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One Simple Phrase: I Have to. vs I Get to.

The past few weeks have been hectic over here in Live Happier world–as I am sure they are hectic in your world too.  And yes, I confess, my addiction to busyness has kicked in.  My first warning sign, I know for me is that life tends to become a series of to-dos and victories come when I successfully check everything off the list.

But over the weekend after relaxing with my nearest and dearest and taking in a fabulous festive dinner and a local play I realized, I had got stuck in busyness again.  I said to myself, THIS is life, not when you get to a certain point but THIS right now THIS moment THIS. I was so caught up in ‘doing the list’ I was missing my life. (which is a true live happier moment, the lesson comes not in the mastery but in the recognition of the need to make a change)

I decided to focus more on life tasks as a ‘get to’ rather then a ‘have to’.

So for example:

Ugh, I have to get up out of my warm bed and start the day.
I get to get out of bed and start my day, I feel healthy, I enjoy my mornings and I get to have one more day on this planet.
Yuck, I have to workout.
I get to move my body and I feel so much better when I do.
Yet again, I have to make lunch for my nearest and dearest and I.
I get to make lunch for us.  How lucky am I to share a meal with my man every day.

I have to take the kids to school.
I get to pick the kids up and hear about their day.

Now I admit it some tasks take a little more effort to switch from a have to I get to. Tasks such as ‘I have to go to the grocery story’ but even as I did my weekly trek through the aisles this week I thought to myself “I get to take my time, I get to buy the food I enjoy, I get to cook fun meals”. Did it make that dreaded task amazing–no but it did make a “must do” task more enjoyable and that is 99% of the battle.

The trick is catch yourself when you are saying to your self “ugh, I have to____” and simply fill it in with “i get to ____”

This change is magical for 3 real reasons

1. It gives you more control. Rather than being at the whim of your life and schedule you are actively participating in your life.   When you say you “get to” then it is a reminder that you are CHOOSING these activities. You GET to do them.

2. For those of us who tend to lean toward the negative, it pulls you out of your natural tendency to go negative (which especially for me kicks in as I get more tired and stressed). Sometimes I will catch myself saying “Ugh I have to” to something I really enjoy! (FYI, that is when I know I am trouble).

3. It immediately changes your posture, energy and mood. You begin to see your life differently. You see your life as full of blessings rather than all these burdens.

So this week, try it.  As you notice the  “I have to’s” creeping up silently switch it to “I get to”and the simply name 1-3 reasons why you are so lucky that you get to do the activity.  It will change your life.

Here’s to Living Happier.

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