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Three words to banish new year panic

4 Jan 2016 | Mind monkeys

That first day back. It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘have to’s.

The hundreds of emails you have to wade through in your inbox. The couple of bits that got missed at the end of last year that you have to get off your desk. The brand spanking new plan you have to come up with to make 2016 amazing. The meetings, projects, tasks and commitments already starting to pile up that you have to deal with.

It’s easy to get caught up in that panic, like somehow the rest of the world has got their act together and you’re trailing behind.

Days like these I’m reminded of something I wrote three years ago, to start now, rather than play catch up with someone else’s race.

And to focus on what I get to do, rather than all the things I have to do.

As I wrote in How to be Really Productive, ‘have to’ signals obligation and powerlessness, whereas ’get to’ signals opportunity and choice.

Choose opportunity over obligation. Say “I get to” instead of “I have to”.

Today I get to have my brain back to myself, as the kids are back at school.

Today I get to pick up the conversations that have been put on hold while I’ve been enjoying jigsaws, Narnia films and far too much food.

Today I get to start the year with a big review, to give myself permission to check in with me first, to choose how I want to show up in the rest of 2016.

What do you ‘get to’ do today?



  1. Sherry Bevan

    Great post. I loved this “I get to” concept in your book and it’s one I’ve started to use. Tomorrow “I get to” spend the last session with a very special group of women and review their workbook submissions.

  2. Michelle Riley

    Happy New Year Grace!

    Today I got to rise early and I went for a long walk with my 10yo and we saw the most stunning sunrise, instead of ‘I have to exercise’.
    Today I got to eat the most delectable fruit salad with a specially bought creamy yoghurt, instead of ‘I have to eat healthier’.
    Today I get to have the satisfaction of a job well done when I prepare a client’s blog post and schedule the social media, instead of ‘I have to get through this work so I have time to get to the market later’

    This way of thinking certainly makes a difference, especially with the truly mundane jobs, like housework.

    Wishing you and yours health and happiness in 2016!

Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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