Change Your Life by Simply Changing One Word!

a chef who doesn't like cooking!

This is a guest post from Tess Marshall

Do you like to cook or do you just hate the thought of being in the kitchen?

If not cooking, what is it that you really don’t like doing?

So often in our lives, we do things without really putting our heart into it.

We then just go through the motions and this shows in the mediocre results we get.

At one time, I didn’t like to cook, at all!

I was never inspired to cook. I used to do so because I have to.

In the past I haven’t planned my cooking well. I wait until the last minute and prepare meals without much thought or love.

Then one day everything changed!

I learned to drop the words “I have to…” and simply substituted “I get to…”

Maybe you love to cook, but you may have other necessary tasks which you feel you have to do, and which make you feel like a victim.

When are you flooded with thoughts like “poor me” and “life is unfair” or “I have too”?

Notice the shift in perception with the sentences below:-

“I have to go to the store today and pick up something for dinner.”

In between the words, can you hear that I dread the task and I’m tired?

Now check out this sentence:-

“I get to go to the store today and pick up something special for hubs for dinner.”

Notice the excitement and gratitude for the abundance of food and a dinner partner.

By changing a single word, I created a shift in perception and attitude!

“I have to” creates feelings of indifference and obligation – cooking is a chore.

“I get to” creates a feeling of gratitude and privilege – cooking is a joy!

Practice catching yourself saying, “I have to” or “I should.” Then substitute the phrase “I get to.”

You will feel a shift that creates a new emotional state.

You can develop this further by seeing each of the individual steps with appreciation and gratitude.  So using my example above of cooking, I came up with these statements:-

I get to go to the store and pick up some wonderful fruits and vegetables today for dinner.
I get to enjoy the colours and the taste of the purple cabbage and red juicy tomatoes.
I get to take in the aroma of fresh cilantro and basil.
I get to return my cart after I unload my groceries in a state of gratitude.
I get to set a beautiful and simple table.
I get to sit across from hubs and gaze with loving eyes as we eat together.
How fortunate I am to afford the food and have a life partner!

My attitude change keeps me in the present moment.

Shopping, cooking and eating become delightful privileges. I am blessed. Time stands still.

Using “I get to” is changing my life in all areas

For instance, I have decided that I’m going to increase fresh food in my diet and possibly go vegan.

This is too big for me to do all at once. So instead of acting impulsively, I am taking baby steps forward.

To start with, on Mondays I don’t eat dairy or animal products.

Each month, I will add another day of healthy eating. By April 2011, vegan or not, I will have a healthy diet.

Taking seven months to change my diet may sound like a long time but when you consider I could live until ninety it isn’t!

Substituting “I have to” with “I get to” will also transform your life.

Begin with a task or a change that overwhelms you. For example, it could be going green, exercising, or losing weight.

Then simply keep the following statements uppermost in your mind.

I get to recycle.
I get to contribute to healing the earth.
I get to exercise.
I get to try hiking, rollerblading, yoga, spinning and running.
I get to shop, cook and eat less.
I get to ask for support.

Instead of being filled with dread, these shifts in energy will help you feel excited to be alive!

If you are a writer, then try these:-

I get to excel in my niche.
I get to create new products.
I get to learn SEO
I get to respond to comments.
I get to make new friends.

The list is clearly endless. Here are my statements when I am travelling and about to board a flight:-

I get to travel today.
I get to stand in line for security.
I get to allow someone cut in front of me.
I get a chance to smile at the security officers.
I get to mentally bless those around me.
I get to choose to arrive 2 hours early so all will go smoothly.
I get to bring extra luggage.
I get to bring healthy snacks for the long flight.
I get to make friends with the stranger sitting next to me.
I get to pick up my luggage when I arrive.
I get to see the world.
I get to fly!

The way forward for you – get going!

So there you are. Take your joy, delight and gratitude to the next level – substitute “I have to” with “I get to.”

Using one little word changes your mood, your relationships and your life. We are truly blessed.

What will you get to do today?

Please do share below – only if you want to of course:-)

Read more inspiring articles from Tess Marshall at The Bold Life.

Tess has a master’s degree in counselling psychology and has guided people from all walks of life in their quest for greater meaning, purpose and happiness.

Visit Tess’s blog today for more information on her book, “Flying by The Seat of My Soul,” her speaking engagements and to subscribe to her RSS feed.

Image courtesy of Aline Salazar


  1. Thank you Tessa for a great guest post.

    As someone once said to me, never should on yourself!

    Now I choose what I do simply by saying I get to do something. How simle and yet so powerful.

    Thanks again:-)

    • Arvind,
      Thanks so much for having me as your guest. I get so excited when I find simple things that are so powerful. My ego tends to complicate things in order to keep me in my head instead of my heart. Thanks for all your insights on how to present this post. Again I appreciate you and look forward to getting to know you better.

