Last week my life flashed before my eyes. After 1500 straight days of running, I almost had to stop because of an injury. I hurt my hip lifting weights, and I found myself struggling just to roll out of bed. For 3 long days, I slowly laced up my running shoes and headed out the door for the slowest of runs. Somewhere in the middle of my 11-minute miles, I realized that my outlook for the last 4+ years has been entirely wrong.
Most days, as I head out the door at 5 a.m. or 5 p.m., my wife hears me say, “I’ll be back in a bit – I have to go run.” It took an injury for me to realize that I don’t have to run, rather I get to run. I’ve been very fortunate to avoid injury over the last few years, with only minor aches and pains, and I’ve been guilty of a lack of gratitude for the opportunity to run each day.
Whether it’s exercise or life, the moment we replace “I have to” with “I get to“, we unlock gratitude and start to see challenges as opportunities.
There are many things that we dread doing. As I look at my office window, I know I need to mow the lawn, and it’s not something that excites me. But the moment I realize that I get to mow the lawn, I’m able to be thankful for the house where we live and the yard where my kids can play.
It’s exhausting to consider the demands of things we have to do. However, the moment I say, “I get to ______”, my outlook and attitude changes.
- I get to make another sales call
- I get to put together another report for my manager
- I get to clean the house
- I get to clean up after the kids (we may just leave this one in the “have to” category)
When we start to see things we have to do as things we get to do, our gratitude allows us to approach them with enthusiasm and excellence.
Thankfully, it only took a few days for my hip to recover. But my hope is that I remember what it was like to be injured so I appreciate every opportunity I get to run in the future.
By changing our words, we change our outlook, and only then can we change our lives.