“I love you, but…”

“I hate my job, but…”

“I want to be healthier, but…”

“I would love to be more adventurous/make more money/travel the world, but…”

“I would love to do what you do, but…”

“I’ve always wanted to…but…”

But this. But that. But. But. But. But. But.

I am starting to *strongly* dislike the word BUT. Do you know how limiting it is? How much it holds you back? How negative and debilitating those words can be? How once they are ingrained in your psyche, they are like a paralyzing poison?

Let’s back this up with a few examples, shall we? I’ll use myself first because I am not afraid to share the things I have learned in order to (hopefully) benefit others.

I was overweight for a long time. I knew it. I wasn’t happy about it. But, I didn’t 100% own my responsibility for how I got there. And, I also wasn’t 100% ready to make any changes. So, my conversations about my weight and my health would sound a little something like this: “None of my clothes fit, and I am tired all the time, and my blood pressure is creeping up, and I miss my athletic body, BUT…

                            I am too busy.
                            Work takes up too much of my time.
                            My husband won’t eat healthy with me.
                            I need to take care of the kids.
                            I don’t really eat a lot, I’m not sure why I keep gaining weight.
                            I hate the gym.
                            I am beautiful INSIDE.

Ridiculous, right?! I totally agree. And, I also bet that you sound *JUST LIKE THAT* on a daily basis! Whether it be work, or your marriage, or your health, or your friendships, or your dreams — you are making excuses and whiling your life away with an endless stream of BUTS. I know you do it — because I hear it all the time.

Another example: work. I worked at a job I hated for years. It was eating away at me. It was not in line with my goals or my passions. It stole my soul. I brought the misery home. And, I let it peck away at me one 40 hour week at a time, one ineffective staff meeting at a time, one crappy “cost of living” raise at a time. I could have left. I should have left.  This is what I did instead:

                            But, I need the salary.
                            But, I have invested so much time here.
                            But, I like the people.                   
                            But, I am not a quitter.
                            But, I get Fridays off in the summer and a 401K.

I paralyzed myself with BUTS and put a whole lot of garbage thoughts in my head, and ultimately wasted about 5 years of my life doing something I loathed because I BUTTED myself out of transition. Nobody did it to me — I did it to myself.   

Once I stopped BUTTING myself, things started to happen for me. I found a career with Nu Skin where I am self-employed and make a living out of helping people. I launched Self Esteem Through Art and work with some of the most amazing kids to help creatively eliminate THEIR limiting beliefs. I made a lifestyle change, dropped a few pants sizes, and got my blood pressure under control (without prescription drugs). So, I KNOW changes are within your reach if you want to embark on a new path.

On a daily basis I hear people’s limiting beliefs. Their lack of self-esteem and courage brought to fruition through careless use of a one-syllable word. Just this week alone, I have already heard:

        “I would love to make a lifestyle change like you did, but being healthy costs too much money.”

        “I hate my job and would love to quit tomorrow, but I might get a bonus in April.”

        “I would love to play lacrosse, but I am not good at sports.”

        “I’d love to take one of your art classes, but I don’t have the money.”

        “I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, but I don’t speak the language.”

In using the word BUT, we effectively rob ourselves of the opportunity to live a long healthy life, find a career we are passionate about, learn a new athletic endeavor, be more creative, and travel the world. We have also negated the love, joy, and passion we so desire. We are the gremlins in our own heads, our own worst enemies, and we are – in essence – our own ball and chain.

Here’s the skinny: if you want to change anything in your life, find more joy, eliminate the stress, become healthier, earn a greater income, take up a hobby, have more free time, or have a bigger retirement fund — YOU are the key to that! It is not your spouse’s responsibility, it is not your employer’s responsibility, it is not your friends’ responsibilities, it is not the government’s responsibility — it is YOUR responsibility.

I don’t want to belabor the point anymore. I’d just like to ask you to make a few small changes. Yes, they may feel uncomfortable at first. And, yes, you might have to get used to the new, awesome, adventurous you — but just try these suggestions on for size and don’t postpone joy for one second longer! For twenty-one days (it takes 21 days to make or break a habit), I want you to eliminate the word BUT from your vocabulary.

If you want to drop some weight, don’t say BUT — instead say, “I am going drop a dress size by April 30, and I will find an effective way to make that happen.” 

If you want to take one of my art classes, go out to a fancy dinner, buy a new pair of spring shoes, or go sky diving, and it’s not currently in your budget you could say, “I want to take that art class (or buy that sundress) and I am going to have to cut my expenses elsewhere to make that happen. I will have a plan in place by April 1st as to how I will make that happen.”

If you want to leave a job, learn a new vocation, or go back to school, it will probably be uncomfortable at first and you may have to tap into skills that you have long since forgotten how to use. So, you could articulate something like this: “I have always wanted to start my own business, and speaking in public makes me uncomfortable, so I am going to enroll in Toastmasters to hone those skills.”

See what I did there? The old you probably would have said, “I want to start my own business, but I can’t speak in public.” And then you would stay stuck, unhappy, and largely unfulfilled.

Erase your limiting beliefs and your false, self-inflicted boundaries. Try my suggestion on for size…and tell me how it worked out for you. Here is hoping the next 21 days is full of satisfaction, boldness, and a new awareness of just how awesome and powerful you really are!

With strength and courage —