Do, Or Do Not – There Is No Try

by Stephen Mills on March 1, 2009

Do it, Don't Try

Note from Stephen – This article is by Dr. Annette Colby, RD.

Did you know that you can increase your ability to achieve success by consciously choosing the right words? It’s true! Let us say you are motivated and excited to create change in your life. You have even gone so far as to put your well-formed goals down in writing. From there, you determined your first steps and you know exactly what is it you’re going to do. You choose your action step, and then…

…Then you inadvertently cripple your success before you even begin. You say, “I’ll try.”

When you say “I’ll try” you are giving yourself an out. Sure, you will move forward if everything falls into place and your day happens to run smoothly. However, should some obstacle surface, you now have a built in escape route that gets you off the hook.

The phrase, “I’ll try” lacks intention and confidence. You are sowing doubt in the back of your own mind. In the foreground, you have optimism, but underneath you are saying, “Alright, I’ll give it a go, but if things get difficult I can always back out.”

Do, or do not. There is no try.

In the movie Star Wars, the character Yoda was a 900 year old revered Jedi Master who was very powerful in the Force. He had trained Jedi for eight centuries, and among his last pupils was the young and reckless Luke Skywalker. In an attempt to help Luke “unlearn” his preconceptions, he counseled, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” In other words, that is Yoda speak for “just do it.”

To make your goal successful, trade the phrase, “I’ll try” for “I am now…” For example, instead of saying, “I’ll try to meet my goal of weight loss by walking 20 minutes today” say, “I am now committed to honoring my decision to walk 20 minutes today.”

Ensure Your Success

However, what happens when you say, “I will” and it does not feel right? Then you have selected a goal that is too big for today. The action step you chose is not your natural first step. Back up and find the action step you are ready and willing to take. It does not matter how small and insignificant that step may seem. You are far better off starting with something teeny-tiny and achieving success, than starting with an action that you already know will lead to failure or loss of motivation. The wise philosopher Lao-Tzu once stated, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Confucius pronounced, “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” Make sure you are able to complete your first step.

“I am now…”

The phrase “I am now…” provides direction and clarity. It gives you power and intention. You believe in what you are saying and you will find a way to make it happen. You have made a commitment to yourself that you choose to honor. By making this small change in language, you empower yourself to find a way to move forward and succeed with your action, even if other life situations get in the way. When difficulties pop up, you will find some way to stick with your intention.

Right now, choose the one action that seems doable for the energy and motivation you have today. Now, instead of saying, “I’ll try to get that done today” declare whole-heartedly, “I am now taking this action!” By making this one small shift, you can make your success inevitable.

Want to make your world brighter and more exciting? Want to leave feeling exhausted, stressed, depressed, or overweight behind forever? Subscribe to our wonderful weekly free Loving Miracles newsletter at and learn how to wake up each morning energized and glad to be alive.

Copyright 1997–2009 Annette Colby, PhD. All rights reserved in all media.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

tom March 2, 2009 at 9:14 am

Excellent post, by saying i’ll try, it affects your mindset and you probably will not go out of your way to get it done.

I understand now why people got upset with me before when i used to answer maybe.

Plus in a bigger view point, this is the different successful people and the rest. They make decisions faster and deal with it after. While the rest of us put it aside and let the “baggage” pile up.


Annette Colby, PhD March 2, 2009 at 9:44 am

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for posting my article about “Do or Do Not…There is no Try.” This article brings together two important concepts:

1) The freedom and empowerment of knowing we have conscious choice
2) The love of self to choose what is most important and follow through

When we’re stuck in the middle of an unhappy or undesirable life circumstance, it often feels as if we don’t have any choice at all. We feel trapped in a corner, or imprisoned in our unhappy bodies or lives.

However, no matter where we are in life there is always a choice about how we proceed. We can’t change what is, but we can change what will be.

If we find that our ability to make conscious choices is not fully developed, we feel out of control, fragile and vulnerable. If we deny and disown our unique personal choices, we feel lifeless.

Conscious choice requires that we take risks, do things that are different and often out of our realm of comfort. But we can do it! We can strengthen conscious choice, and give ourselves freedom, happiness, and a life that is meaningful to Self (and therefore also meaningful to the world). It is only possible to be truly happy when we are first true to self!


Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

@Tom, I used to say “I’ll try” all the time. I never realized what I was doing!


Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

@Annette, thank you. Great comment – another post within the post. I think people say something like life is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens. I also like that Victor Frankl quote that goes something like “Between stimulus and response lies choice and with that choice comes power and freedom”. I’m sure I messed it up but the point is the same.

When one realizes that nobody owes you anything, you feel a great burden lifted and then are free to make the choices you need to make to be free and happy.

Great article!


Annette Colby, PhD March 2, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I also love Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning – an amazing book of survival, deep meaning, and optimism. The love in this book seeps through into our core and changes the way we look at the world. Thanks for your great blog and sharing the great inspiration that comes from within you!


rikin March 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Great tips. I’ll try to put some of them in place. dammit!

Words are so powerful and the right selection of words can get you to where you want to be. There’s a local pizzeria near my office in Midtown that’s packed during lunch hours so the wait after you order is always a nightmare. Of course, this is New York so friendly service during lunchtime in midtown is not easy to come by. I found that when I asked directly, “I’m sorry but is the chicken parm hero ready yet?” I was met with a real rude response like “Sir ya gotta hold on man”. So I tweaked the way I phrased it and now ask “I’m sorry did you call out the chicken parm hero?” and to my surprise the response was “Lemme check for ya”. It works like a charm every time and psychologically this makes absolute sense. In the second version I indirectly place the blame on myself by hinting that I was the one who couldn’t hear.


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