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  • You Don't Have To

    Posted on by Heather

    I jumped in the elevator this morning, on my way to the gym, and on the way down another lady joined me. I asked her if she was venturing out (it was raining quite heavily) and she angrily replied that yes she “had” to go out because she “had” to get a new bath mat.

    Now, first of all, I’m not saying she didn’t need a new bath mat, but, a bath mat is not something you HAVE to go out and get. (I’ve been using a towel as a bath mat for the last 7 years.) The second you say you “have” to do something, or you “should” do something you might as well undress, get back into bed and start the day all over again. Life, in my opinion, isn’t about “have” to it’s about “want” to.

    I know some people would tell me I’m splitting hairs, but, I’m really not. Telling yourself you want to do something versus telling yourself you have to do something is going to result in very different experiences. If you want to do something there is a part of you that is excited, anticipatory, looking forward to the experience. When you feel like you “have” to do something it feels monotonous, frustrating, time consuming and a down right drag.

    Funny that I was going to the gym when I started this conversation with myself because that is another place that I hear “have” to quite a bit. Here’s the deal: you don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to do. But you can want to do things that need to get done – does that make sense?

    Regardless of what it is that you are doing, have the attitude that you WANT to do it and it will get done more quickly, more efficiently and you will enjoy the experience much more than if you tell yourself you HAVE to.

    If no part of you wants to do whatever it is, my advise: don’t do it. Nothing “has” to be done that badly that you have to drag yourself through the experience.

    Over the next couple of days listen to yourself and keep your ear open for “have” to or “should”. When you hear those words, ask yourself: “Does any part of me want to do this?” Often the answer is yes, there is a part of you that wants to do it. It’s usually that you’re just in a bad habit of using “have” or “should”. In these cases, it’s simple, just replace “have” or “should” with “want” or “choose”. If, however, no part of you wants to – refer to the default and don’t do it!!  (note: you “should” only “have” to do something if it’s a life or death situation; in that case, it’s usually a “want” or “choose” anyway)

    0 Responses to You Don't Have To

    1. what a strange occurrence that i just got back from my first workout class in years, gruelling as it was, trying to talk myself into not thinking in terms of ‘have to’ (go again) but ‘want to’ and this subject was exactly what greeted me when i came home and sat at my computer. It’s really reinforcing my belief that a change in words completely changes the meaning and therefore the effort and motivation one can exert and feel. Thank you!

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