Choose your words wisely

Every day, I am setting goals as well as personal mantras to live by. I’ve come to the realization that the way I word my goals affects my ability to complete them. I have found that I am much more successful when I write my goals and values as verbs instead of nouns. For example, I can tell myself to have integrity when dealing with clients but it is hard to follow because it is not something that is tangible. Instead, a better value proposition might be to put “Do the right thing.” This is much easier to follow. Instead of be productive, put read 100 pages or answer 50 math questions, etc. Verbs are more effective because they are action plans and provide something that is clear to follow.

Language may have an impact on our own lives, but it has an even greater affect on others. Here are some subjective words I’ve found useful to avoid in conversation.

  • Obviously and clearly.
    • Many things in this world are not obvious and even fewer things are clear. Instead of saying “clearly it’s x” or “obviously it’s y” it may be better to use “it appears that x is based on y and z.”
  • Never and always.
    • Never and always are not precise and statistically improbable. Usually used as an exaggeration. Instead of “never” or “always,” give a definitive number or use “seldom” and “frequently.”
  • Actually.
    • In cases of Correction, actually signifies that the speaker is very certain the other person is wrong before an explanation is even offered. Meeting with a possible and so is not a good way to get results. Instead of saying “actually,” a better start could be, “I don’t believe…”
  • It goes without saying…
    • If something is important, then it definitely goes WITH saying. This is probably something to avoid using altogether.




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