Words to Eliminate From Your Vocabulary in 2013 (Part II)

Posted January 6, 2013 by Melissa Foster in Features
WordsYour words have power. So we’re digging into Part II of our three-part series to eliminate specific words from your vocabulary.

(If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part I of this series. It will be a helpful intro to the purpose of what we’re doing here!)

Here are this week’s two words to eliminate, and their replacements:



Growing up, you were probably told not to say can’t.

It seems logically best to switch straight over to the word CAN. Problem is, if you don’t BELIEVE that you can, it doesn’t do any good — because you are still in a disempowered belief state.

Choose not to, once again, gives the power back to you. With this replacement, you are stating your choice – not giving up because of perceived limitations.

Typically anyone who told you to never say can’t, were in essence saying “Don’t even go there”; “Don’t allow that disempowered mindset.”

And while I see their point, the truth is that we are human, and in our everyday life there will be those times that “can’t” feels fitting. When you feel inclined to go that mental route and your mind says that can’t is the perfect word – KNOW THAT IT IS NOT.

Say the following sentences out loud and notice the totally different feeling you get from can’t vs. choose not to:

I can’t meet for coffee. |vs.| I choose not to meet for coffee.
I can’t stop eating. |vs.| I choose not to stop eating.
I can’t get it all done. |vs.| I choose not to get it all done.

As you begin to switch from “can’t” to “choose not to”, you are showing your mind that it actually does have a choice. And when your mind can understand that, it’s easier to realize that the possibilities are endless.



The word “but” sits between two separate thoughts.

Either the first thought of the sentence is relevant or the second thought of the sentence is relevant. When you use the word but, you contradict yourself. “But” dismisses the words in front of it. If you are dismissing the statement before “but” anyway, why not just leave it out?

Now if both thoughts in the sentence are relevant OR if you want to be encouraging (constructive criticism), use the replacement word AND.

Example: “Your speech sounds great, but keep up the dedication to practice” isn’t nearly as encouraging as “Your speech sounds great, AND keep up the dedication to practice.”

Another way that “but” can be damaging is that it announces your fear and assists in keeping you stuck. No bueno.


Next week we’ll have a look at a few more! Until then, practice paying close attention to when you use “can’t” and “but.”

Have a sec? Leave a comment below with comments about how this stuff is landing for you!


About the Author

Melissa Foster

A productivity consultant for startups founders and entrepreneurs, Melissa Foster is on a mission to help her clients and readers create flow in their lives... and get big things done. A certified life coach, Melissa's hyper-focused, energetic approach is coupled with wisdom, warmth, and wit. You can get more from Melissa by visiting her website.