How One Simple Habit Can Change Your Life

3 minutes Written by Edith C. Caballero

“I’m in a hurry to get things done. Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I really gotta do is live and die. But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” ~Alabama, I’m in a Hurry

This piece of the song lyric from Alabama pretty much sums up this post – “all we gotta do is live and die”. The problem lies when we see our existence as a means to an end and everything we do has a purpose and a “need” or “should”.

Louise Hay, a well-known author of self-help books and motivational speaker, wrote about this notion. The language we use with ourselves and others is like a living mind garden. When we use pressure, force, bitterness, guilt, shame, etc to talk about ourselves or others, we grow mind weeds that cloud us and don’t allow us to see otherwise. 

I remember a time when I used to state “I should, I need to, I have to” a lot and this drove me to burn out and to feel my life wasn’t my doing. This language contributed to a mental health diagnosis, physical symptoms, to getting on medication, and ultimately, contributed to the dissatisfaction with the life I had despite having all the accolades, support, and blessings I had. Understanding the difference between force and desire was a big game-changer for me. I used to create so much internal pressure for myself that it took away the satisfaction I had in doing such things.

So what now? I recommend thinking about this and noticing whether you use shoulds, needs, have to, or any language that resonates with control, force, and/or guilt that prompts you to take action. Take a moment to write down what you notice or just begin to catch yourself. This process will be slow, very slow. Changing our internal dialogue is a life’s journey. When beginning the journey of changing our language, it’s important to notice when you are judging yourself for “not doing this right”. Again, this is a slow process. It is not meant to add another “to-do” to your list. It’s meant to create awareness.

Now, you may notice some things that you feel you “need” to do in your life like raising a child, going to work, paying bills, etc. You may wonder how changing your language can help when these roles are an “obligation”. When we change our language, we acknowledge our roles, we slowly begin to accept them more fully, and we create a mindful space for them rather than experiencing a mental war whenever we “need” to do something. When you replace “need” with “I want, I desire, I intend, I would love to, I will give it my best”, this language helps you feel empowered versus disempowered. It allows you to see that you are taking steps because they are your doing, your choice, Your Life. You recognize that the more you practice this change in language, the more you will see what you truly want and don’t want. This war with needs will become clearer and you will begin to accept what brings joy and what doesn’t. It will resonate as truth for you and how you Feel will confirm that.

Quick Tip: I know a lot of use lists to keep us organized, when you write your “to-do” lists, write “to work on”, “to try”, “to hold focus”, you can totally get creative with this and have fun with it!

Avatar Edith C. Caballero

Written by Edith C. Caballero

Edith C. Caballero is a therapist in Florida who specializes in individual therapy. Edith C. provides therapy in English and Spanish.