I don’t remember where I first heard the phrase “can’t lives on won’t street” but I hope I never forget the words. I hope it’s one of those annoying parental responses I use with my future children ad nauseum. (Oh those lucky little kiddos…)

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When I first heard that, I thought about the opposite: “can lives on will street.” Also true. 

Let’s break it down with some clear examples.

You say you can’t do pull-ups. What you’re really saying is that you won’t do the work to lose weight, build strength and practice regularly. 

You say you can’t lose weight. What you’re really saying is that you won’t stay committed long enough to find what works for you and consistently work hard until you reach your goals.

When you say you can’t get out of debt, what you’re really saying is that you won’t cut your expenses and you won’t invest in opportunities to make more money.

When you say you can’t do something, what you’re really facing is what you won’t do.

Let’s flip the script.

When you feel like you can’t, ask yourself the following questions:

What am I saying I won’t do?

What would it take?

If this was possible, what would have to happen?

Can I break what would have to happen into small parts?

What action can I take today on one of the small parts?

What piece of this am I willing to create consistency with?

You might choose not to do the work. It might not be worth it to you. You might not be ready. You might not be willing.

But all of those things are quite different from “can’t”.