Have you ever heard the expression “don’t should on yourself?’
It’s a tongue-in-cheek way of making the point that we often spend too much of our thought process on what we “should” do, or all of the things that we “shouldn’t” do.
The thing is, putting things into this mind frame is restrictive, and inevitably leads to feelings of failure or guilt. Whether it relates to your diet or any other part of your life should is a demotivating word, and not the way to get you where you want to go.
Should-ing generally comes in two forms. It is either doing things simply because that is what you think others expect of you, or it is focusing on past “mistakes” or failures (I should have…).
Sometimes a little shift of the mind can be the very best thing to help you to actually achieve your goals, or just to be less hard on yourself.
How can you break the pattern of should? Here are a few ideas…
Try to replace your “I shoulds” with “I want” or “I will.” This immediately changes your frame of mind and puts the power back into the moment. “I will make a healthy dinner tonight” is much more powerful statement that “I should eat more healthy.”
Stop and evaluate your list of shoulds. Are these things that you want to do, or feel pressured by others to do? If some of your shoulds are truly things that would make you happy, change them on a list to “I will,” and then let the rest go.
Don’t let the expectations of others (or what you think they expect) rule your life. Obviously we all have obligations that are important, but we are ultimately you are the only one who can decide what’s best for you.
Let go of the past. It is all too easy to keep going over and over the things we should have done (or should have done differently). But here’s the thing…none of us can change the past. The best thing that you can do is to let go of those old should haves and start looking forward.
Avoid should-ing on others. If you are going to work on not making yourself feel guilty about your choices, try extending the favor to others by not burdening them with what you think they “should” be doing.
Finally, realize that your words have power. All of them. Start to really listen to yourself. How much could you gain if you stop criticizing yourself?