Have you ever counted how many, “should’s” you utter a day?
Friend, “I’ve been going to yoga twice a week!” You, “I should get into yoga!”
Friend, “I gave up coffee.” You, “I should cut back on caffeine.”
Friend, “I’m training for a 5K!” You, “I should sign up for a race.”
Friend, “I started meditating 30 minutes everyday.” You, “I should make time to meditate.”
Friend, “I got a blender and make a smoothie every morning.” You, “I should start making smoothies!”
It becomes an automatic response that adds to your ever expanding to-do list and the stressful feeling that you could be doing things better. Then there’s the fear that your actions won’t be perfect – the optimal workout, best morning routine, perfect desk organization, healthiest recipe, etc. – so you decide to wait until you have it figured out, until the perfect time in your life to start all these little “should’s”.
Fun fact: There is no perfect action OR better time to start!
It’s time to should up already and take action! Easier said than done, right? Plus, you probably have a gazillion things you feel you should do and no idea where or how to start. First, we’ll tackle your “I should” reflex, and then determine small actions you can actually implement.
Cut the Should
You are likely immune to the should’s you dole out, and are not taking them seriously to begin with. After all, it’s easy to say you should do something, but entirely different to say you will. Once you take notice of all the actions you say you should do, really start to question if it’s something you actually want to incorporate into your life. More often than not, your should’s are not truly important to you. And that’s OK!
Here’s an example, you’ve been running with a run group once a week and enjoy the environment and the friends you’ve made. You haven’t entered a race, but crave the consistency and social aspect it provides. Each week your new friends tell you about a marathon they signed up for, are training for or just ran. “I should run a marathon!” you exclaim! But, do you really want to run a marathon? Just because it’s something another person enjoys, does not mean you need to do it, or will enjoy it. A marathon is a huge commitment. It requires a lot of your time and is a big physical and emotional challenge. Ask yourself if that’s a true goal of yours, or if you simply feel like it should be.
Another example is meal planning. I have friends who post beautiful images of their meal prep on Sunday’s and I used to think I should be prepping all my meals, too. In reality, that style of meal planning just doesn’t jive with my life right now. Instead, I found a happy medium in my meal planning that looks different from what I thought I should be doing.
Your friend does yoga every morning so you feel you should, too. But you don’t enjoy yoga. Why on earth do you think yoga is something you should do, then? My favorite quote from Amy Poehler’s Yes Please! is, “great for her, not for me!” The next time you’re about to utter, “I should…” stop and think if it’s a good fit for you, or if it just looks better on someone else.
Should Up and Do It!
Now that you’ve cut out your unnecessary should’s, it’s time to take action. What stops so many of us from starting something is the overwhelming feeling that there’s so much you need to research and learn, and that you have so far to go to get where you want to be. It’s time for a shift of focus. Instead of obsessing over where you want to be – whether it’s packing a healthy lunch every day, running a half-marathon or going Vegan – make your goal to start. Take one small action towards that thing you want to do. Some examples:
You feel yoga would help with your stress level and flexibility, and want it to be part of your routine. But, you don’t know the best studio in the area, how much time you can consistently commit, or what type of class is best for you. An action you can take is looking up the schedule of the studio closest to you, and signing up for a beginner class. That’t it! No waiting until things calm down at work (they never will!), buy a new yoga mat, reading up on different styles of yoga. Just go to one class.
Or, you decide that smoothies would be a great way to ensure you get a healthy breakfast during your hectic mornings. But, you don’t know if you need a new blender, what type of smoothie will keep you full until lunch, or if it will logistically work with your morning routine. A small action step is asking a friend for their favorite recipe and making it for any meal that week. It may not end up being your favorite, but you’ve taken the leap and tried it for yourself. By taking one small action step, you are miles closer to your goal than thinking about idealized version of these actions in your head.
If something is important to you, you will do it. Being more conservative and honest about what you say you should do, will not only cut down on your “should’s”, but will make them more likely to happen. Remember, it’s progress NOT perfection you are aiming for. Doing SOMEthing is better than NOthing, no matter how small the step!
What have you been “should”ing the longest? Do you truly feel this is something you need to do now? If so, what’s one small step you can take towards it this week?
Want guidance determining what “should’s” fit your goals, and accountability in taking that first step? My 4-Week Kickstarter health coaching program could be just what you need! Shoot me an email and let’s chat about where you are and where you want to go!