Words to Use and Words to Lose in 2023

Lindsay TitusBlog, Reflect Better, Teach Happier


  • Reflect on your current habits so you can identify what you want to change for the upcoming year.
  • Lose words like just, should, and have to.
  • Instead, choose statements like I get to, I love to, I choose to, and I desire to.

As we enter into a new year, I always love reflecting on my current habits so that I can identify what I want to change for the upcoming year. When it comes to changing anything, I always go to one specific question: is this currently serving me? I love this question because it’s not about, is this behavior (or habit) right or wrong? It’s not about, is this the best habit for me? It’s about asking myself, is this habit currently serving the person I am in this moment? It then allows me to expand the concept further to, is this habit serving my best self and/or the future version I have for myself in this upcoming year?

You are more than a teacher. You're more than a partner. You're more than anything you would fill in that space with. Click To Tweet

The Power of Our Language

After asking myself that very important question, the second step I take is to identify what is a simple and easy habit I can start with. And without a doubt, the first habit that always comes to mind is to observe and reflect on the language that I am using.

The words we speak are so powerful, both within our jobs as educators, as well as in our lives outside of the school or work setting. The words we speak create the narrative we live. This narrative becomes the story that I am living. Because I am the author, I remain in control of the words I speak and share with others and more importantly, with myself.

Understanding how the words I am speaking serve me is essential to creating a life with myself at the core. By listening to and honoring the words I am speaking, I am able to show up with the authentic confidence that I know is what is best for me every single day.

So as 2023 is underway, I wanted to share three words I am choosing to lose and purposeful words I am choosing to use in the new year.

Let’s start with the words I’m choosing to lose:

  • Just
  • Have to
  • Should

Just Is Bust!

Put simply, these words do not serve me. I encourage you to let go of using these too, as I am positive they are not serving the amazing human being that you are! It probably goes without saying, but the word ‘just’ is one that we can simply eliminate from our vocabulary.

Anything we put ‘just’ in front of reduces the impact of whatever follows. For example, I am just a teacher. If you could see my face as I’m writing this, you’d know how deeply I dislike this sentence! You are more than a teacher. You’re more than a partner. You’re more than anything you would fill in that space with. You are YOU and that, my friend, is so powerful. So for 2023, it’s time to let go of the word ‘just’ and honor the amazing whole person that you are.

Have To…Says Who?

‘Have to’ is another phrase that doesn’t serve me as it takes away my power in the situation. For example, “I have to stay late and get these reports written” does not serve me. It puts the reports making the decision instead of myself. I’ve learned to follow up the phrase have to with says who? This reminds me that I get to stay in control of what I am choosing to do instead of what someone else (or something else) might be requiring me to do.

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Get Out of Shouldville

The final phrase is should, which is my personal favorite. Get out of shouldville has become a phrase I am frequently telling myself and others because simply put, it does not serve us! Should energy is energy outside of our control and gives away our personal power to make decisions that align with us. If you are using should language you are speaking outside of yourself. In 2023, it’s all about speaking with authentic confidence, which begins with our own language!

So those are the three words/phrases I am choosing to lose in 2023…so you might be wondering what am I choosing to use?

While there are many words I choose to use, the following are my go-statements!

  • I get to…
  • I love to…
  • I choose to…
  • I desire to…

Notice the pattern? This year my focus will continue to be on myself and how I can align my words to best serve myself! With this, I can continue to serve those that I interact with on a daily basis. I encourage you to do the same!

When it comes to mindset and taking control of our thoughts and the language we use, always remember to start small, keep it simple, and align your strategy to always serve YOU!

About Lindsay Titus

Lindsay Titus is a K-12 Behavior Specialist with a license in behavior analysis. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Lindsay coaches and trains educators on the study of behavior and how to implement evidence-based behavior principles in simple and easy ways! With experience as a classroom special education teacher, and behavior specialist in public schools, residential placement, and private settings, Lindsay enjoys working with all educators looking to reignite their passion for education, connect with all students, and conquer challenging behavior in any classroom setting.