A "Get to" vs a "Have to" Mentality

Blaine LaFleur
A Get to vs a Have to Mentality

Mindset and cognitive habits don’t just play a role in the process of becoming healthier, they determine the long-term success or short-term failure, overall. We can label the mindsets as we wish, but labeling them may not provide the same amount of return as incrementally changing them on a daily basis.

But how do we know where to start? How do we know where our current mental ruts are leading us? What direction do we ultimately want to go in order to make our outcomes tomorrow better than those of today?

On the surface, a good measure of your current thinking can be seen in your daily actions and speech. It is quite uncommon for someone to behave and speak negatively when they are consistently and habitually thinking positively. You wouldn’t label your friends or family that continually offered their services to you or consistently greeted you with a smile and warm manner, as depressed or stricken with grief, would you? If it were just a façade, eventually you, and everyone around them would unveil it. But, when it comes to our health, it is much harder to hide, isn’t it?

For example, the friend that is constantly posting pictures on Instagram of her fancy, salubrious meals, but has continued to gain weight around her midsection would raise some red flags in your mind, wouldn’t it? You’d probably wonder, “what meals is she forgetting to capture?”

the pics of the late night snacking must have failed to upload

...the pics of the late night snacking must have failed to upload....

Or the friend who consistently “checks in” on Facebook at the gym, yet hasn’t improved one bit physically, you may start to wonder, “that gym must have one helluva snack bar!”

Yet, no amount of talking about, hoping for, or social media posting will solidify the habits that you so desperately want to ingrain. You can only do that with the right mindset.


It is interesting to deconstruct the mental models of the “healthy” and “unhealthy.” Most healthy individuals don’t need accountability to go to the gym. They would tell you that they “get to” go to the gym today.

The healthy don’t require the same level of external discipline as the unhealthy. They have paid the consequential price in their performance in the past by heading down the wrong path, nutritionally. They “get to” eat more veggies and a better quality of meat by choosing “x” restaurant over “y” restaurant, as opposed to “having to” eat whatever choices restaurant “x” provides that day.

 The healthy also take ownership of the task of reflecting on the degree and context of the assistance that they need to improve, and then reach out to those that they think can help them avoid the unnecessary pot-holes and roadblocks along the way. They “get to” ask better questions and receive better outcomes.  The unhealthy, well… not so much. They tend to have a mentality that their health is out of their control and wish someone would just give them the answers that they so desperately need. They “have to” track certain metrics or pay more attention to items that they don’t want to spend time measuring.

Although the difference in the mental models of the healthy and unhealthy is rather significant, one factor that plays a role in their choices is their outlook on their health endeavors. The healthy “get to” or have the opportunity and the freedom to make better choices and inevitably become better tomorrow than they were today. The unhealthy “have to” or are forced to, by some fictional victimizing power, participate in actions and eating that they would otherwise neglect.

When becoming and maintaining health is “fashionable” or “cool”, you will struggle to avoid the gravitational pull of your crystallized “poor me” mental model. When becoming and maintaining health is necessary for you to achieve your great and worthy purpose in this world, or to avoid the clutches of the numerous possibilities of self-inflicted chronic illness, you “get to” find out what you are capable of.

If the above text strikes a chord with you, then perhaps you feel that you “get to” click below and join a movement that is greater than the sum of its members. If the perspective above somehow offends you or you disagree, we’d like to know how we can improve our thinking and our performance. But, then again, it’s your choice. You don’t “have to.”

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