Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

A big shift

As the year is starting to wind down and we’re seeing the best of lists and all that stuff, I know that lots of us are taking time for reflection. How we did on our goals, our successes and failures, our relationships, and what we want to see for the new year. How we can improve, trips we want to take, items on our bucket lists to check off. You know. The usual. 

For me, though, the reflection has been a bit different than in years past. Yes, I’m doing everything that I listed above but there’s something else I’m doing. This year, I’m looking at how the words I use have made the biggest impact on me and my goals and how I can use that for next year as well. words

If you know me, you know the way I speak to myself isn’t exactly what you’d call nice. I’d never speak to another person the way I talk to myself and it’s something I’m actively working on. Lest you think I’m perfect or have mastered this particular skill, let me assure you, I am not. In fact, just last night, I referred to myself as fatass. But the number of times I do that has substantially decreased since I decided to actively work on this. And that’s what it is. It’s a product of work and effort. 

The other way I’m using language to “fix” myself is to no longer say things like “I want to be someone who writes a book” or “I want to be someone who’s healthy”. Now I say “I AM someone who’s writing a book” (quick update on that: about 10000 words to go before the rough draft is done and the first pass of editing can start. Plus I have an idea that will significantly improve the quality of the story) and “I AM someone who’s healthy” and “I AM someone who can achieve the goals she sets for herself”. 

Changing the words from ones of aspirations and wishful thinking to ones of affirmation and declaration has been a powerful change for me, as well as a huge shift in my self-confidence. Again, I have a long way to go but it’s exponentially better than it was. In fact, it was the reason I was able to make it through the Whole30. During Thanksgiving. 

If you’re struggling with achieving your goals, any goals, or have problems with self-esteem and self-confidence, I definitely suggest changing your word choices. It’ll feel weird and awkward at first, and you’ll find yourself asking if you really are the kind of person you’re declaring you are, but I’ll tell you that yes. Yes, you are. You truly are anything you think you are. unicorn2

For someone who loves books and believes in the power of song lyrics, it’s amazing that it’s taken me so long to come to the conclusion that a simple change in my choice of words makes a substantial impact.

How about you guys? What are your tricks for staying focused or empowering yourself to achieve your goals?

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15 Comments

  1. Linda sheridan

    This is awesome and perfect. Words and thoughts rule your life and it’s the way to happiness to cultivate good stuff. Nice stuff. Kind stuff. To yourself and others. I have always been nice to myself with the exception of weight and my hair !! I correct myself as soon as I say anything negative. It has changed my life because I am so grateful for things I took for granted before. Goddess speed. This is a great post. Love. Steph’s. Momma. And I know my punctuation, etc. is incorrect. Lol

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  2. Nadine

    We are always our own worst critic and I constantly remind myself that no one else is going to like/love me if I don’t like/love myself. I try to be kind to myself but I am not always following through. When I start to get real hard on myself I try to do things to fix that. Like if I am upset with the mirror, I stop getting on the scale for a few weeks. I don’t need that bitch making me feel worse. Instead I take steps to do something about it. I have started standing up for myself more and more and not let people walk on me. My self worth starts with me!
    Nadine recently posted…Christmas Wish ListMy Profile

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  3. Revanche

    Yes! I am so happy that you’re doing this. I think about 3 years ago, chatting with a relatively accomplished (relatively because I only had some information on her) professional woman, she made some comment about doing something she had to do, and then following up with “I’m such a bad mother.”

    I know that’s become part of the expected narrative, and I hated it. I could barely stop myself from berating her for saying that when doing A (where A is not child abuse or even bad for the child at all) is not B (where B is child abuse or bad for the child) just because A didn’t have anything to do with the child.

    Ever since then, I realized that how we use our words, for or against ourselves, internally or aloud, will quite literally shape how we are seen, judged, or known. And why would we want to be known as the terrible things we have been accustomed to saying about ourselves? Why would we want to become that? We shape our narrative for better or worse. Let’s make it better!

