Decluttering negative language

I talk a lot about changing how you think about your possessions to help you successfully declutter, but changing how you think about yourself (and talk about yourself) can also make a massive difference. 

Here’s why… 

I hear many of my clients describe themselves as “naturally messy” or look downcast as they sigh “I’m just so disorganised”. And when your clutter is overwhelming and you can’t find a way through, I totally understand how stuck you might feel and like this is just how your life is.  

But as Einstein said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” so if you want a more organised life then it’s time to shift your mindset and use your language to help yourself. 

Develop a growth-mindset

Using phrases like “I can’t…” ("I can’t even make a start") or “I don’t…” ("I don’t have a clue") provides a definitive stop to your abilities and create a fixed mindset. "I am a disorganised person and there is no hope for me." 

But add the word “yet” to those well-worn derogatory comments you make to yourself and you give yourself scope to grow, and you give your brain permission to try: “I’m just not very organised…yet”. 

Declutter limiting definitions

The phrase “I am” ("I am messy, I am disorganised") allows you to define your entire personality and existence purely on behaviour. 

Try changing “I am” to “I have”. "I have a lot of clutter, and I would like to deal with it. I have a disorganised work desk, so will  tidy up". “I have” takes the problem outside of you (so you are not the problem!) and gives you scope to find a solution.  

Use more realistic language

We tend to think we need to ‘consistently’ behave in a certain way to reach our goals, which suggests the need to do the same thing every day. "I want a consistently tidy home." 

But this gives us zero scope for slippage, and means we beat ourselves up when things get a bit chaotic. Instead, why not try ‘regularly’? "I will regularly clear my kitchen counter tops. I will regularly put the laundry away." 

This tells our brain it is an activity we should try and do quite often, but it’s ok if it’s not every single day. And you get to decide what ‘regularly’ means for you and how it could fit into your life.  


Could you do with a cheerleader letting you know how well you are doing and helping you to change how you talk about yourself? Get in touch for a free no-obligation consultation call!

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