It’s the beginning of a new year, and I’ve established many, uh, aspirations, I’ll call them. Not resolutions, because then I’d have to admit I’ve already broken most of them. Not goals, because I’d have to make them “S.M.A.R.T” — so all the productivity experts say, anyway — with plans and steps and deadlines for achieving them. Not happening. So I’ll just call them aspirations.
As long as you don’t turn them into resolutions or goals, aspirations don’t place a lot of demands on a person. But mine do seem to be making me more attune to things that would bring me closer to becoming the person I aspire to be. Case in point, this week I read an excerpt from James Clear’s Atomic Habits that got me thinking about how I think about my life.
According to Clear, we could all be happier if we changed just one word in the self-talk running through our minds all day. Clear says that instead of going through our days telling ourselves we “have” to do this or we “have” do that, we should say we “get” to do this or that. It doesn’t sound like a big deal; you may have even heard this before. But it got my attention because I do, in fact, often bemoan — in my mind, at least — all the things I think I have to do.
Such a little thing — changing that one word — but it works because there’s an element of gratitude implicit in approaching the daily tasks of life as things we “get” to do rather than things we “have” to do. It’s the gratitude — not the “get to” — that really makes the difference in our happiness. It would make an even greater difference if we added, “God gave me” — as in, I get to do these things because God gave me the strength or the ability or the opportunity — and recognized that we owe our gratitude to Him.