About a week ago, I was sitting on the couch going over science questions with my mom and older sister. After we finished, my mom turned to my sister and asked her when she was supposed to take a certain test. My older sister responded by saying, “I want to take the test today.” Right after this exchange, my mom turned to me and asked when I was supposed to take my science test. “I have to take the test on Monday,” I replied.
For some reason, this conversation stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Although I couldn’t figure out why, my sister and my responses seemed different. After mulling it over in my head, I found that there is a difference between telling yourself you want to get something done and telling yourself you need or have to get something done.
For instance, if you tell yourself you want to lose 10 pounds in a month, it may not happen. Then when it doesn’t you say, “Oh well. I wanted it but you just can’t have everything you want.” But, if you tell yourself you need to lose 10 pounds that month, that you have to lose 10 pounds, then you have a much greater chance of doing it.
Things you want to happen, may or may not happen. Things that you need or that have to happen, will happen. It is all our mentality. I’m not saying you can never want to get something done, I’m saying you have to weigh all the things you have to do and prioritize them properly.
Consider the following example: You see the lazy high school dropout relaxing on the couch and he says, “Yeah, I want to go to college and be successful. I want to make enough money so I can take my girlfriend out for dinner. And I want a big house and little butlers running around doing my bidding. And I want…” Do you believe this guy will accomplish anything? Probably not. Why? Because instead of making sure everything is in order to have a successful life, he is off wanting and wanting, and accomplishing basically nothing.
Start off your to-do list by first accomplishing the things you need to get done. Then when you have completed all of them, you can move on to fulfilling the tasks you want to get done. This will eliminate all the useless and unimportant tasks or distractions in your day. Next time you need to get something done ask yourself: Does this task have to be done today or do I want this task to be finished today? You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your day and your to-do lists.