By Breanna Siegler
New Year, New You? I guess that means that I have to go to the gym three times a week and I should probably sign up for an event so that I can stay on track. I think I could maybe do a half marathon.
How did reading that feel? Ambiguous? Heavy?
What if it said, this year I can go to the gym three times a week and I have the opportunity to sign up and train for the Fargo Half Marathon on May 20, 2023? How does reading that feel? Lighter? More confident?
The way that we speak to ourselves can drastically affect our approach to life. Using the words guess, should, probably, and maybe in those first sentences softens what we are trying to say and creates uncertainty in those statements. They are “soft” talk. Consistently softening our words helps us create avoidance around them. It is easier to ignore the things you “should, could, or might” do.
Eliminating soft talk in our conversations with ourselves generates an opportunity to be more direct and clear about what we want. Instead of starting out the new year talking about everything you “should, could, or might” do, I challenge you to start small and notice when you are using those words.
Once you become aware of how and when you are using soft talk, try eliminating one of the words from your vocabulary. If you lost access to the word should, how would that change your way of speaking?
If you want an extra challenge, try eliminating soft talk from a specific area of your life. That could be text messages, work emails, while making plans with others, or when asking someone out on a date. How would removing soft talk change those interactions? Would they only change for you or would the people you are communicating with also be affected?
Are you more likely to accept a date from someone who asks if you want to “hang out sometime” or someone who asks you to “go to dinner on Friday at 7pm?”
Once you start to eliminate your soft talk, you will have room to introduce more “solid” talk. Solid talk is clear and direct. It does not leave room for uncertainty. It can be scary to start using because it is more concrete. If you ask someone to “hang out sometime” and they give you a soft talk answer in response (maybe), you are left with uncertainty. When do you want to spend time with them if you only use the word “sometime”? Does the person you asked want to spend time with you when they respond “maybe?” It is difficult to determine with the use of this language.
Creating confidence in dialogue can go a long way when trying to show your intentions. Confidence in dialogue can be established by eliminating soft talk and choosing to include solid talk instead. I will, I can, and I am are all variations of solid talk that can help you be more assertive in your communication. Your internal dialogue sets the stage for your connections in the rest of your life. Gaining awareness about how you speak to yourself can improve how you engage with others.
I encourage you to approach this year by thinking about what you can do and what you will do instead of what you should or might do.
December 15th 2022
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March 16th 2022
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