Changing 'I Have To' To 'I Get To' Is The Mindset Shift That Can Improve Your Life

They say our thoughts have the ability to create our experience of reality, and with mindfulness and meditation practices on the rise, many will confirm this to be true. Even small shifts in our perspective can alter the trajectory of our day. So, when the demands of daily responsibilities and obligations are weighing heavy, there's a simple change that can make a significant impact.


We typically do a mental inventory of our to-do list in the morning, and chances are most of the duties begin with 'I have to.' But shifting this phrase to 'I get to' can work wonders for our outlook. Maybe you do have to grocery shop, pay the mortgage, and take the kids to karate, but reminding yourself that you get to do these things — and also imagining your life without them — is a fast track to positivity. Here's how to make this quick change and reap the benefits.

Start with small shifts

To begin this mindfulness practice, take note of the more minor duties in your life that feel like annoying inconveniences. This could be doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, filling your tank with gas – any of the smaller chores you typically dread doing. When it comes time to tackle these duties, pause for a moment and imagine your life without a dishwasher or a car. This is a shift into gratitude. What you're doing is reframing your obligations as gifts or opportunities. Not only will you feel a little lighter, but this practice will soon become a habit, leading to a big mood boost and other mental health benefits, like high self-esteem.


You will also inspire those around you to take on a more grateful mindset because, as they say, attitudes are contagious. If your partner and kids hear you using positive phrases around your duties, they are more likely to slip into the practice, too, creating a much nicer environment for all.

Staying in the flow of gratitude

If you're practicing the 'I get to' mindset and feeling the mental benefits but are still physically exhausted from your duties (which is understandable because life can undeniably be a lot sometimes), then be gentle with yourself. You might face circumstances that would still be challenging even with the most positive of mindsets, and acknowledging that is perfectly acceptable. Using the 'I get to' perspective for the other joys and gifts in your life should bring balance and fun to most tricky situations.


Whether it's getting in shape, juggling work, or parenting, this simple mind trick should usher you into a more fulfilled state of being around whichever area of your life feels like too much of a chore — as will other mindfulness practices, like affirmations to change your life. And remember, if you're struggling to reframe your duties as gifts, quickly imagine the absence of that element in your life. What if you couldn't care for your kids or weren't well enough to exercise? All it takes is a quick moment to step into alignment with gratitude.