Word Swaps to Re-Wire Your Brain


do-or-do-notI’m always looking for ways to do things better.


Double that if it equates to more efficiency, less effort or any kind of re-programming to just plain do things differently.


The term for my industry, the health/fitness industry is “bio=hacking.”  Using new science, the latest research and physiology to run faster, lift more, lose weight quickly and live longer better lives.  I LOVE this stuff.


Basically,  I want to live my life utilizing what Tim Ferris coined, the MED.  Minimum Effective Dose. How to get more from less.   


More Bang for your buck.    This whole website has this as it’s basis.


Aside from performance and health, there is a psychological revolution going on as well.

Where psychology spent much of it’s infancy and adolescence training and studying the negative aspects of behavior and thought – over the last two decades a much higher percentage of therapies and psychological studies and indeed the profession itself focuses much more on the positive of human performance and emotions.   How to make yourself happier, secure and BETTER.


One of my favorite tools to use in this regard is “word swaps.”   Used for good or bad, there is no question…Words are powerful.  They have been called, “the most dangerous weapon ever created”, “the most powerful drug used by mankind.”, they move men and nations!

“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”

We even think, for a large part of our processes, in words.

Words work with what I’m proposing.  I’m looking to Use words in a way that changes your paradigm and perspective and creates a new pattern.  Swap out the average and harmful for the better and positive.


This isn’t like using a thesaurus.   CAR for AUTOMOBILE isn’t life changing.  It’s a synonym – I’m looking for a layer or two deeper.   These need to be profound for effectiveness.   


Throughout my BeAwesome page you’ll find all kinds of word swaps I use to rewire the way we focus, think and see the world.    These are extremely easy to implement with almost instant change in how you operate and think as human.


I’ll start with an example I use daily in my clinic that has a mindset switch.  I use this with my athletes because it affects how they play – for the rest of their lives.


If you are playing basketball and came down from a  rebound and rolled an ankle, that is classically called a “sprain.”  You have a sprained ankle. I can get the x-ray, MRI’s etc. It will show a partial tear to the ligament or ligaments, which we as sports med docs, call a sprain.   

But what if I want to sound more professional and  med-cool. Instead of calling it a sprain I tell you you have a “grade 1 – partially torn ligament.”


Sounds a lot worse huh?   Scary? It’s the same thing.


In fact I will have 2 to 3 clients tell me DAILY – they have a partially torn ligament in their shoulder, ankle, wherever.  Most of these were from 5 to 50 years prior. I think I’m a great doctor and have strong treatment protocols but I have had so many people tell me the best they ever felt was when I told them they were “fine.”  Free from the injury that plagued them from their youth. Their issue has healed and was healed years ago. They have been carrying around this burden of “a medical issue” like a backpack full of bricks for years and they are now free!

That is a word swap example of negatively affecting a patient’s psyche.  Both things mean the same thing but with much different reactions and consequences.  I hear it with, “I’m getting older.” “ I have a disc issue.” “My doctor tells me my knees are like car tires and 65,000 miles is too much etc.”   It’s Crap-talk that affects their performance. Doctors do this unintentionally all the time. It’s time to make the effort to change this.


Now – how does this affect you, other than the physical?   Because we can implement the reverse of this to increase the “feel good” in your life.    At the same time, our new perspective changes our direction, production and efficiency.


Some of the strongest Examples I’ve used in past podcasts…


Changing out “HABITS” for “GOALS” – The original article was titled, “Your Goals Suck.”


The gist is this…Instead of stating to me your goals, look to create habits.  For instance, the most common one I use in the clinic because I hear this daily is “I want to lose ___ pounds.”   

We all say this from time to time and say it more around New Years for our annual Resolutions.


The problem is that is a goal.  Even with a time frame- let’s say “I want to Lose 20 pounds over two months.” you have the issue with what happens then?  Are you done? Do you celebrate with a pizza and a six pack? Why did you do it in the first place? To be healthier, to look better naked?   

Well, once you’ve reached “your goal” you’re pretty much bombed out.   It is nearly set in stone you will lose the gains you’ve made and your resolution will be the same next year.  Not efficient, not effective and way too time consuming.


Instead of thinking or stating “goals” switch to “habits”

The switch would look like this.  “I want to eat healthy and exercise six out of the seven days of the week.”   With no end date. Or just for argument’s sake, let’s say you use the original time frame of 2 months – from the goal you had set earlier.


The results of this simple word swap would most likely outperform you goals.   With no additional effort involved, in fact less. Because you’re going to feel zero pressure to “stay the path.”     It’s simply a word swap.


