Have you ever told yourself that you “should” do something?
“I should work out”
“I should change how I eat”
“I should” do this.
“I should” do that.
As if there’s no other option.
As if there’s no question.
Yet you’re not doing whatever it is that you “should”.
And you’re probably beating yourself up for it.
Why can’t you just do it?
What’s stopping you from doing what you “should”?
What if framing certain things as what we “should” be doing is the problem?
The idea that we “should” be doing something can carry a lot of weight.
It can bring shame, guilt, and feelings of inadequacy.
Especially when we’re not doing it.
“I should…” often implies clarity, definition, and, at times, morality.
Most often, though, we have only what we think will move us toward our best life.
What we think most aligns with our countless values, needs, preferences, and goals.
Take some pressure off of yourself.
Our next steps are rarely clear.
Life is rarely definite.
Missteps rarely carry any moral gravity.
“Should” most often means only that we see a particular course of action align with an outcome we desire.
Nothing more, nothing less.
The next time you feel you “should”, consider something more nuanced, more accurate.
“I would like to…”
“I might benefit from…”
Or even simply “I’m going to…”
Then let your actions, whatever they may be, follow.
There will be times when you do what you “should”.
There will be times when you don’t.
In either event, it’s never guaranteed that you’ll see the outcomes you desire.
Do what you can.
You might find that the word “should” suits you just fine.
That’s totally cool.
There’s a reason it’s got a place in our lexicon.
It’s up to us, up to you, whether it’s used productively.
If you find breaking the “should” habit challenging that’s totally cool.
Keep at it.
A life free from “should” is worth it.
You’re worth it.
You’ve got this.