Obstacles to starting something new outside of work. 1. The have to principle.

Photo credit: sciencesque on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA



Business gurus and HR professionals study what motivates people to accomplish work. They want to learn what it takes to motivate people so that the company can achieve its goals and meet the customer’s needs. What does motivate us at work? The pay, benefits, the work, or the people? Are we given learning opportunities that motivate us to excel, or perhaps able to travel? Maybe our position holds prestige and we like that feeling so it motivates us to stay and maintain what we have. Maybe we just have to.

The Have to Principle

Perhaps our biggest obstacle to starting anything outside of work, the responsibilities of home, and family is the “have to principle”. We have to show up to work and earn a paycheck. We have to pay our bills, feed our children, mow the yard, repair our home, feed the dog, and love our spouse if we want to stay married. This “have to” principle makes us keep doing these things even when we don’t want to. We get so caught up in doing these things we often neglect what we want to do for the sake of what we have to do. For many a midlife crisis shakes them out of the have to mindset. They start to look at how there life is full of have to’s and not enough want to’s.

The have to principle does accomplish something for us. It keeps us going to work when we don’t want to. It makes us meet deadlines and accomplish tasks. It doesn’t guarantee optimum productivity, but it does ensure some sort of result. If I didn’t have to show up to many of the jobs that I have had I wouldn’t have. The have to principle is beneficial in getting us to show up when we don’t want to.

Why we need it.

For financial or personal reasons many of us have desires to start side projects, hustles, hobbies, or new habits. We may have some very real needs that need met outside of work and to fulfill them we need to start something on the side. There are life goals we want to achieve, or life changes that need made, yet we struggle to get things off the ground and consistently work on them. If we can implement the have to principle we will see results.

The have to principle has to become engrained in our daily lives for it to take effect. There are people with looming student loan debt they can’t afford and in essence they have to find extra income, but if they are already working they may find it hard to really embrace this new have to. There are people who thirst for challenges and long to work on something they are passionate about. Their soul/inner being needs to start something new, but seeing this as a have to is difficult because it’s not required to pay the bills, get food on the table, and pay the mortgage.

We need to ingrain what is important to us as something we have to do. It’s the key to consistency. You first need to see this as something important and convince yourself it’s what you need to do at this stage of your life. For some the thing you need to do may be your life purpose. In that case it’s vital you do it. Start by admitting what it is you need to do. I need to write, play baseball, sing, draw, paint, run, jump, play the flute, start that business, read that book, take cooking lessons, embroider, you name it. It doesn’t matter. It’s not up for discussion. Identify it, say it, and accept it.

The minute you get serious about what you want to do outside of work is the minute everyone else will to. I sheepishly started writing one day in response to a major life crisis on all fronts. I needed relief and wanted that relief to be healthy. One morning after contemplating my existence in this world I decided to open my computer and write. I have made myself write and blog ever since. At first I was afraid to admit what I wanted to do. I kind of hid it, but the more I did it the more engrained it became in who I am. I have no idea what it means, or what the result will be, but it’s something I have to do. The moment that I started taking it seriously was the moment that everyone else did to. I have said it, accepted it, and now have to do it. Marcy writes.

Planning, calendars, tools & such.

Calendars, to-do lists, planners, planning app’s, reminders, phone calendars, Outlook tasks, and you name it can be tools that help promote the you have to get this done mindset. If we are starting something new we need to write it down on our calendar. This signifies importance. We are busy and until we weed out some of the don’t really need to things we have to plan how we are going to get what we want to do done. Once you have trained yourself to get this new thing done you won’t need to rely so heavily on your lists and planners. They will serve as a brainstorming guide, reminder, and help you plan what you want to do long term. These tools can help us develop that have to principle and consistency in working on goals outside of work.

What you have been missing

One of the things we believe about entrepreneurs, and when we were living at home with our parents, was that there is freedom outside of the 9-5 and our parent’s home. There is freedom in being able to do what you want when you want. There is freedom in being your own boss and living on our own, but as we all know we all end up working for someone whether that be a boss or stakeholders and have to follow someone’s rules. I can stay up all hours of the night if I want, but my body has different ideas. Yet there is an essential freedom that we have in creating something all our own. A freedom that we don’t not get under our employer. When I open up my writing app I am under no cultural rules, political office drama, or 9-5 deadlines. I have creative freedom, but my creative freedom needs discipline and consistency to become something substantial. It needs the have to principle to develop and so I create as I see fit, but I plan and use tools to help me consistently work on what I am creating. I am trying to meld the two worlds together in a way that will produce results.

No one is making you do this thing you want to do after work. No one may ever make you, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. You need to make you. You need to implement that have to principle because it’s work that is important to being who you are and accomplishing your goals. Identify it, say it, and accept it and then get busy doing it.

Marcy Pedersen


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