The Surprising Life Lesson I Learned From The Target Checkout Lady

This blog post has been on my mind for over a week now! I’m excited to finally get the chance to share it with you.

Last week I was doing what most everyone else was, running errands to prepare for the holidays. And, like many of us, I found myself standing in line at Target.



While just standing around, I started staring at the Monster Trail Mix packets (love this stuff) in the checkout aisle to pass time. Archer-Farms-Trail-Mix-Target-coupon-store-sale-matchup

Then I grew tired of that and started to people watch, though I guess you could say it was more like eavesdropping in on conversations around me. I’m queen of this, and will proudly confess that I love listening to others around me.

It was almost my turn, so I focused my attention on the checkout lady and the gentleman who was in front of me. She asked him how his day was going to which he replied…

“Well, I have to go to work today, so I’m not too excited about that.”

To be honest, I expected the young lady to continue scanning each item without much more conversation.

But she surprised me and responded back…

“I recently read something that said if you replaced all the ‘I have tos’ with ‘I get tos’ you’ll be more positive having to handle those day to day activities like work.”

The man just smiled, paid and walked away.

Did he not realize this little golden nugget that she had presented to him?


The Golden Nugget Of Happiness

I, of course reacted differently. When it was my turn, I thanked that young lady for putting things into perspective.

She was right!

How many times do you say things with a some-what melancholy tone that you “have to do”.

I have to workout. 

I have to go to work.

I have to cook dinner.

I have to clean my house. 

I have to… 

The list can go on and on. Let’s face it, no one likes HAVING to do anything. We feel that is a word that takes away our personal freedoms, it takes away fun, it takes away choice.

If the lady had asked me how my day was going, I would have likely responded back with, “I have to scrub my house and I have to make a dish to take to a friend’s home.”

Sounds like some sort of punishment, right?

But saying things you GET to do…

Now we’re talking about something completely different. Just that one word, changes everything. It brings fun back into the picture, it brings gratitude and ensures that we’re not taking anything for granted.

The Best Things You Get To Do

Let’s revisit our list…

–> You get to workout. We all have days where working out seems less appealing than cleaning the toilets. But again, think of how blessed you are to be able to move your body, strengthen it and better your life? There are those that wish they could just get out of bed… but you, you get to sweat, jump, run, and exercise that amazing body of yours!

— > You get to go to work. Do you know how many people are without a job? Just praying that they’ll be able to get their children a single gift for Christmas? Yes, it’s work… but that job is a blessing. You get to provide for yourself and for your family on a regular basis.

— > You get to cook dinner. I will admit, there are multiple times a week I wish I could snap my fingers and dinner will magically appear on the table. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen, so I make dinner, sometimes with a chip on my shoulder. Cooking dinner is a gift though, and in a world where obesity is increasing by the day, having the opportunity to prepare your own food and know with confidence what’s in each bite overs peace of mind. Not just for weight, but overall health. Sure, it might be sandwiches and soup, but it’s still a meal that I take pride in.

— > You get to clean your house. Okay, so this one isn’t one I want to address in detail. Cleaning sucks for most of us, but I am hoping that if I say it enough “I get to clean my house” my own personal relationship with the vacuum and mop will change.

It’s Not Punishment… It’s Life

What I think is important to remember is that life isn’t a punishment. Those things we have to do on a day to day basis, keeps us moving forward.

If you didn’t get to do any of them, what would you be doing instead? 



I know I would love to pack up, fly out to Fiji with Dan and just do nothing but sit on the beach with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc (that refills itself of course).

But after time, life would get boring and I would dream of having a to-do list. I would look for things to occupy my time, to bring satisfaction to my day.

Those things that we have to do… we don’t have to do them but if we want to feel whole, successful, and happy then we will.

The ‘I Get To’ Challenge

So my challenge (because that’s how I roll)…

Every time to find yourself wanting to say “I have to…” replace it with “I get to…” for an entire week.

See how you feel at the end!

–> What do you get to do today? <–

I get to train some amazing ladies throughout the day. I get to sit at my computer and talk with you. I get to eat lunch in the comfort of my own home with my husband. I get to record a podcast. I get to… well the list can go on and on but you get the idea!


  • This was a great post! Thank you for sharing! A few years back I was really sick with a neurological disorder and lost all feeling from my neck down. Little things I took for granted on a daily basis are now things I am so thankful I am able to do, like cooking, cleaning, and workouts. Have a great day!

    • Wow Tamara! I am sure that every day you feel thankful! What an event and an amazing recovery that you’ve had!

  • awesome post!! what a great reminder. We are really trying to be grateful, be in the moment. And looking at things this way helps so much!

    • Thanks friends! It’s amazing how we have control over so much!

  • i love this!!! great piece of advice, for sure!!

  • Yes! Especially this time of the year, but all of the time, it is important to give thanks. Just changing your words can greatly improve your mood and those around you.

    • You’re right, at this time of the year we all have so much power to influence the mood of those around us!

  • We “got” to run some crazy fast 800s and sprints at dark thirty again :). Even Clay is saying “dark thirty” now.

    I try to say that too… I get to. It makes things sound a lot better. We are fortunate to have the lives we do, sure there are some health setbacks sometimes but most people aren’t able to just run 6+ miles. Cleaning my house sucks, but I own a home… many people cannot afford to own a home, let alone a big one that requires a lot of cleaning, or people out there are homeless or living in very rough neighborhoods. With vacations and dream lives and island getaways, those things are special because we don’t get to do them every day- so I feel like if that ideal life was my normal, I would still have some other high expectation.

    • Yes, we got to run this morning and it was fabulous! We are so blessed!

  • This has change my perspective thanks for sharing I get to…. Get back to framing my world with my words!

    • Thanks, I love what you get to do 🙂

  • What a fantastic idea for a challenge! I love this saying and try to use it daily. Seeing working out and eating well as a privilege – which really it is – is definitely effective in shifting my attitude and helping me WANT to do these things.

    • exactly! It’s such a great thing when we actually want to do something that moves us forward!

  • Kim

    Love this – what a great check out lady!!!
    I get to clean our event venue today!!! I’m going to try the new phrasing.

  • This is great! I try to reflect and think about how lucky I am to have legs that can go run after work, have a job, and can go buy food at the store 🙂 Thanks for the reminder!

  • this is SO inspirational and amazing! i love it! thank you for sharing.

  • Wow- this is awesome!! Thank you for sharing. I’ve started a journal and the first thing I wrote in it was to be more positive about myself. Now, I need to apply it to every area.


    • Journaling is great! The more you do it, the more you’ll definitely see a switch in outlook. Good luck!

  • Stacy

    LOVE this post. Just. Love. It.

  • Absolutely. It’s amazing how changing one word can have such a dramatic impact. Love this story!

  • Thank you so much for this reminder. I’m in the middle of my apt search & while it’s crazy stressful and tiring, I got to move across the country. I get to stay for free for a month while looking for a place to live. I get to workout at the hotel’s fitness center which may be small, but perfect for what I need! I get to drive through San Francisco everyday and explore while looking for an apartment. It’s scary but I get to do it.

    • Wow, what a trip and experience! Good luck apt hunting!

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  • What great advice! Today I get to go to work, then get Christmas photos done, and then I get to attend a TED talk in my area!

    • That’s so cool! We watch TED talks on Netflix a lot! Have a great time.

  • Mark

    With the cleaning house one, look at how you have a house to clean.

    • So true!! Thanks Mark. Great perspective.

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