Usually, I’ve chosen to…
Let me explain.
It’s a Choice
My daughter often asks me if she can leave her dog home with me during the work day. Unless I have plans outside the house, I agree. This decision necessitates that I take time out of my day to walk and play with him.
One day I was walking my daughter’s dog and talking to my sister on the phone. I told her, “I couldn’t go to the health club today because my daughter left the dog home. I had to walk him, which meant I didn’t have time to go work out.”
She responded: “You had to?”
Immediately I realized that I sounded as if I had no choice in the matter. But I did.
In fact, I’d made a choice.
I could have told my daughter that I couldn’t take care of her dog because I wanted to go to the health club. Or I could have told her he could stay home with me, but I wouldn’t take him for a walk.
Instead, I chose to walk him rather than go to the health club just as I chose to allow her to leave the dog with me.
“No,” I said to my sister. “I chose to walk the dog.”
Listen to Yourself
To know if you fall into this trap—this distorted way of seeing your responsibilities, listen to what you say aloud or silently in your head. Do you often say, “I have to…”?
Even if you only repeat this phrase occasionally, become conscious of the habit.
And each time you say “I have to,” ask yourself, “Do I have to or do I choose to do this?
You’ll be surprised to discover that in most cases you made a choice.
Now, in my case, on that day as I walked my grand-doggie, I wished that I had said no to my daughter. I had planned to go work out, and I like to work out three to five days per week. Walking is exercise, but it isn’t the same as using weights or doing more strenuous cardio work.
But I hadn’t said no. I had agreed. I chose to do what she asked me to do…even thought it was not my preference.
So if you find yourself feeling obligated or put out —like you have no choice about—by the things you do, consider how to choose more wisely next time.
The next time someone asks you to do something, don’t agree immediately. Instead, take a moment, an hour, a day…even a week…to think about it.
Give yourself time to consider if this is something you want to do. Do you prefer to do it over something else? And will you resent the time spent on the task?
The best response to a request—and one I will be using more and more often—is: “Let me think about it.” Then go off and weigh the pros and cons of that request.
Before you say “yes,” be certain you won’t end up feeling like you have to again.
As you get in the habit of thinking about the ramifications of that choice before you agree to do something, you increase the likelihood of feeling as if you want to complete the task. And that will give you a new mindset about the activities you choose to make part of your day or life.
Do you do things because you have to when you didn’t choose well?
Do you want the clarity and courage to make better choices in your life? Get a copy of my FREE ebook, 20 High-Performance Strategies and Habits You Can Implement TODAY! Just fill out the form below. (The ebook will arrive attached to an email.)
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Photo courtesy of schroederhund / Pixabay.com