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The Phrase You Need to Help Tame Your Mental Soundtrack

Tame your negative mental soundtrack - image of a record on a record player

Do you ever have serendipitous moments where you read or hear about something in multiple places over a short period of time and then realize that it just happens to be what you need at that moment?

"Can I just..." is one of those things for me. I read about it in a book and heard it on a podcast. A few weeks before, it popped up in a Facebook group that I belong to.

Turns out that it's a really good saying when you are having doubts or second-guessing yourself. I've found it particularly helpful when I have thoughts like "I'm too old to learn this". "I've got 10,000 things to do today". “I’ll never lose weight”. “I’ll never be a morning person”.

You know...l the extremes (always, never, too ____, 10,000)

I’ve let these creep into my thoughts and past experience has taught me that these thoughts really don’t serve me well. If I try to “rephrase” some of these things “Of course, I will lose the weight that I want to”, I internally argue with myself. Instead, I’ve found it helpful to just move the dial slightly to adjust those thoughts.

Here are some “Can I just…” examples:

  • “Can I just go to bed 15 minutes earlier”

  • “Can I just trim the branches on the hydrangea bush”

  • “Can I just sort my email by the sender and delete system-generated messages”

This phrase gives me something that is doable and actionable. When I used to think “People who wake up at 5 AM have absolutely no life”, I replaced it with “Can I just go to bed 15 minutes earlier”. Note: this is part of how I trained myself to wake up earlier. And now I wake up so that I can exercise at 5 AM, and it turns out that I do still have a life!!

What about you? Do you have times when you might use the phrase “Can I just…?”

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