HAVE to vs. CHOOSE to
Good morning everyone! I borrowed this from a friend and I thought it was very thought provoking! Have a great day!
The Wt. Loss Minute By Linda Spangle, RN, MA
Great idea: CHOOSE all of your actions today!
As she sat down in my office, Patty said, ‘It was another
bad week on my diet. I didn’t really stick with it at all.
The problem is that I‘m so overwhelmed that I can’t even
see straight. By the way, I can’t stay long today because I
HAVE to run to pick up my daughter from a friend’s birthday party.’
‘What’s making you so overwhelmed?’ I asked. She
groaned and responded, ‘There just so many things I HAVE to
do right now. After I pick up my daughter, I HAVE to finish
the work project my boss assigned yesterday.
I also HAVE to get dinner started, help the kids with
homework, and start making their lunches for tomorrow. Oh
yes, I also HAVE to go to choir practice at church tonight.
So, can you see why I’m not making any progress on losing weight.’
‘You certainly are busy!’ I replied. ‘Tell me
something. Why are you even working on dieting right now?
Maybe you should take a break from it.’
‘Oh, but you don’t understand!’ she exclaimed. ‘I
just HAVE to lose this weight. I guess that means I HAVE to
get my exercise in yet today as well. But the thought of
having to do one more thing just makes me want to eat a bag
Like Patty, do you feel overwhelmed with the number of things
you HAVE to do? We tend to use the words ‘have to’ for
almost everything. But think about how you respond mentally
when you say ‘I have to lose weight’ or ‘I have to exercise.’
Most of us don’t like being told we ‘have to’ do
anything. In fact, that little phrase often makes you rebel
and do the opposite. ‘I have to lose weight, but I don’t
feel like it, so I’m going to eat a candy bar.’
No more HAVE to
The real truth is you don’t actually HAVE to do anything.
This includes going to work, cleaning the house, or even
feeding the dog. You CHOOSE to do these things because you
want the outcomes or prefer the results that you get from
For example, you choose to go to work because you like
getting a paycheck. You choose to pick up your daughter
because you love her and want to take care of her. And you
choose to lose weight because you want improved health and
Starting today, instead of saying, ‘I have to,’ when
discussing your actions or goals, substitute the words ‘I
choose to.’ Now the phrase ‘I have to lose weight,’
becomes ‘I choose to lose weight.’ You make this choice
because you want the outcome of feeling better physically or
fitting into the clothes hanging in your closet.
Instead of saying ‘I have to take a walk today,’ switch
to ‘I choose to walk today. I want to build my fitness
level and improve my energy.’ Saying ‘I choose to’
takes away the parental language that makes you feel
oppressed or rebellious. It also puts you in charge of your
own behavior, giving you more incentive to follow through
with your plan.
Choose your actions
To help you see the difference in this wording change, read
each of these phrases twice. The first time, use the words
‘I have to…,’ The second time, replace them with ‘I choose to.’
I have to (vs. I choose to)
…go to work
…stay on my diet plan
…stop yelling at my kids
…clean my house
Practice this until you feel comfortable with it. For one
entire day, refer to everything you do as a choice. Say ‘I
choose to get up early for my meeting’ or ‘I choose to
sit here at my desk and type this report.’ Notice the sense
of empowerment you get from choosing to do activities
compared to thinking you have to do them?
You can’t force yourself to lose weight or to stay on a
diet by saying ‘I have to.’ So start eliminating the
harsh, parental self-talk that makes you feel oppressed or
rebellious. Any time you feel like you HAVE to do something,
say ‘I choose to’ then take steps that move you toward
the outcomes you want.