Picture of notebook paper and pen with the words: 5 Words that cause me to cringe

Five Words that Cause Me to Cringe

As a self-proclaimed Word Nerd, I love words. I love them so much that I am learning them in another language. But there are a few words in the English language that I cringe when I hear them, or even worse, when I say them!

I thought I would share them with you and ask your thoughts on these words, or any words you find cringeworthy.

Here are five words/phrases that I just don’t like:


**See also: “New year, new you!” and “Better version of yourself.”

Self-improvement (and the other phrases mentioned) implies that there is something about me that needs to be improved. These are all terms that make us believe we are not good enough so that we’ll buy whatever it is they’re selling. We are enough right now.

I do believe there is always room to expand and grow. We can learn new things, change our beliefs, and even our values. What’s important to us might change, too. These are all ways we can grow into ourselves and expand out into our communities.

Phrases I use instead: personal growth, personal development, expansion.

Goals, but Different
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It’s a Monday

**See also: “I hate Mondays.”

These words individually are lovely, but when you put them together, I cringe. Why do Mondays have to be so terrible? I understand it is the beginning of the work week, and often we are exhausted from the weekend because we are trying to fit in all the stuff we couldn’t do during the week in two days.

So, maybe we need to look at that dynamic instead of hating Mondays.


Should is a tricky one. It is so ingrained in our lexicon that it just slips out without warning. It also isn’t always cringy. In some instances, like when I say, “The coffee maker should work now that it’s plugged in,” I am using it as a qualifier since I don’t really know the coffee maker will work even now that it has electricity.

When it becomes troublesome is when it is used as a way to shame me or someone else, as in, “You should do it this way.” Implying that the way I am doing it is not correct even though I am achieving the same results. Should is usually tied with unsolicited advice.


Self-care is very important. The reason it made it onto this list is because it has been overused and taken over to largely mean spa days and vacations. While those are valid ways to care for yourself, I like to focus on the activities I can do on the daily to care for my body and mind. Things like movement, journaling, rest, work (yes, work can be self-care, too!), fun, and whatever else that helps calm my nervous system. Things that are accessible and often don’t take a lot of money or time.


I am not fond of the word “mindset” because it has been overused and used in a way that implies that changing your mindset will immediately improve your life.

Mindset is a powerful tool. Changing my mindset (or reframing a situation) can help me change how I feel about something, help me recover from disappointment faster, or push me to work harder. So, I suppose it can immediately improve my life, but not in a sustainable way unless I am also willing to put in the work to support my mindset.

Goals, but Different
When you’re ready to begin creating goals to grow, download my ebook to get started!

Can you guess the words I still use even though I am not fond of them?

If you guessed “self-care” and “mindset,” you guessed right! Though, I almost always clarify how I mean them.

And I also use “should” a lot. I use it as a qualifier, for sure. I mean, I really don’t know if that coffee maker will work. It also flicks off my tongue when I get excited about something that you *should* do. It is ingrained in there, but I am working to remove it.

What are your thoughts about the words on this list?

Which words don’t you like, either on this list or not?

4 thoughts on “Five Words that Cause Me to Cringe”

  1. I hate “within”. “In” is almost always sufficient, those extra four letters just let people use a slightly longer more complex word and feel like they’re therefore sophisticated and impressive. No, it’s clunky and unnecessary, stop it. (Technical writer here, I see “within” alllllll the time at work and just love using the delete key when I encounter it).

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