Have to vs. want to

One of Roni’s recent posts got me thinking. In it, she talked about how she was in a funk until she consciously changed her focus — and how that shift turned a bad day into a good one.

I started thinking about all the ways I make life more difficult for myself — and that brought about another discourse on “have to” vs. “want to.” (Last time, I specifically applied the principle to exercise. This time, it’s a more general lifestyle thing.)

So many of the things I tell myself I “have to” do aren’t necessities at all, but “want tos.”

Blogging, for example. Do I have to do it? No. But I want to. I like blogging, and it helps keep me on track with my eating/ exercise. So why do I feel pressure to adhere to a certain schedule and include it on my mental list of “have-to”?

Noveling. I don’t have to spend a couple of hours before work each day writing/editing in hopes of producing a saleable novel — but I want to. You could even argue I’m compelled to, which would put writing back into the “have-to” camp.

On the other end of the “have-to/want-to” spectrum is exercise. I don’t necessarily want to work out, but I know I have to, for myriad reasons. Do I have to run? Not necessarily … But I find myself wanting to feel like so many of my favorite bloggers, who all wax poetic about the joys of knocking out a quick 3 miles.

Ahem. Enough complaining. Exercise is good for me, period.

Back to my point: I’ve been manufacturing unnecessary stress for myself with my list of “have-tos,” when I really need to consider them “want-tos” instead.

Sounds like another simple word choice, like swapping “don’t” for “can’t.” If it’ll help me alter my attitude, I’m all for it.


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