makes an internal representation of the object/outcome regardless so don’t think about a purple elephant.

What are you thinking about?  If you revisit the example and read it again it becomes “I’m fat” and I am sure you will agree that this is demotivating.

Look at your goals and look at the language.  Is there any way you can use more positive language and direct your goal towards rather than away from something?