I Have To!

July 6, 2015 at 11:52 am 6 comments

When coordinating plans with others I’ve been known to say things like “I have to run 15 miles tomorrow”, “I have to get to bed early tonight”, or “I have to finish this project this weekend”. When I do, I’m often challenged by a friend who likes to say “You don’t HAVE to……you CHOOSE to!” and technically speaking, he’s right. But I keep saying it anyway… You see, I learned a long time ago that you can either decide how to respond to challenges or opportunities over and over again, depending on present circumstances, or you can make the decision just once, allowing that decision to become your personal standard – your “have to“!

If you take the flexible approach (“we’ll see how things are going” or “it depends”) there are too many variables and too many opportunities to derail you from doing the thing you once committed to doing. It takes discipline to make the hard but right choice, especially when the decision is to ALWAYS make the same choice. But when you do and the issue comes up again, there’s no hesitation or debate. You’re resolute – You “have to”!

Once you’ve decided, then your “have to‘s” take over, relieving you of the recurring decision cycle. And here’s the interesting thing – it’s not restrictive…it’s freeing! Once you’ve decided once and for all, when the alarm clock rings, you’re up – no debate. When someone offers you something you’ve sworn off, you decline – no debate. When being dishonest is tempting or seemingly profitable, you tell the truth – no debate! And when you do, you enjoy a feeling of freedom and empowerment.

Our choices determine our habits and our habits form our character. And as author and lecturer Hyrum Smith put it, “Character is the ability to carry out a worthy decision once the emotion of making that decision has passed.” It’s character-forming habits that help us overcome adversity, accomplish goals, and ultimately approach our individual potential.

When our choices reflect our deeply held values and they are made with sincere resolution, from that point on we simply “have to“. And as we do, we grow in character.
Lead on…

Cliff

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Entry filed under: attitude, character, determination, goal setting, goals, greatness, Happiness, improvement, integrity, leadership, management, Perserverance, principles, priorities, proactivity, resolutions, responsibility, running.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SNL on the Run  |  July 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I agree, I have too because I made a commitment to myself, and I won’t let myself down

    Reply
    • 2. cwoodbury  |  July 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Just deciding puts you better than half way there…and WELL ahead of the pack! Stick to it and you WILL reach your goals! I’ve long agreed with my wife who says that being fit is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. But just yesterday I remarked I think it’s really 10% exercise, 20% nutrition, and 70% mental! So with that new math you’re 70%+ of the way there! GO Sasha!

      Reply
  • 3. runrosie  |  July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Completely agree! Taken to writing plans in my diary as ‘have to’s’ lately and pride in committing and seeing thing through is really liberating. Good post!

    Reply
    • 4. cwoodbury  |  July 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Funny thing…one of my favorite ultras, and one I run every year here in Arizona is the “Pembroke Trail 50K”! Keep running and smiling!

      Reply
    • 5. cwoodbury  |  July 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Also…don’t know whether this will be helpful at all, but here’s a post on another of my blogs on a 50 mile race I did last year. Maybe some useful nuggets…

      https://aztrailsandultras.wordpress.com/

      Reply
    • 6. cwoodbury  |  July 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Also…don’t know whether this will be helpful at all, but here’s a post on another of my blogs on a 50 mile race I did last year. Maybe some useful nuggets…

      https://aztrailsandultras.wordpress.com/

      Reply

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