  2. Of course, I love this, Tess. I hadn’t thought of this before, but what a great idea! I’m happy you’re adding more produce to your diet, too. You’ll feel GOOD!
    C’mon over, I’m cooking tonight and I think you’ll like it.
    –> Today I get to leave a comment for someone I adore.
    –> Today I get to visit a great blog.
    –> Today I get to feel the moisture in the air after a refreshing rain.
    Thanks to you both.

  3. I get to tell what a great guy you are. The world loves you. Okay . . . I love you too. Now I get to smile for the rest of the day. Thank you.

    • Simon,
      LOL I love your avatar. It looks just like you. I’m joining you in love, smiles and laughter. Wow isn’t that cool, “I get to smile today.” Simple powerful thoughts we otherwise don’t pay attention too.

  4. Debbie Hampton says

    I get to drive around and look for somewhere new to live. I get to imagine the possibilities and imagine a new life, new energy, new habits, a new perspective.

    I get to do laundry to have clean clothes to wear…and, believe me, after Bikram yoga, you want to wash them and wear them clean.

    Does give it a whole new feeling, I like. Will remember that one!

    • Debbie,
      My daughter used to do Bikram yoga. We are also in the process of moving. I’ve been telling myself this is so hard because someone out bid us last week on a home and we’re currently waiting to see if we get a home we bid on two days ago. I think I’ll take my own advice today. LOL Thanks for bringing up the topic of moving. It’s only as stressful as I allow it and I was caught up in it as I sat in my kitchen sipping coffee among the boxes. I think I’m going to take a magic marker and draw smiley faces on the boxes!

  5. Andrea DeBell - britetalk says

    Hi Tess! What a great perspective. I can totally see the difference between these two approaches.
    I’m going to use your advice right this minute, “I get to cook dinner now for my favorite people in the world, my family.” I have to admit that this made my daily cooking chore so much more enjoyable.

    Off to the kitchen.:) Loving blessings!

    • Oh Andrea, I hear you on the cooking! I’ve decided I’m going to teach my grandchildren this little technique as they are in their teens and fussier than ever when it comes to what they want to eat and do in life;) Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.

  6. Wonderful post! We can constantly doing this with our kids at home. It works!

  7. Hi Arvind,
    Thank you for opening your space to Tess..I absolutely adore her:)

    Hi Tess,
    You reflected exactly the Answer I am glad to hear today!
    I let other’s opinions of ‘oh man, you have to do blah blah blah” discolor my original joy with all that is in my life..I let their “you have to’s” change my ‘it is my pleasure to”…This is the life I create, every single moment, moments that bring such pleasure to my heart..It is my pleasure to love on my children in the millions of ways they ask me is my pleasure to love on those around is my pleasure to write and cook and clean and drive and smile and laugh and listen… heart fills with gratitude at all that is in my life..thank you for reminding me of my pleasure..

    • Joy,
      I love that response…my pleasure. I use it instead of your welcome, because it seems so much more powerful. Little sayings combined with penguin steps will change the world one response at a time. Peace out bean sprout!

  8. Really and truly a beautiful idea, Tess….I have to say I didn’t guess the right word! I think it was clever, original and POWERFUL. And I will use it proudly – thank you thank you!!!

    • Farnoosh,
      Now you have me wondering what word you chose! Thanks for tweeting this post and spreading your wisdom and beautiful photography with the world. You’ve made a difference in my life. I often think my goal of blogging is to really monetize it someday. My plan is to do so but It has become secondary to the friends I’ve made and the wisdom I’ve received.

  9. Hello! Found you! That is a real eye opener & I’m going to use it for my exercise routine that isn’t!

    • jfb57,

      Oh how I struggle with strength training and never thought of using it for that. Not I GET too! I’m laughing as I teach what I need to learn. I’m grateful for your idea;)

  10. How simple, easy, and fantastic. Absolutely love the simplicity and power of this. Thanks.

  11. Hi Arvind and Tess .. what a wonderful post .. I get to ..

    Really important words of advice and change of attitude .. love it – thanks Hilary

    • Hillary,
      Yes that’s what it is a change of attitude. And that’s where miracles lie for me…not in walking on water but changing my thoughts and attitude and therefore adding peace and love to the world. I think it’s the same thing;)

  12. Tess,
    This is an excellent way to re-frame something that feels unfair. I love it! I get to clean the house now so I can have another showing. Hooray!

  13. Christopher Frawley says

    Tess / Arvind,

    a great post. from obligation to opportunity. it couldn’t have been said more simply. bravo !! and thanks.

  14. I got to enjoy several evenings of dinner at yours and each time it was so much fun! I still remember the drumming, and the NLP Yoga sessions!

    Your food rocks!


  15. Arvind, Thank you for this beautiful post from Tess!
    Tess, another amazing post with so much wisdom. I have been studying mindfulness and using it with my clients and this fits in well. So many of us are so lucky to have these wonderful opportunities that we sometimes resent…but it really is how we look at it!

