The one word you should give up



This month we’re exploring the Sanguine Element ‘Making a Commitment’ and I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a change I made in my life last year.

In an effort to live a more intentional and committed life, I pledged to give up one short word, that seriously undermines the credibility of almost any sentence it sits in. I thought I’d share with you all what I did last year which turned out to be harder than I thought it would be.

When it comes to choosing our words, all too often, it’s like a rote task – we don’t even think about it.

It’s why in 2016, I mindfully gave up the word UGH (and still haven’t used it since).  Doing so made me really think about what language I was using and how I wanted to be seen by those I was conversing with.

In 2017, I gave up another 3 letter word – “try”.  That one was a whole lot harder, to be honest.

Since moving to Costa Rica in 2012, having someone say the word “try” to me has become a pet peeve of mine. It wasn’t something I ever noticed while living in California but in Costa Rica, I hear it all the time and I now know that what it really means is – it will never be done.  The “it” being whatever the topic of conversation we were having was about.

For example…

  •       I’ll try to finish the project by Friday
  •       I’ll try to get you the larger bag of cat food
  •       I’ll try to visit you next week
  •       I’ll try to come over for dinner tonight
  •       I’ll try to pay you before I leave for Europe
  •       I’ll try to get your legal issues handled

I really can’t think of many instances where someone used the word “try” and the work or the event actually got done. Definitely not when they said they’d do it but often, not at all.

Here’s why: Try is a passive word. It doesn’t mean you’re actually committing to something.

  • I will try to do that project tomorrow.
  • I am finishing that project tomorrow.
  • I will try to come over for dinner tonight.
  • I am coming over for dinner tonight.
  • I will try to pay you today.
  • I just made payment.

See and feel the difference?

One is actively committing to an action while the other is saying – eh, maybe, not really sure, I want to see what other better things come up…

For me, that’s not how I want to live my life and treat others.  And my hope that by sharing with you these examples, it will also give you a moment to pause and explore the idea.

Do or do not, there is no try. Yoda

Giving up the word try was not easy.  I was constantly rewriting my emails and messages and blogs and I know there were a few that slipped by me.

The word ugh was probably easier as it isn’t used and ingrained in our everyday language as much as the word try is.

A serious conscious effort had to be made in order to excise the word try from my life.

And the result – I do feel better about what I’m saying, the actions I’m committing to and how I’m showing up and living my life.

Share the love…

I’d love to hear from you… Make a conscious effort this week to give up the word TRY, then come back here and leave me a comment on what kind of impact it had on your daily life. g


  1. Kate Lewis

    I have to say UGH really isn’t a word that we use in the UK. I have been practising recently and looking at the use of passive words and how I should avoid them. I think it can be difficult as often we use the passive to let people down gently, sound less rude (a very British thing) or to appear less pushy.

    I have been checking myself with the word try this last week and can identify two occasions I regularly use it. The first would be at work when someone is asking me to do something for them which they would like with a very quick turnaround. I will always say i will try to get that done for you and I really do mean that. If I can work it into my schedule I will. 9 times out of 10 I will get it done. If it’s not going to be done I do always let the person know and give them a timescale when it will be done.

    The other time I use try is when I say I’ll try to catch up with someone or try to call. This generally means I won’t get round to doing it. In future I must make definite plans or say no I won’t have time this week etc.

    Thank you, very insightful x

    • Chrissy Gruninger

      Hi Kate! Thanks for sharing your insights! Is there another word (like UGH, maybe ARGH or something similar) that people in the UK use? It’s so kind to let people know when we can’t complete something – that you made an effort but it just can’t happen in the time frame – not everyone does that and we all should be more mindful of it. And that’s good that you are recognizing how you’re showing up when you’re telling people you’ll call and then maybe don’t. We do all want to be kind and please others but sometimes, just saying – I can’t this week but let’s connect next week – is all people really need to hear! Even if you just end up sending them a text message the next week to let them know you’re thinking of them. XO Chrissy


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chrissy gruningerChrissy Gruninger is an author and mindset coach. She mentors people on how to live their ONE beautiful life, wherever they may be. Her latest book, Lost and Found in the Land of Mañana explores her life in Costa Rica and both the challenges of working and living abroad as well as the beautiful life we can create from those experiences.

She loves her rainforest beach shack in Costa Rica, the sunshine and the rain and passionately believes that through intentional actions we create more happiness, health and harmony in the world. 

Her goal: to empower others to thrive in an imperfect world.