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Goal-focused language vs. self-focused language. How can it help?

When we are trying to make behavior changes and don't meet the goals we have set, self-criticism fires the same parts of the brain that fire when we feel punished and threatened. 

Not only does this make it less likely that we will reach the goal, but often we try to self-soothe with the same behaviors we are trying to change.

The way out? Replacing self-focused language with goal-focused language.

Self-focused language assumes that the self is fixed. It sounds like "I failed again. This always happens. I will never be able to change."  

Goal-focused language assumes that the self is dynamic and can change. Goal-focused language sounds like "This was my goal. I made a different choice. What can I do next time so that my choices are more aligned with my goals?" 

Can you see how different they feel? 

The more we use goal-focused language, the less likely we are to get paralyzed by the fear of failing and the more likely we are to create lasting change.