Can we pretend for a moment that we are sitting in cozy chairs by the fire? We each have a cup of tea and we are just settling in for a good adult-conversation? You know, without kid interruptions? I’m not sure what that looks like these days, but I’m going to pretend anyways.

 

You see, I want to share something with you that was a big a-ha for me this year. Maybe it will come off as a ‘duh’ but I think those ‘a-ha’s’ are the best. It is kinda personal and I would feel better thinking that you and I are sitting down with a cup of tea as I share this. So, grab that cup of tea and get cozy.

 

I constantly get wrapped up in what I should be doing.

 

Always have. If I really stop and think about the things I should be doing, I freeze. I don’t take action. I stop in my tracks. The brakes are ON. The truth is, I hate being boxed in. Putting the word should in front of anything suddenly turns the action from something that could be enjoyable and positive, to a chore and drudgery. Have you ever noticed that?

 

When we say the word should there is often pressure that comes with it. Pressure that I should always be present with my kids and not distracted by something else, I should be a better planner, I should love meditation (I don’t!), I should be further along in x, y, or z and the list goes on.

 

What are your shoulds? When you think about your shoulds do they help you or hinder you?

 

Eliminate the Shoulds.

 

Those were the three most powerful words said to me in 2016. I was to write down every single should I had in my life and then go through systematically and cross them off, one by one. Because, apparently, I had a lot. Doesn’t everybody? (Recommended to me by a life coach, Bev Barnes during a group coaching call I was lucky enough to be a part of.)

 

So, as the ever-diligent student, I set about to my homework. I was a bit shocked at how much I wrote down, and then even better, was how much lighter I felt afterwards. (As always, right?) But, those shoulds didn’t show up overnig ht, and they certainly have no plans of leaving overnight.

 

Instead, it has helped me bring more awareness to when I slip into my old thought pattern. Of course, I still strive to be present with my kids and to be a better planner (because life does go smoother when I plan). But, for me, if I say ‘I should’ it is an external pressure instead of an internal motivation. And that makes all the difference in the world.

 

Motivation for me is determined by how I want to feel. This is how it has become easy to eat clean and gluten-free. I eat that way, I feel good. I don’t, I feel like cr*p. Plain and simple. (But notice, I said ‘how it has become’ that didn’t happen overnight either.)

 

If I say, “I should eat salad” then I know the salad has no appeal! But, if I think about how the salad will make me feel, it is a whole different story. When I apply this same principle to other areas in my life, the actions fall into place.

 

What if you tried this exercise too? Take 10 minutes and write down every should that floats through your brain. Then go back through and cross them all off. (No, you can’t do this in your head and have it do the same thing. There is something magical about physically writing it all down and crossing it off.) What would eliminating your shoulds do for you?

 

Do this before the end of 2016 and give yourself a true clean slate for 2017. By removing the shoulds from your life, what will open up for you as you start the New Year? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start the New Year a little lighter and less weighed down by unnecessary burdens?

 

Once you’ve done the exercise, come back here and share one of your shoulds you are finally ready to let go of in 2017. I can’t wait to hear what you are ready to release!