Time Management Equals Self-Care
The Butterfly Effect

"I'll Try" Means Nothing, "Do" Gets It Done

Part 4 of the Here We Are series, Live Your Life Out Loud 

Transition Blue Pink Wave How many times a week do you hear yourself telling someone, "I'll try to ____?" If you aren't saying it, you're probably making a mental note of it. Each time you entertain the insidious phrase, "I'll try," you apply extra pressure upon yourself to fulfill something that, in most cases, you deep down do not want to do. 

The things we say and think about carry energy, often weighing us down. "I'll try" clouds your intentions; it means nothing and doesn't move you forward or free up your time. Simply removing "try" and swapping in the word "do" will render immediate results.

"Do" gets it done, making you proactive and clearing away mental clutter. Once you surrender to the "do," the action becomes easier because "try" is no longer lingering among all the other things that you have on your mind or on your list.

Not sure what I am referring to? Next time you catch yourself using this phrase, note the "tug" you feel in your gut or mental hesitation that accompanies the words as they roll off your tongue.

Here are three easy ways to conquer this pesky three letter word:

1. Think about all the events you say you'll "try to make," knowing you can't or won't attend. Then when the day arrives you feel bad or guilty for not attending. This doesn't help the host, it hurts your reputation, and adds to your stress level. Next time, say no thank you right away; you'll save face, and maybe your relationship with the host. If attending isn't "do-able" the day you are asked, chances are it won't be a month from now.

2. Examine your "to-do" list and honestly assess the items that evoke the lackluster feelings of "I'll try." Rank them in order of importance behind the items you actually "want / must / need to do." You will find that many of the "try" items are ones you have no connection to, desire for, or deep need to fulfill. What to do? Tell yourself it's okay and get a pen, then cross them off your list. Done! Ahhh...that just saved you a bunch of time and stress.

3. Of course, there will be times "try" comes up naturally in a conversation. For example, you will catch yourself saying, "I'll try to send you that document by 5:00," or "I'll try to call the restaurant for the reservation," or even, "I'll try to remember to put your Tupperware in my car." STOP in your "trying" tracks and rephrase it to, "I'll ____" and then just do it ASAP. By using the "do it now" approach, you will find the task is off your mind - and doesn't even make it to your "to-do" list - because it is done!

As women, we are innately verbal beings. Vocabulary is one key to unlocking clearer ways to approach life. In Living Our Lives Out Loud, we must examine how we internalize our words and thoughts. Recently, on the Here We Are radio show, we focused on the word, "should," in The "Should" Show: Give Your Shoulders A Rest. We discussed how it delivers pressure, expectations, and control put on us by others as well as ourselves.

With continued awareness, practice, and new word selections, we can make easy, purposeful changes at the core level. Next time, and there will be a next time, don't try, just do! 

Share with us the next time, "TRY became DO - and TaDa - it was done!"


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Luci Weston

@Joanna: Great observation...I have taken to believing the answer is "no" whenever I am the recipient of "I'll try." We are all "trying to be nice" when I think it is better to be honest when a subject comes up. It saves us all confusion and energy.


Now I'll be more aware of the messages that "I'll try" may be sending to others. Perhaps that noncommittal little phrase is a cowardly way out of committing to a definitive answer; in any situation. Hopefully, we unintentionally recite this phrase in an effort to soften the reaction to such outcomes like not meeting the deadline or not attending the party. In turn, I will ponder when someone tells me “I’ll try” and ask myself, “What are they really saying?”.

Luci Weston

@Donna Maria: You are right, "trying" will take over our lives and nothing gets done! Thank you for pointing out how results are judged, that is a motivating thought to get oneself to start "doing" instead of "trying." The best part of this whole process is once the results begin stacking up, this approach not only gets easier, you feel and see the difference it makes day to day.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Great post! "Trying" can become a way of living if we allow it to. Trying is a state of being, a way of verbalizing your intentions. But at the end of the day, especially in business, we are not judged by our intentions. We are judged by our results, and that's were trying must end, and doing must begin.

What is it you intend to accomplish? What's the final result? What is your deadline for accomplishing it? What are the steps you will take to make it happen in the meantime? You may have to adjust the dates as you go, but in the end, this is the only way to go from "trying" to "accomplishing."

Go Luci!!

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