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Hack: Change "Have to" to "Get to"

Updated: May 5, 2022

How you describe what you "Have to do" or "Get to do" radiates to others and it impacts your thoughts.


Want to feel better about your long seemingly never-ending list of things to complete? Do you have that thing you just can seem to ever move off the list? Sometimes the starting itself if the hardest part. So instead, start by reframing how you talk about it.


One of my favorite reframing techniques involves changing the way you are talking to yourself and others about the thing/chore/challenge; switch over from "I have to," to "I get to." Play these examples out in your mind:

  • I have to join another staff meeting. Unspoken message: This is not a good use of my time. I rather be somewhere else.

  • I get to join another staff meeting. Unspoken message: I like the people I work with. I like the work I do. This is an opportunity to move things forward.

  • I have to workout. Unspoken message: Working out is something I must do but I won't enjoy it.

  • I get to work out. Unspoken message: I'm healthy, or healthy enough, to do some amount of exercise. I will get some benefit from this and I'm happy about that.

Even more of a reframe that on the surface may seem unbelievable:

  • I have to submit this expense report. Unspoken message: This is a tedious burden, check the box activity.

  • I get to submit this expense report. Unspoken message: I've got a job and that's a good thing. I may get some money in my bank account. I'll feel good when this is complete. Maybe I even had some fun.

Feeling better about the task won't guarantee an easier route to completion. But feeling better about it will give you more energy and lift some of the emotional burden. How much will it lift, you decide.


If that is not enough for you, consider this... when you speak out loud the "have to's" the unspoken messages radiate to others. People pick up the unspoken messages, positive and negative, sometimes even adding their own. Offer something more positive to those in your orbit and shift towards using "get to."


Go get it. - Audrey



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