Reading this headline, what came up for you? Did you think you were in trouble? Perhaps you reflected on a childhood memory? While that is one interpretation that many can relate to, the context in which I ask this question is to cause you to take a celebratory look back at what you have accomplished.Executives are quick to point out all the things they “have to do.” However, many find it difficult to acknowledge all the great things they have already done.

Focusing only on what is left to do can evoke disappointment, frustration and at times defeat. Instead, if you start with acknowledging an accomplishment and then build on that momentum, you are drawing from a positive experience. Having a positive set point will carry over into the next thing you do.

Also, consider your language when referring to your “have dos,” aka “haftas.” When we think or speak of our “have tos” we imply conflict and negativity. I’ve been addressing that simple distinction for years, which seems to be supported by a recent article by Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider, February 6, 2016, “A Stanford professor says eliminating 2 phrases from your vocabulary can make you more successful.”

The article cites research on the use of certain words, including “have to” suggesting it be replaced with the words “want to.”

Instead of the more typical pressure filled approach to things you want to accomplish, try acknowledging something you’ve already achieved and then build on it with your “want tos.”

For example, I acknowledge that I’ve successfully completed the chapter outline for the book I’m writing and I want to write a complete chapter within 30 days.

How about you? What did you do? What do you want to do next?