    As for tricks for staying focused? Mostly kicking my own ass in gear when I’m slacking because sometimes I do. Or figure out how to make the time for all the things I need AND want. This latter one is still a work in progress.
    Revanche recently posted…Just a little (link) love: Bears will be bears editionMy Profile

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  4. alyssa

    Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been a writer either by trade, major, or passion, but it’s always baffled me when people justified hate speech or even less threatening put-downs by saying “it’s just words.” How can that be? Words are everything. They’re how we describe and understand and communicate about the world we live in, the world we create. Words are everything. And as such, the right ones, the kind ones, the compassionate ones are so, so important. So happy you’ve had this shift and are making a focused effort on speaking kindly and encouragingly to and about yourself.
    alyssa recently posted…What I Was Doing When I Wasn’t HereMy Profile

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  5. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    I love it! Words are so important and impactful and changing them seems like duh, so simple, but it takes us so long to realize we need to.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Thursday ThoughtsMy Profile

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  6. Brittany Pines

    Love this. I’m a psychology major and constantly thinking/talking about the importance of intentional thinking and “training” myself into a healthy mental state. It makes a HUGE difference when you commit to it- and yes, it doesn’t mean it’s an overnight change or that you won’t slip up. But the fact that you are doing it it all is a GREAT thing.
    Brittany Pines recently posted…2015 Christmas WishlistMy Profile

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  7. Amanda

    Words can hurt, heal… even the ones we say to ourselves!
    Amanda recently posted…The one with two wedding dresses…My Profile

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  8. Emma @EverEmma

    I think I just had an a-ha! moment while reading this! Yes, words are so powerful and being mindful of the words you use especially in terms of yourself can change everything. I really need to work on my self-talk. I’m not especially mean to myself, but I come up with so many stupid excuses for why I’m not achieving in certain areas like health. Definitely keeping this in mind as I move forward.
    Emma @EverEmma recently posted…Golden Vlog | December 2015My Profile

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  9. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    That’s great Jana! I totally agree with you btw…doing that sort of thing made a big difference to me about a year ago. But I know..not always easy.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Simple & Cheap Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday SeasonMy Profile

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  10. Jaina

    That phrase, “we’re our own worst critics” comes to mind. Reading these words, I’m finding that I have this very same thing in common with you, Jana. Like you, I’ve been trying to change my ways. But I think you’ve been having more success at it than me! That won’t deter me from trying. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t quite get it, that you have that voice inside your head that is you, but saying the worst things you could say about yourself. And you believe it. Because it’s you saying it.

    Trying to stop that myself by congratulating myself on my small wins. Whether it’s baking the perfect batch of brownies or winning a few games of squash against my OH!
    Jaina recently posted…Project 365: November 2015 RecapMy Profile

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  11. Lindsay

    I swear you and I are one and the same. I talk and think so negatively and poorly about myself it’s disgusting. And then I’m asked how can you love if you don’t love yourself? Good question. I’m trying to be more mindful of my words, my actions, my body language and trying to be more mins to myself. It’s a hard, deep hole were in but baby steps is better than none at all. I totally, totally get it. *hugs*
    Try and have a good weekend Hun xox
    Lindsay recently posted…10 Things That Made Me Happy This WeekMy Profile

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  12. Karen

    It’s really great that you are changing the way you think about yourself. I think we can be our own worst enemies. I can fall into a slump of negativity, even my husband can’t stand it. A couple of months ago I made a collage of inspirational quotes that I actually printed out and carry with me. It’s just stuff that I found on Pinterest but sometimes I need them as a reminder. It helps. Plus, I have to remind myself to be better and not be so negative about myself (or other things) around my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up doing that or think it’s normal that I do it! Life isn’t perfect but I want her to be confident and have a better I attitude than I do.
    Karen recently posted…Life Lately // Holiday Prep And BooksMy Profile

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  13. Kerry

    I am so happy that you learned to talk better to yourself. We can totally lift ourselves up or down with out words. Sometimes people don’t learn that in a lifetime.
    Kerry recently posted…Friday Favorites | Holiday FeverMy Profile

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  14. Michelle

    You have to be so loving with yourself. The world can be a hard place and if the first words you hear every morning are in your head bringing yourself down it just makes life even harder to deal with. I actually had the same problem and have incorporated daily mantras that I say to myself so that my self-talk is always positive. Keep up the good work!
    Michelle recently posted…Using Cash To Pay Off Our Mortgage-Guest PostMy Profile

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  15. kristen

    i think this is one of the biggest things that helped me.. it might have been smaller things, like going to the gym (i am going, i do go to the gym etc etc) or whatever, but changing the way i thought or said things really, really helped. it definitely does feel weird and awkward at first, but if it works, who cares, right? why shouldn’t we be nice to ourselves!
    kristen recently posted…Bah Humbug ConfessionsMy Profile

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