01/05/2015 10:20 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2015

You Don't Have to Read This Blog

Ahmad Saufi Zahri via Getty Images

Thank you for reading this blog post. I appreciate it. Especially because you didn't have to.

I was chopping scallions last night, muttering to myself and thinking, "I can't believe I have to cook dinner again!"

Ridiculous, I know, I am actually pretty lucky and grateful to have this "problem."

It's great to notice how automatic this kind of thinking is, "I have to..." comes out of our mouths all day long.

Is it true?

Well, for me I realized I didn't have to make dinner. I could set down the knife, open a box of frozen pizza, and sit on the couch with a book. But I wanted a healthy dinner so I did what any self respecting life coach would do. I coached myself.

REALLY? "I have to cook dinner again?" I asked. "Nope," I replied to myself, "I choose to make dinner because I want this healthy delicious pasta with farmer market vegetables I picked up this morning, and lots of fresh basil I just cut from my garden." I felt my shoulders relax.

I inhaled the sweet smell of heirloom tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and broccoli simmering in the pan. I grated the Parmigiana-reggiano and let a pinch of it melt in my mouth.

Then as if by magic, my simmering resentment melted into gratitude.

There are so few things we actually "have to" do it's shocking. Realizing we have many more choices than we think we do is absolute freedom.

The next time you hear yourself say "I have to..." try substituting it with "I choose to..." and feel the power of the truth set you free.

What's on your "Have To-Do" list? How do you feel about "Choosing To" instead? Try it and leave a comment below and let me know how it goes.

Mary Ann Johnstone is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach who loves helping women break their own rules and create a life they truly love. Learn more at: