Do you have a bad case of the “shoulds”? 3 simple tips to help you eliminate the “shoulds” from your to do list

It’s time to eliminate the shoulds. How often do you hear yourself saying something life this: I should post on social media every day, I should go for a run, I should earn £X amount of money, I should work at the weekend to catch up on the work I’m behind on, I should read more, I should stop eating sugar.

So. Much. Pressure!

Every time we hear the word should, it adds another thing to our already bursting to do list. It’s another reason we’re not good enough just as we are. It’s another way to allow our lives to be guided by external pressures. Tuning out the shoulds and tuning into what you really want and need is a core part of inviting simplicity into your life.

How to eliminate the shoulds

Practise noticing your thoughts and where they come from

To eliminate the shoulds from your mind chatter takes practise. Each time you hear yourself say “I really should do XYZ”, ask yourself “Who says?”. Recognising where these pressures are coming from is a great first step towards taking back control of your own life. Are you being led by societal norms, your boss, your parents, social media…? Once you know where these expectations and obligations are stemming from you can take action and dial down the effect these external influences are having on your mindset.

Get clear on what you want from life and/or business

By having clarity regarding what direction you’d like to be heading in yourself, it’s a lot easier to respond to any shoulds with “that’s not for me right now”. As a business owner in particular the common shout of “you should join this free course, it’s amazing, did I mention it’s free” can be so appealing if you’re not clear what your focus is. If you’re clear what you’re focus is, you can make the decision of whether the free course aligns with your current goals and thus whether it will genuinely contribute to moving your forward towards them. Without knowing your focus, you’re much more susceptible to all the noise constantly being shouted at you via your social media channels and your inbox. If you need support getting clear on your focus, read about how we can work together here.

Eliminate the shoulds by changing your language

It’s incredible how powerful language can be. Note the difference between “I should start meditating every day” and “I want to start meditating every day”. The first is highlighting our failure to meditate every day thus far. It also implies that it’s something difficult that we don’t really want to start doing. On the other hand, the second way of saying it denotes the control we have of our own lives. Therefore, it’s a lot more positive and therefore a lot more likely to result in us taking the action and doing the meditation. This isn’t to say that we should reframe everything to sound more positive – it’s a great tool to remind our brain that we’re in control.

If on the other hand you’re looking to eliminate the shoulds, you can reframe by switching should to could. “I should go to the gym” changes to “I could go to the gym”. An instruction changes to a possibility; it implies choice and puts you back in the driving seat of your life.

If you give these tips a try, let me know what’s worked for you. I’d love to hear from you. Sign up to my newsletter below to hear more about simplifying your life, intentional living, and working for yourself.

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