How to develop a sense of autonomy and new enthusiasm for tasks!

In our everyday lives, the words we choose to describe our actions and responsibilities significantly impact our mindset and attitude. A simple yet profound shift from saying "I have to" to "I get to" can transform our perception of daily tasks and responsibilities. This blog post explores the benefits of this subtle but powerful change in language.


"I have to"

The phrase "I have to" carries a sense of burden and obligation. It implies that the task at hand is not something we choose, but something imposed upon us. This framing can lead to feelings of resentment, stress, and a lack of motivation. For instance, saying "I have to go to work" suggests that work is a compulsory chore, not a chosen activity.

"I get to"

On the flip side, "I get to" is a phrase that expresses privilege and opportunity. It suggests that the task or activity is something to be grateful for, a chance to learn, grow, or contribute. Saying "I get to go to work" reframes the activity as an opportunity to earn, engage in meaningful tasks, and interact with others.

What are the psychological benefits?

1. Increased positivity: "I get to" infuses a sense of optimism. It's about seeing the glass half full, focusing on what we gain rather than what we must endure.

2. Greater sense of autonomy: This phrase promotes a feeling of choice and control over our lives. It helps in recognising our agency in performing tasks and making decisions.

3. Enhanced motivation: When we view tasks as opportunities, we're more motivated to engage in them enthusiastically.

4. Fostering gratitude: "I get to" naturally leads to a more grateful attitude. It allows us to appreciate the things we often take for granted.

Real-world application

  • Personal life: Instead of "I have to cook dinner," try "I get to prepare a meal for my family."
  • Workplace: Change "I have to finish this report" to "I get to contribute my ideas through this report."
  • Health and fitness: Shift from "I have to go to the gym" to "I get to improve my health and fitness."

Of course, there are some situations where we feel like we have to and these can be challenging but even in these there may be a bit of a silver lining - "I have to go to work" can equally be converted into "I get to figure out what it is that I really want to do as a career". And yes, there are still further situations where it might be incredibly difficult to apply this logic but that doesn't mean it is impossible and where it is really hard, this helps you uncover your values or help you get clear on what you need to prioritise changing in your life. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't believe in being in denial about our situation. I don't believe in toxic positivity at all. I believe we need to be honest with ourselves about what we're feeling. At the same time, there is always something we can do to shift our perspective a little and to help us see all the gifts and opportunities around us. 

The transition from "I have to" to "I get to" is not about denying the challenges or disregarding the effort involved in our tasks. It's about acknowledging these challenges while choosing to focus on the positive aspects. This shift in language and perspective can lead to a more fulfilling, motivated, and grateful way of living. Next time you find yourself dreading a task, try this simple linguistic twist and observe the difference it makes in your attitude and approach.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
London SW1V & NW1
Written by Rebecca Cockayne, BA. (Oxon), MSc, GDL | Delphi Coaching
London SW1V & NW1

Bex is a coach who loves journeys. She's done a lot and has been on many internal and external ones. She loves to help people long their path too.

Show comments

Find a coach dealing with Motivation

All coaches are verified professionals

All coaches are verified professionals