Words

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
    with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:20-21)

Even though much of my life has revolved around writing, both for my career and for my own personal pleasure, I sometimes fail to grasp just how powerful words can be. Words have the power to heal or to kill, to uplift and encourage or to tear down and destroy. With that in mind, I am trying to be much more conscientious with my words, not only in what I say to others but also in how I speak to myself.

Just a few days ago I sensed God leading me to change my mindset about the year ahead by making a simple yet powerful change to the words I use, specifically when it comes to talking about taking action. Here’s the change: I’m swapping “need to” for “going to”.

It’s amazing how such a small change can make such a big difference. Take a look at these examples:

I need to lose weight vs I’m going to lose weight.

I need to get on a budget vs I’m going to get on a budget.

I need to get off my lazy bum and fold my laundry vs I’m going to get off my lazy bum and fold my laundry. 

“Need to” comes with a side order of self-induced guilt. “Going to” comes with an air of purpose. “Need to” (and its first cousin, “really should”) implies more of a complaint, while “going to” implies intention and action. “Need to” sounds like I don’t have a choice in the matter, while “going to” signals that I am in control of my actions.

I can talk all day long about things that I need to do, but when I tell someone what I’m going to do, it’s harder to blow off that responsibility. Even if I never get asked about it again, if I think that someone’s going to follow-up with me to see if I did what I said I’d do, then I am far more likely to let my actions follow my words.

And so in 2016, I’m going to be more intentional with my words and not take them lightly. What’s one change that you’re making for the new year?

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