Why Saying You Want or NEED to Change is Not Enough

Needs and Wants – Do You Know the Difference?
What makes you think you NEED to change?
What makes you think you WANT 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.

Tell me which one sounds more confident, more sure, has more incredible determination, an action that will happen, umpf behind it…
What ones have a feeling of, someday or pressure behind them…

I want to lose weight I need to lose weight.
I want to go to the gym I need to go to the gym.
I want to get healthy I need to get healthy.
I want to get knee surgery I need to get knee surgery.
I want to change my habits I need 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..

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

One has pressure, and the other has desire.
The context matters.
The two words can be used interchangeably, but the context it's important.

I want to land the plane. I need to land the plane.
Which one seems more confident?

I want love. I need love.
I want to be loved. I need to be loved.
I want to be liked. I need to be liked.

One sounds needy, one sounds natural?

Why 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.

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.

The meaning of words matters more than the words themselves, right?
Is there a desire or pressure to move forward to do this thing?
Is one saying, one day I will get around to it or is there a sense of urgency?
Turn up your awareness and curiosity about how you use these words, and leave a comment below with what you find out.

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

Is it more than the words, is it needing support, accountability, and someone to come alongside you? I know when I started my health journey, I hired a coach and a personal trainer. Coaches are wonderful if you consistently have sessions to continue your growth. The journey can be lonely and difficult unless you have the right support. Coaching helped me stay on course, and navigate each challenge, and realign my thoughts to generate powerful action.

Do your words have power and meaning?

Of course, they do!
The energy behind them, what they mean to you in the context, and how important the issue is for you.

What stage of change are you in, in wanting to change?

Perhaps the NEED to change for you is in the very early stages of thinking, not wanting to start necessarily, but it's on the back burner. Perhaps you have yet to think about all the benefits, and how they will impact your overall life, quality of life, and longevity. But, unfortunately, we live where humans are looking for instant gratification, or what I like to call the microwave era, wanting a quick fix to their health issues but it didn't take a month to get where you are, it certainly won't take a month to reverse it. I don't care what marketing ads lead you to believe. That's a gimmick, a story.

WANT-ing to might be a stage you are ready for change.

So, start paying attention to language when you use the words wants and needs. How do you use them in different situations? For example, how do you use WANT or NEED regarding your health, well-being, and fitness?

Ideally, you want to act without attachment to any outside factors and operate from a place of your purpose, which gives you life meaning and improves your well-being and health. Living life from the inside out.

Without your health, what do you have?

For the video, version go HERE.

Work with Katherine

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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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