By Sarah Smulligan

During our last CE, I experienced a paradigm shift that I want to share with everyone.  For the last six weeks, our team’s focus has been Communication.  A significant part was a review of One on One’s Core Beliefs. One of those beliefs (and perhaps the most difficult to realize) is that we all have choices.  What struck me is how often I allow myself to forget this and instead fall into a victim mentality with my use of the phrase “have to.”

The phrase “have to” has so thoroughly permeated our language, most of us aren’t even aware of how often we use it.  “I have to go out for dinner when I visit my parents.”  “I have to workout.”  “I have to do a million things when I get home.”  We’ve all fallen into these traps, but the truth is that we don’t “have” to do anything!  I am not forced to do anything. I choose to go out to dinner with my parents because I don’t see them often and want to do something special.  I don’t have to do anything when I get home at the end of the day, but I choose to because I know a little work that evening will make my day go smoother the next day, ultimately making me happier.

By replacing the phrase “have to” with “choose to” we reinforce that we all have choices. That is so empowering!  Think of the upward spiral of positivity that comes with knowing that you and only you are in control of your life.

So how do we decide which choices to make?  The answer always ties back to “Healthy & Happy” as we, individually, define it. Using this simplifies the decision making process. I might not always feel like working out or eating right, but doing so always lines up with my personal “healthy and happy”.

Life is full of choices.  We are never victims of circumstance.  From now on, I will be more conscious of my use of the phrase “have to.” I will not always make the most healthy choice when it comes to my diet, but I will not lose sight of the fact that it was, indeed, a choice. As long as that choice lines up with what makes me happy, it is OK.