I would anticipate, with this example, more than 20 pounds and in essence a newly formed ”Habit” of nutrition and exercise.   Habits take typically 21 to 30 days to establish and then they settle back into your subconscious. You don’t have to think of it anymore and it’s not a struggle.   It continues on indefinitely until you de-habit this. One day of failure will not run the train off the tracks and you will reap max benefits and more. There is no arbitrary end and you are now better off as a person.


That’s the idea of word swaps.  Next to zero effort with huge impacts.    


Another one of my hardest hitting word swaps, especially while raising kids and changing our lives is swapping in EXCITED, for the old term NERVOUS.” (article Do These Guys Look Nervous”


I’ve seen this so much as a parent.  

Kid:  “Dad, I feel so nervous about this soccer game, those kids look so big.”

Me: ‘Oh, that’s not nervousness you feel, that’s excitement. – they feel almost exactly the same but your body is just getting amped up because you can’t wait to play bigger faster kids.”

Kid:  “really?”

Me:  “yep – it’s called adrenaline, and you’re going to LOVE what it can do.    It’s normal to feel that with any new thing and ESPECIALLY anything you really care about.”

Kid:  “wow, OK, I’m ready to go then, this feels great.”


Excited instead of nervousness has benefitted me incredibly as I have really enjoyed getting into new things in the last few years.  Things I would have never done and when done, leave me feeling exhilarated and alive. Learning something new is my new most valuable currency in life.  Truly hard to beat. Most likely not ever considered if I contemplated being nervous about it. 


One of the biggest fields I’ve seen this happen with adults is learning to shoot guns.  I’ve really gotten into this in the last few years and I try to recruit my friends and others interested.  Most people I ask to join me bail on me and despite what they say it’s most likely due to being nervous. “You’re not nervous, you’re excited.”

 I say as they walk in the room the first day.  They often respond, “No I’m not.. I’m nervous.”   By the end of day two they tell me I was right. You’re supposed to feel like that.  It’s something new and loud and dangerous if it wrong goes wrong. In fact, you’re probably not doing it correctly if you’re not feeling that!


I’ve lectured on BLAME vs RESPONSIBILITY.  How people have an entire different rating of their happiness if they view their life situations as their responsibility vs blaming others. 


I’ve Seen Happiness swapped for Jealousy for relationship success (ex:  I just got back from a vacation in Tahiti..”I’m so happy for you.”vs. “I’m so jealous”)


To get your point across in a debate, “but, but, but”  can be subbed for, “Exactly! And…”


I’ve been shown that after every sentence you use “Can’t” –  use…”yet” as in “I can’t play the guitar…yet.”


These are built to be simple yet profound, Easy to implement. 


These word swaps need to be personalized.  The same swaps don’t work for everyone so don’t use what is detrimental for you.  Remember, the criteria for use is what makes your headspace better and concise.

So for many, substituting the word FOOD for FUEL works.   Nobody would put crappy Fuel into their system or car or plane or rocketship.  So thinking of food as fuel keeps them “clean.” 

Fuel doesn’t fit my life however.  I love food, it is much more to me than just the fuel to run my machine so that swap is a no-go for me.


I often use PLAY instead of EXERCISE or WORKOUT.   If I’m running, I’m playing like a kid. Often I’ll stop in the middle for some pushups etc.   And if you ever see me at the beach with a surfboard or on my bike, that by NO MEANS=exercise.   I think that is what has kept me such a crossfit geek. We play with all kinds of unconventional stuff.


But for my wife, it counts.  It’s not play, it’s a workout baby!   In fact she enjoys it more and is more satisfied if it is a workout and double if we’re keeping score.   Fine by me. Whatever works.


In the nutrition world and fitness world you can become an international sensation just by implementing word swaps.  Remember when “your eating window, 18/6 and OMD” was called “fasting?” that was sooo 2018. Now there are 100’s of experts with their own take and name.   And the number of bestsellers would suggest that at least 1 million people buy it in any form.


Crossfit maximized this into a multi-gazillion dollar industry and a new sport.  Workouts are now WODS, Gyms are Boxes, Intervals are EMOM’s, your friends are Bro’s.   Haha, it’s awesome and effective. Created new from something old. Updated and fresh and fun.


But of all the terms I’ve ever heard, used, studied and implemented – the best one is the one I’ll end with.  When I talk to my spouse and we figure out life or talk about our kids or how to run the business or where we should travel to and even what to wear…No matter what I think, or want to say, or know to be true, despite any and all ideas that pop up…my life has been 1000x better, happier and more efficient, full tilt MED when I swap out anything else with, “Baby, You’re right.”  And really, most of the time she is anyway.   


I’m telling you.   Change your words, Change your life.


Send me a comment…tell me yours!


One thought on “Word Swaps to Re-Wire Your Brain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s