    Love to you!!

    • Brenda,

      You’re awesome for coming over to read another article of mine;) Yes we are so blessed to be able to even do chores and we often don’t appreciate it. Like getting groceries, the variety of food, the amount of food, food to feed friends dinner. And then so many of us get to the parking lot and don’t even want to return our grocery cart. That’s twisted. LOL

      I’ve always returned my cart to the proper place but Wayne Dyer took it a step further for me when he said as you take you cart back be grateful and appreciate the food you have available. Works wonders and I’ve shared it with my adult children and they now have this attitude as well. Isn’t life grand?

  16. Tess,

    I like that “I have to” to “I get to” choices, I like cooking but there are many other things we can use this choice with. I was just other day feeling so tired when my 1.5 year old was not sleeping, I told myself, I am lucky that I get to hold him now to put him to sleep, once he grows up, he may or may not want me hugging him long…cherish the days and it became lot easier to handle.


    • Preeti,
      What a great way to use it. Yes those little ones will wear you out. Enjoy the sweet moments. I’ve always felt the cutest and sweetest years are between ages 2 and 4. The best is yet to come.

  17. Hi Tess,

    Great article and so true how changing just one word can put an entirely new spin on how we perceive and experience something. I had a splitting migraine today, so I got to find ways to appreciate the enforced rest and be grateful for the fact that I have the luxury of curling up on the bed in a nice, dark, quiet room to sleep it off. Tomorrow I get to do the things I’d wanted to do today.

    I’ll have to remember some of the get to’s for travelling. Packing to go away is my bug-a-boo– I have too many things in the closet to choose from. I’m sure I can come up with a great list of “get to’s” around that activity.

    Good for you for choosing to change your views about cooking. Hopefully you now have lots fun culinary adventures.


  18. Satya Colombo says

    Love this Tess — especially how you give so many great examples from real life!
    I get to do crazy things that make me really uncomfortable sometimes, but make me grateful to be alive! — good approach to life. 🙂

  19. Tess!! You are more awesome than ever!!!

    Today I get to fill out some auto title paperwork, so some soul will get their plates and registration sticker and be happy on the road.

    I get to make pancakes for my daughter on this leisurely morning of no school today.

    I get to pour liquid soap into hot water and revel in cleaning dishes.

    But first I get to go back to bed as I’m up too early.

    Vegan, eh? Good luck with that.


  20. Jannie,

    Yes we even get to do the mundane!. Vegan, I’m struggling with two days a week. Yikes, habits are hard to break. It’s ice cream and cream in my coffee that are difficult to do with out. Weird…I know;)
    Want to come over for donuts and wine tonight? LOL

  21. Yes I love to cook, and I know I cook with love, it brings me joy,,, Well I would never have thought of using I get…. it can also replace I should, would, could too in an effective way.
    So today I get to enjoy the sound of rain
    I get to see a movie that I know will get me laughing crying etc -Eat Love Pray
    I get to feel the love and inspiration that comes from your writing
    I get to be with what is
    I get to love Des even more
    I get to make a plan with love
    I get that you could be making lists all day- and I get that doing this gets to make me smile
    with love

  22. Tess,

    I get to know wonderful people like you and get to get greater motivation and inspiration to get myself moving toward greater meaning, purpose and happiness in life.


    Have a blessed weekend!

  23. HI Tess,
    This is so so simple..yet so so powerful! Wow! You are a genius Oh Bold One 🙂
    I love this whole concept…and am going to start using “i get” today itself. how about right now….
    I get to love everything Tess and Arvind write 🙂
    So much love to you both….You both light up the world with your beautiful spirit.

  24. How ironic … at first glance, I thought it was change your life by simply changing one *world.*

  25. Susie @newdaynewlesson says

    Great post Tess. I linked up to it in this post I just wrote:

  26. Saying something in a different way can really change your mood towards doing everything you need to do. In this way, you can encourage yourself that what you are doing will give you that pleasure or self-fulfillment after working on it. If you consider cooking as a household chore before, you’ll eventually consider it as an interest once you put your heart on it. As a result, you’ll be able to make a very delicious food for all your loved ones. It’s a proven thing in cooking.

  27. Hello.

    It is a site healed wonderfully.

    It was very happy to read, and to see.

    This time, please come to play on my site.

    Thank you.

    • Dear Etuko,

      Welcome to my blog and thanks for your kind words.

      I did visit your site but sadly my Japanese is not at all as good as your English!

      I wish you all the best.


  28. Still such a great article from back when I read it. You guys, I am linking to this on my new post about Travel and you’ll see why :)! Attitude, baby!!


  1. […] so until I realized the illusion of being in control of your life. You may control your temper, your attitude, or your eating habits but you do not control circumstances and situations at large or the poor […]