have-to vs get-to

This is part of my Spring Cleaning series that runs on Wednesdays through the end of Spring. In this series, we’ll explore the things that clutter our lives (especially, mental and emotional clutter) and how to let it go.


Sometimes life feels like a kick in the head.

Have you ever felt stuck or bogged down by all the stuff you have to do?

Of course, you have. Because you are human. We all do at one time or another. Even Life Ninjas are not immune to the stagnating power of the have-to.

I’m not talking about things like breathing, eating, or sleeping. Or even taking a shower or feeding your children. Those are non-negotiables.

I am talking about the things that we let become burdensome.

Maybe you have a hobby you used to love, but because life got busy or maybe you started getting good and that felt like pressure, you’ve let it collect dust and you’re harboring guilt over it. Can’t you just feel the should and have to weighing you down?

Maybe you dream of a killer bikini body and the thought of wearing those perfect jeans actually make you tingle with glee. Then you start focusing losing weight and eventually you focus only on calories and portions and numbers on the scale. Soon it feels like a chore to exercise. And eating a salad feels like deprivation. I have to exercise today, I have to diet, I have to weigh myself, I have to keep a food journal… 

Or maybe your hearts desire is to write the next great American novel. And you commit to writing a chapter per week for the next few months. So you start writing, but work gets busy or home life gets chaotic, and at first you’re disappointed you don’t have more time to write, but eventually writing becomes a burden because it drags you away from the urgent needs of the day. I have to write because I made the commitment. I have to write because I haven’t finished my chapter this week. I have to…

Yeah, well. I call bullshit.

Everything is a choice. And you have the power to make whichever choice suits your fancy.

There are no right or wrong answers. Only your answers.

Give your have-to’s a makeover

    1. Take a deep breath (because that’s always a good place to start).
    2. Look at your “have to” du jour. And ask yourself: “What’s important to me about this?
    3. If you answered “nothing” to #2, great! Either delegate it to someone who cares, or just let go.
    4. If on the other hand, you realized some deep and interesting stuff about why you really do want to be doing this thing, great! Write it down, make a vision board, or something… just be sure to capture the important bits so you can look at it again later.
    5. And now that you know WHY you’re doing this thing, what excites you about it? What’s fun about it?… The answers to these questions are your “Get-to’s” as in “I get to do this!

Can I get a Hell Yeah!?

Bottom line: If it’s a burden or a “have-to”, give it to someone who does care about it, let it go, or turn it into a “get-to”. Because whatever you do, you get to choose it and you get to do it!

What are you excited that you get to do?

Photo Credit: Spencer Finnley via Flickr.