“Man, I really should get back into yoga.”
“I should go to the gym, but I’m too tired.”
“I shouldn’t be eating this, but oh well…”
Should crops up in all kinds of sneaky places around our health and wellness, and to be honest, I’m DONE with should.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said they “should” do some service I offer, I wouldn’t need to keep working! And while “shoulding” around your fitness, might seem harmless, I actually think it’s pretty insidious.
It assumes a “they” who know better
“Should” implies that there is some entity outside of us who knows what is best for us. Instead of saying “I want to exercise,” or “I don’t want to eat sugar,” we put the authority on the abstract “they,” who make decisions about what the rest of us should and shouldn’t be doing.
This matters because the way we speak about our goals is important. We need to make a decision about what it is we want to accomplish and make a tangible action plan to get there. If you’re not sure what action steps to take, do some research or find an expert who can work alongside you to craft an action plan that you can still feel some ownership over. Most importantly, own that this is what you want and have decided to do – not someone else.
It allows you to live in maybe land
“Should” lets you live in indecision. Indecision is not how you accomplish goals. By taking ownership of what you WANT to achieve and deciding on the steps to achieve it, you can actually make progress. Instead of feeling like there are things you “should” do, you instead decide to ACTUALLY do them. And whether you succeed or fail, you’ve already come further than just sitting back and thinking you should.
It deteriorates your relationship with yourself
Perhaps the sneakiest issue with “should” is the way it undermines our own belief in ourselves. When you repeatedly tell yourself that you “should” do something, but don’t do it, you build up your conscious or subconscious belief that you can’t or won’t keep your own commitments to yourself.
Imagine having a friend who repeatedly makes tentative plans with you – “Hey, we should go out for a drink after work Wednesday. Just check with me that day.” If your friend does this enough times but never actually makes it out, you’re eventually going to stop agreeing to the tentative plans. As if that’s not enough, if your friend then calls you up and tries to make firm plans, you’re not going to believe her. You’re going to assume she’ll cancel like she always has.
Our mind relates the same way to itself. “Well sure, I always mean to do XYZ, but I never do. Why would ABC be any different?”
What to do about it
I think it’s important to note that people are almost never the problem. Systems are the problem. If you firmly decide to do something, but you can’t make yourself do it, you have a systems problem. You may need to adjust the way you plan or schedule, get some help with other responsibilities, or make other adjustments to make it easier to show up for what you want to show up for.
If you want help figuring out the systems you need to put in place in your life, I’d love to do a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Book here.