These 3 little words, “I have to”, are very powerful (in a not so good way). They are actually incredibly heavy and weigh us way down. But we say them all day long and we don’t even realize that we are doing it….”I have to this”….”I have to that”….on and on….
You may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t say that….” But you probably do…actually I am pretty sure that you do…we all do….if you could record yourself and play it back, you would most certainly say “Oh whoa! I do say that!”….and if you listen to others…you will hear “I have to” a lot.
Each time you say “I have to”, what happens? It’s like an invisible weight is placed on top of your head…and it feels yucky to “have to” do something…to “have to” do many things…especially all.day.long…and it becomes so very stressful!
I know this feeling well…and it goes like this—here is an example from my own life.
Imagine this scenario:
It is the evening…I just had dinner with my husband and as we are cleaning up the dishes and clearing the table, he says “Hey…what do you have going on tomorrow?”….and I say, “Let’s see”…. as my mind starts churning and I pull out my phone and load up my google calendar….”I have to get up and I have to do my self-care, meditate, my somatic yoga, thought work, and then I have to head to the gym to my work out class.”
“Then I have to come home, shower and prep to coach my private morning physician clients then I have to guest on a podcast before lunch.”
“After lunch I have to prepare for an upcoming lecture at a medical conference and with the time left over I have to record a few of my new podcast episodes.”
“Then I have to cook us dinner and we can eat before I have to coach my weekly physicians’ group.”
No joke….this is how the conversations used to go….and with each “I have to” it felt heavier and heavier so that before bed I felt like I weighed a ton … so heavy in my body…and my mind was swirling about with “I have to’s”.
Now, what if we changed those 3 little words to something else….“I get to”…we change “I have to” to “I get to”…making your tasks actually a choice….recognizing that everything you do is actually a choice…you get to choose…you have the power….you decide it all….notice how different it feels to say “I get to” instead of “I have to”….nobody is making you do anything…when you realize just how powerful you are, it feels extremely different in a wonderful way.
So let’s replay the situation I previously described with my husband and my after dinner conversation, but this time, changing “I have to’s to “I get to’s” and see how it sounds and feels this time around.
Imagine this scenario instead:
I just had dinner with my husband and as we are cleaning up and clearing the table, he says “Hey…what do you have going on tomorrow?”….and I say
“Let’s see” as my mind starts churning and I pull out my phone and load up my google calendar….”I get to get up, meditate, do my somatic yoga practice and thought work and then I get to head to the gym to work out.”
“Then I get to come home, shower, and prep to coach my private morning clients before I get to guest on a podcast before lunch.”
“In the afternoon I get to prepare for an upcoming lecture I am presenting and with the time left over I get to record a few of my own podcast episodes.”
“Then I get to cook us dinner and we can eat before I get to coach my weekly physicians’ group.”
Well? How does that sound and feel? Totally different right? I can’t tell you how many of my clients tell me what is going on in their lives with so many “I have to’s”. It is so common. We unconsciously use those words and they are so damaging to our thought processes, how we feel, how we show up, even our results.
So now it is your turn! I want you to listen to yourself speak… really listen and be mindful by paying attention on purpose to the words that your brain is choosing. Every time you catch yourself saying “I have to”, notice how you feel…that heaviness… that sense of not being in control….then change those words to “I get to”….say them out loud….and again check in and notice how you feel.
There will be a 180 degree shift…totally different…when you realize that you are in charge and you have the power to make decisions and choose all that you are doing simply by changing your language. See yourself as the writer of each chapter in your day, not as the actor in someone else’s play.