It’s easy to become accustomed to saying certain things in a certain way.

Let me give you an example.

  • I want this…
  • I don’t have this…
  • I have to do this…

These phrases may sound all good and dandy to you, but if you look closely and pay attention to the way they sound, you may just see what I see: the fact that they each bring with them a slightly negative connotation. Changing your vocabulary can change everything.

The simplest word changes in the world

Do you know how powerful even a single word swap can be in a phrase? The entire feeling and sentiment behind the sentence alters right before you.

Instead of “want” say “would like”. (This is a big one with my kids.)

  • “Mom, I want to leave now.”
  • “Mom, I would like to leave now.”

See the difference? Now, of course, ideally that second one also has the word “please” at the end, which makes an even bigger alteration. The first sounds less than polite. The second sounds polite, and also calmer and more peaceful.

Instead of saying “don’t have”, think about what you “do have”.

  • “I don’t have a large computer monitor like so many of my colleagues.”
  • “My computer monitor may not be the hugest, but I do have a lightning-speed laptop which makes me super efficient at my job.”

It’s okay to acknowledge the things you don’t have, but never let that get in the way of remembering and recognizing everything you do have. This simple practice can actually work to reground you and enhance your feelings of gratefulness. And if that happens, you just may find that you’re truly happier as a result.

Instead of saying “I have to do this”, say “I GET to do this”. (This is my favourite one.)

  • “I have to do my laundry today.”
  • “I get to do my laundry today!” (Sorry, couldn’t resist a little added enthusiasm with the exclamation mark.)

The logic behind the fact that you “get” to do your laundry, is that it’s a good thing, and a privilege because you have clothing to wash, and a laundry machine (or a sink) to wash them in. And, it’s up to you to make it fun! It doesn’t need to be miserable. It can be anything you make it. Who says sitting on a patio with a book is something you want to do and doing laundry is something you don’t? Make it great. Enjoy the solitude for a few minutes. Watch how your hands work to transfer clothes from one place to the next. See how your fingers hang a shirt on a hanger.


Try a small change. One word here and there. See how you feel. See how it changes the task. See how it alters the course of your mood, your day…your life.