Why Saying You Want or NEED to Change is Not Enough

Why Saying You Want or NEED to Change is Not Enough

Needs, Wants, It's Important – Do You Know the Difference?
What makes you think you NEED to change?
What makes you think you WANT to change?
What make you think It's IMPORTANT to change?

If you really WANT to change your life, you can't just WANT to change.

You have to decide to change.


WANT and NEED are two words used interchangeably.

Want and need can be really different, but at times, pretty similar.
When it comes to changing a habit or your life in some meaningful way, your health, wellness, fitness, nutrition, mental health… your language does matter, more importantly, the context and tone.

How I see it when working with clients.. TONE significantly impacts the meaning, the energy behind the words, and the importance of the person making the statement.

  • Wanting involves: Taking action, making a choice, a stance, focus, determination, choosing it, and committing to it no matter the outcome; it implies commitment, effort, ACTION, and forward momentum.
  • Needing involves: I should, pressure or demands(family, society, doctor or internal), I must, a desire without commitment, someday I will address this, but it's not important right now.
  • "This is important to me": Says you will do it because you value it deeply; it's a part of your identity, is who you are, and there's no question you're doing it.

What one sounds most confident, more sure, has more incredible determination, an action that will happen, umpf behind it…
What one has a feeling of, someday or pressure behind it?

I want to lose weight, I need to lose weight, it's important to me to lose weight.
I want to go to the gym, I need to go to the gym, it's important to me to go to the gym.
I want to get healthy, I need to get healthy, it's important to me to get healthy.
I want to get knee surgery, I need to get knee surgery, it's important to me to get knee surgery.
I want to change my habits, I need to change my habits, it's important to me to change my habits.

One feels crucial; one does not feel nearly as important, right? (what tone are you using as you read these?)

One feels like there's a lot of pressure, burden, and expectations of others or self, and one feels like loosey-goosey, I'll do it someday..

One feels like it's happening no matter what.

I want to eat. I need to eat, it's important to me to eat.
I want to drink more water each day. I need to drink more water each day, it's important to me to drink more water each day.
I want to take care of my mental health. I need to take care of my mental health, it's important to me to take care of my mental health.
I want to go to the dentist. I need to go to the dentist, it's important to me to go to the dentist.
I want to feel better. I need to feel better, it's important to me to feel better.
I want to stay hydrated. I need to stay hydrated, it's important to me to stay hydrated.
I want to work on my strength. I need to work on my strength, it's important to me to work on my strength.
I want stronger bones, I need stronger bones, it's important to me to have stronger bones.

One has pressure, one has a desire one is confident.
The context matters.
The words can be used interchangeably, but the context matters.

I want to land the plane.
I need to land the plane.
It's important to land the plane.
Which one seems more confident?
What one do you want to hear from your pilot?

Which one seems most confident?

I want love. I need love. It's important to feel loved.
I want to be loved. I need to be loved. It's important to be loved
I want to be liked. I need to be liked. It's important to be liked.

One sounds needy, one sounds natural, one sounds vital.

Context, tone, and energy matter.

When we use need in the context of oxygen, food, water, clothing, and shelter. Wants are often things that we would like to have, such as toys and games. Sometimes needs and wants overlap. For example, a person needs food to survive, but he doesn't need cookies or cake.

I listen to the words I use when I am craving something, and often when I am not legit hungry, I just get bored. I use "I want cake," but if I am experiencing hunger pains, "I need to eat". So in this context, want is something I don't necessarily need; I can live without. But when stating the need, it's because I need food to resolve a physical need. Tone plays a role in this scenario for sure. I never say it's important to me to have cake by the way.

So is it the words or how and when they are used? Is it the Webster's dictionary definition?

If you have been saying you "need" to do something for a while now, and nothing's changed, consider the words you're using and the meaning you create in your mind about these words. Pay attention to the use of the three versions. See what ones you're taking decisive action using and the ones you're saying but not following through as you state or think. For instance, thinking, "I need to put laundry in the dryer" and not taking action for hours may be a sign that phrase isn't convincing enough to your brain.

You see your word have power to them they have energy, and your brain is designed to move you towards what it thinks will feel good and away from anything that won't feel good.

Wanting isn't about an attachment to a specific outcome; it's about choosing to do something regardless of how it turns out.

Do your words have power and meaning?

Does the energy and personal meaning matter?
What about the tone and context?
What words have greater pressure when said?
What words have greater urgency when said?
What words have a good feeling when said?

Turn up your awareness and curiosity about how you use these words in your own life, and what actions follow.

Work with Katherine

Ready to become the best version of yourself? Partner with me as your life coach!

8 thoughts on “Why Saying You Want or NEED to Change is Not Enough”

  1. Travis Gustafson

    Katherine is one of the best coaches to help anyone get healthy and reach their goals! I highly recommend her!

  2. Katherine’s superpower is her consistency. Not only is she consistent in her own life/efforts, but she consistently works her coaching business. One of the reasons to hire a coach is accountability- having someone by your side, consistently, to keep you on track. If you long for changes in your life, hire Katherine. Consistency over time will make change easier.

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