Two Words to Flip Negative Thinking

“You didn’t fix the coffee pot last night.”

Those were the first words I said to myself the other morning. I didn’t start the day out being kind to myself, instead, before I was even fully awake, I’d accused myself of wrong doing.

What a way to start the week!

This could have easily escalated into me making a whole long list of very important things I did not do that I should have. (Vacuum the living room comes to mind.)

Instead a kind, gentle voice in my mind said, “Yes, but…”

Then I was able to fill in the end of that sentence with things that I did do instead:

  • Visited my mom.
  • Read a book.
  • Watched 101 Dalmatians with my kids.
  • Babysat my sister’s kids because she was a bridesmaid in a wedding.
  • Watched the kids swim for 2 hours.
  • Took the kids (her’s and mine) to the wedding reception so they could dance their feet off and catch the bouquet (my daughter).
  • Brought the kids (her’s and mine) home and tucked their tired feet into bed.
  • Ate chocolate birthday cake to celebrate my sister’s 34th birthday.
  • Played solitaire with my kids. Which makes it not at all solitary.
  • Listen to Eragon with my kids.
  • Washed clothes, and dishes, and cleaned up toys.

That list is all things that involved family.

Family is the top priority on my list of things to do, always.

“Yes, but…” thinking switched off the negativity

I was able to get the day off to a much more positive start.

So, if you find yourself mentally writing that list of things you didn’t do, in life or in business …

Take a minute to rewire your brain.

Challenge it to take a different direction. Use “Yes, but…” or “Yes, and …” or anything that works for you to get it grooving to a more positive tune.

How do you reset your brain after a self-inflicted negative attack?

p.s. After this experience I Googled “yes, but…” (What a funny thing to Google!) and found a book called “Yes, But…: The Top 40 Killer Phrases and How You Can Fight Them.” This book lists “yes, but…” as a killer phrase and offers advice on how to fight back.

“Yes, but …” seems to work for me, despite the negative connotation, so I’m going with my theory of do what works!


  1. Thank you Jewels for the mindset hack!

    Because I have the tendency to forget how successful and accomplished I am :), most nights I write five successes in My Life is a Success Story journey. My life coach inspired this activity and it’s VERY helpful for my progressive and determined personality. She suggested that I include at least three internal successes as well as outward efforts. So my entries include things like published my newsletter, took a bath, enjoyed a great conversation with my daughter, confirmed dates for video publishing, etc.

    I appreciate your blog post and the reminder to re-frame.

    • OOOH, Jocelyn! I REALLY like the success journal idea! I’m sure it’s a great pick me up on days when you’re not feeling yourself! ♥

    • christie on at

      I’m taking your My Life is a Success Story and running with it Jocelyn! What a great idea.

  2. YES! I have been trying to get my husband to see the light. He doesn’t understand the difference between telling our 5-year-old “You CAN’T have a treat if you DON’T pick up your toys” and “You CAN have a treat! Right after you pick up your toys.”

    I haven’t thought about it in terms of how I talk to myself (or for that matter, how I talk to my husband 🙂 but you can bet I am going to tune in to it now. Thanks!

  3. Jenn Morgan on at

    You are an inspiration 😉

  4. I love the, “Yes, but…” strategy! It’s a great way to remind ourselves that we don’t just sit around twiddling our thumbs all day! When I first became a mom, I had trouble with feeling overwhelmed and ‘unaccomplished’, and this is one of things I did to help me feel like I didn’t just waste my day away!

    My personal favorite way to get past mucky thinking is, “So what?”

    I didn’t vacuum the living room.

    “So what?”

    I forgot the send the kids to school with a snack.

    “So what?”

    I’m running late for an appointment.

    “So what?’

    It works wonders for my ego!

  5. LOVE this post, Christie! I’m a “Yes, and…” girl — learned it in my improv days! In improv, the worst thing you can do is NOT to say “Yes, AND” as it will ruin the scene. Which is kind of related to negative thinking 😉 Instead of limiting ourselves and criticizing/attacking ourselves, rewiring our brains to think of the positive helps tremendously. I found it a bit hard at the start as you’re trying to develop a new habit but once you get the hang of it, things just start to feel…better 😉 Thanks for such an uplifting and inspirational post!

  6. Pam Pearson on at

    I actually felt different energy in my body when I read your first critique vs your positive thoughts. The latter lifted me up. I love “Yes, and” as my go to phrase. I’m going to practice that today! Thanks

  7. Progress not perfection. If I made a list of all the things I didn’t get done in a day – it would be a mile long. My list of what I do get done is a 1/2 mile long…so if I focus on that and not on the other…I can get half the list done tomorrow. You are right. It is miserable focusing on the things you didn’t do. Thanks!