The bit I’m talking about here is this word ‘try’.
Think about it. Your friend who is usually late says ‘I’ll try and be on time.’ You know they’ll probably be late. You agree to try to walk 10,000 steps a day. You’re probably going to fall short. You try to finish work on time and inevitably you end up working late again.
When I’m working with clients and I hear them say they’re going to ‘try’ my heart sinks. Because I know the likelihood of them achieving the thing is immediately lowered because of how they are talking about it and therefore approaching it.
The language we use and what we tell ourselves is important.
The likelihood of them achieving the thing is lowered because of what happens when we say ‘try’. By saying you’re going to try you’re already sending your brain a signal that it’s OK not to achieve the thing. Your intention is to try – not to succeed.
Setting intention is important. There is a big difference between telling your brain you’re going to try and telling your brain you’re going to do it. Start with a positive intention. Tell yourself (and others – we’re more likely to succeed if we’re accountable to others) that you’re going to arrive on time, you’re going to walk 10,000 steps and that you’re going to leave work on time.
I don’t want to go all Yoda but he did have a point when he said ‘Do or do not, there is no try’.
When I challenge people on the use of ‘try’ one of the things that comes up is this notion of failure. That it’s OK to try and fail. I agree. It is. However you’re already signalling that a fail is likely by simply setting out to try. Commit to achieving. Then if you don’t manage it, then that’s OK. Check out my blog on making failure your friend if you need some convincing. Changing anything is hard enough, so set yourself up with the best chance of succeeding by aiming to achieve not just to try.
If all you’re wanting to do is ‘try’, it’s probably worth a conversation with yourself about whether you really want to do the thing in the first place.
The next time you set out to ‘try’ notice your language. Are you serious about achieving this thing? If no, then unpick that – why not?
If yes, then set out to achieve it, not to ‘try’ and achieve it. If you set out with the intention to achieve it and then you fail or fall short, then be kind to yourself. It’s OK.