Do you have to, or do you want to?

This week, I led my very first Happiness Challenge, with a group of 50 participants.

The assignment was simple: Think of something small that you know tends to make you happy, and commit to doing it every day, Monday-Friday.

In some ways, it's an easy exercise: Take a walk outside? Listen to music? Notice what I'm grateful for? No problem! I love doing those things.

But it was interesting for me to notice how quickly my desires could start feeling like burdens once a commitment was involved -- as if they were not things I wanted to do, but things I had to do. As if I had no choice in the matter.

I kept catching myself in "have to" mode, and reminding myself of what I actually wanted: not to prove anything, or please anyone, but simply to experience joy!

I also realized how often I do this in the rest of my life, seeing myself as a victim of my obligations and "to do" lists rather than the creator of them.

Is it something you can identify with, too? If so, I invite you to join me in playing with shifting those have to's into want to's.

Do you have to go to work, or do you want to go to work? Do you have to get groceries, or do you want to get groceries? Do you have to study for that test, or do you want to study for that test? You get the idea.

Sometimes just shifting the language around is enough to create happiness.