“I know I should be drinking tea instead of coffee… but I crave the taste of coffee and it wakes me up when I need a boost.” Sound familiar? How about this one…
“I should be at the gym but working out with a bunch of meatheads ins’t for me.” (No offense to any muscular men out there!)
I’ve been thinking a lot about this word “should”. What it means when people say it, what it infers, and why we say it – instead of just doing what we think we “should” do. Then it hit me.
An action you “should” take is one you’ve been conditioned to believe is the “right” action or the “expected” action and not necessarily the action you WANT to take.
So, being the nerd I am, I looked up the definition of “should”.
(Side bar – I “should” thank my Dad for making me write the dictionary when I got in trouble as a kid…)
There are two definitions of “should” that validated my speculation of the word.
- used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions;
- used to indicate what is probable:
Ahhh… words like “obligation” and “criticizing” jumped out at me. Who enjoys the feeling of being OBLIGATED to do something? Who likes being CRITICIZED? (Let me answer that: NO ONE.)
No wonder why a majority of our “shoulds” never actually happen. Somewhere down the line someone (a coworker, a family member, Dr. Oz…) told us what we need to be doing to achieve X outcome or what worked for them. And so we feel obligated to do the same, perhaps for fear of being criticized.
If you feel you “should” do something, chances are you don’t really WANT to do it. Here’s an idea… don’t do it and choose a more appealing alternative (like workout videos at home instead of using the gym) – or – turn the “should” into a want (find a motivator that kicks you in high gear) – or – just say no (particularly in an instance where a friend has asked for your help for the 10000 time and has yet to come through for you).
On the other hand, looking at the second definition, a “should” indicates a probability. For example, if you are saying, “I should be drinking tea instead of coffee” chances are you’ve thought about doing it because you want to make the switch but you’re stuck on your habits, you’re making excuses, or you just plain don’t know where to start. GOOD FOR YOU for you for acknowledging the changes that need to be made! That’s the first step. Now turn that “should” into an “I want” – or just plain drop the expectations that others have on you and do what works for you. Find YOUR mojo.
P.S. I reallllly should not be drinking coffee… and I substitute for tea 75% of the time, but sometimes there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee to put a little pep in your step! And, dang it. I love myself to much to punish myself for the 25%. 🙂