Have to, need to, want to — ADD Tip o the day 225

Have to, need to, want to – can you tell the difference?  That can be difficult if we have ADD or ADHD, but its important.

Have to- in reality, there is very little that we “have to” do.  If the robber says to hand over your wallet or he will shoot you, you have a choice.  You don’t have to hand it over, although that is probably the wisest choice.  You don’t have to pay your taxes, lots of people don’t, although I think it is wiser and more honest and responsible to pay them. Actually the only things we really have to do is to breathe and to die.  Everything else is a choice.

“Have to” is a bad choice of language in our self talk because for most of us it automatically and immediately brings up resistance.  It turns a task into an externally imposed unpleasant chore, just as soon as we think “have to”.  I recommend turning it into “need to”, “it is in my best interest to”, or even “I want to”.
Have to” does not make it easier to get started on something, it makes it harder.  “Important” does not turn on our focus center.

I recommend you give some thought to this; it might be good for you, but- you don’t have to .


more on this topic next timeadd, adhd, self help, coping, strategies, living with ADD, living with ADD

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at amazon.com, or smashwords.com (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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4 Responses to Have to, need to, want to — ADD Tip o the day 225

  1. Pingback: In ADHD, Attitude Makes the Difference – But Then, There is Word Power — ADHD Tip O the Day 807 | ADDadultstrategies

  2. Linda Secretan says:

    My daughter shared a similar strategy with me: Replace all “should’s” with “could’s.” Thus – “I should be doing my taxes today” becomes, “I could be doing my taxes today.”

    It’s just little shift, but what a difference it makes in the resistance factor.


  3. this is from lucy who is very brite but technologically challenged, and e mailed me a good comment:
    re: rethinking “have to”
    what often works best for me is:”You will feel so much better when
    you get this done!” Sometimes, I have to cut back to”You will feel so
    much better once you get started”. On the less difficult challenges, I
    have used “You will get (specific) reward for doing this”; however, I usually can’t
    think of any reward that is worth the effort!!


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