“I’ll try.” My client told me, and I cringed.
“That means you’re not going to do it, right?”
He laughed a quiet, nervous laugh, “maybe..”
“Alright, let’s take a look at where this resistance is coming from,” I said.
Whenever I hear someone use the word “try”, I know that the likelihood of them actually following through on something is incredibly low.
Just think about it. If you were going on vacation and asked your neighbor to feed your goldfish while you were gone, and he told you, “I’ll try to remember” – you’d instantly know that you’ll be coming home to a dead piece of fish.
The word “try” is a commitment moderator. It’s a pre-excuse for not having done something.
(“I didn’t say I was going to do it, I only said I’d try to do it.”)
You see, the words we use when expressing ourselves, our intentions and our plans very much affect our actions. By using commitment moderators we eliminate accountability, responsibility and the other -ility’s that will otherwise keep us more committed and focused on living up to our words.
So I encourage you, just like I do with myself and every single one of my clients, to pay attention to your words. And when you catch yourself using words like “try”, try again. Rephrase what you just said into something more certain. Make it a commitment to follow through on the action, or give a firm “no”. Don’t trick yourself or others with a “try” that will turn into a “didn’t”.
I believe it was Yoda who said it best: “Do or do not, there is no try.”