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  • Writer's pictureTamera Chapman

Have To vs Want to


There are certain things in life that we might consider to be obligations or necessities, such as paying bills, fulfilling work responsibilities, or taking care of our physical and emotional well-being. However, even these things can be approached with a sense of choice and agency, rather than feeling like they are things we "have to" do.


When you approach a task or situation with a "have to" mentality, it can feel like a burden or an obligation. This can lead to feelings of stress, resentment, and frustration. On the other hand, when you approach the same task or situation with a "want to" mindset, it can become a source of motivation and inspiration. You may feel more enthusiastic and engaged, and this can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.


Adopting a "want to" mindset can also increase your overall sense of control and autonomy. When you view tasks as things that you "have to" do, you may feel like you are being forced to do something against your will. But when you approach tasks as things that you "want to" do, you are making a deliberate choice to do them, and this can increase your sense of agency and empowerment.


5 examples of "have to" and "want to" thoughts that apply to everyday life:

  1. Have to: "I have to go to work every day." Want to: "I want to go to work because it allows me to use my skills and contribute to my community."

  2. Have to: "I have to clean the house before guests arrive." Want to: "I want to clean the house so that I can create a welcoming and comfortable environment for my guests."

  3. Have to: "I have to exercise every day." Want to: "I want to exercise because it makes me feel good and helps me maintain my physical and emotional health."

  4. Have to: "I have to eat healthy food." Want to: "I want to eat healthy food because it gives me the energy and nutrients I need to feel my best."

  5. Have to: "I have to save money for the future." Want to: "I want to save money so that I can be financially secure and pursue the things I love."

Changing your mindset from "have to" to "want to" can help you cultivate a more positive and joyful outlook on life, and can increase your emotional freedom by reducing feelings of stress and obligation.

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