Why You Need to Stop “Shoulding”on Yourself and How to Stop

You may have heard the term before, or maybe not. But full disclosure-I didn’t come up with it. The advice of stop “shoulding” on yourself, or to not “should” on yourself is not just a catchy term. It’s extremely important way to look at the work that you do, and why you’re doing it.

Let me give you some examples:

“I should go for a run, but I’d rather lay in bed for another hour”
“I should read this book, but I’d rather watch this new Netflix series”
“I should call my mom, but I’d rather ….”

You get the point. I’m sure you’ve said a version of these sentences to yourself before. Whether it’s a chore you have to finish or a task you were told to do by a teacher once–if you aren’t going to do it joyfully, it is REALLY worth doing?

Now, you might be thinking, well, yes.

“If I don’t go for a run now, I won’t get the chance to do it later, and then I’ll never lose those 10lbs”
“If I don’t read this book, then I’ll never understand what all my classmates are talking about”
“If I don’t call my mom, she’ll keep nagging me and I’ll hear about how ungrateful I am at Christmas”

Okay okay, I get it. I mean, the toilet isn’t going to clean itself, is it? But here is when you need to decide if something is a MUST DO or a SHOULD DO. The difference is that one is needed to function optimally as a human. Examples include: working your Joe-job to pay for your acting classes, eating food that is healthful enough to keep you alive and well, and okay–maybe you do need to give your mom a call at some point.

The main difference between these columns is the WHY.

When someone says to themselves that they should do something rather than they need to, is usually because they’re not fully convince of the why. For example, you hate running, so why do you HAVE to run everyday–is that the ONLY form of exercise you can do? Or if you don’t mind running, just don’t like to do it alone, maybe find a buddy. Then it becomes something you look forward to rather than dread.

You don’t like reading–What about an audiobook? Better yet, why are you pigeon-holed to this one book? Perhaps you’d read if it was book you actually enjoyed?

The point is, aim to always enjoy what you’re doing, because otherwise it’s a waste of your energy. And I’d say that’s even for your “have to dos” as well.

A perfect example for me is housecleaning. I HATE cleaning. It’s time consuming, I feel like it’s not even my mess because I live with 3 other people. But then I started listening to podcasts and audiobooks during that time. I made it into a little quiet time for me, and now, dare I say–I look forward to mopping my floors, because I can catch up on my pocasts!

So the key here, is to not just blindly tell yourself that you “should” be doing something that someone told you about once. You need to figure out a way to get the same benefits from the task, but in a way that is joyful to you. Ask yourself “why should I be doing that?”, and “can I do it any other way?

I hope this helps you to stop “shoulding” on yourself. Drop me a line in the comment below and let me know what shifts you made.

Until next time, keep kicking butt and breaking legs.


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