ACT and SAT Test Tips: "I have to" vs. "I want to"

SAT Prep | ACT Prep

I may be long past my Positivity sign with road backgroundcollege admissions days, but I still have hurdles to leap and hoops to jump through (yep, sorry to break it to you, but life doesn’t get any easier after high school. Well, after college anyway. Those four years post-high school were pretty great). I was watching a motivational video today, in which a health guru talked about the difference between using “have” and “want” when thinking about long term goals. And because I "had" to write a blog post today, I thought about how his message translated to ACT and SAT success.

Most of us say or think “have” when we are contemplating the goals that can be difficult to attain:

I have  to eat better.

I have  to exercise.

I have  to write a blog post by Friday.

I have  to get an A in physics.

I have  to study for the ACT and SAT.

When we use the word “have,” we relegate these important goals to the tedious responsibilities we have each and every day. “I have  to babysit my sister.” “I have  to write that essay for Mrs. Crawford’s class.” “I have  to mow the lawn.” “I have  to get gas.” “I have  to send thank-you notes.” “I have  to go to the dentist.”

Using “have” with important goals, like health and success, sets ourselves up for failure. We don’t like to have to do something, and if given a choice, we will eventually stop doing it.

But what if we start using the word “want” when thinking about our more strenuous long-term goals?

I want  to eat better.

I want  to exercise.

I want  to write a blog post by Friday.

I want  to get an A in physics.

I want  to study for the ACT and SAT.

Suddenly we have taken ownership of those goals and we are making a choice to achieve them rather than being forced into attaining them. When we want something, we are more likely to put in the effort that it takes to earn it.

 Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker and author, said that “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” Being mindful of your thoughts and speech and choosing positive words when talking or thinking about the ACT and SAT will set you up for success on the tests.

What else do you WANT for your future?

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