When we talk about our goals, we use the word “should” a lot. Most of us think it’s just an innocent word that helps us get out of boring conversations and confrontations about our bad habits. However, the word “should” poisons our speech and ambitions by inferring that what we’re doing isn’t good enough, and that we would be better off doing something else.
When you say you “should” do something, what are you really saying?
1. It’s an obligation that you’re not fond of.
We don’t talk about how we “should” do things that we don’t feel obligated to do. If we are excited about eating cake, we don’t say, “I “should” eat cake.” We just do it! However, if we feel obligated to eat celery, it becomes a “should.” If making cookies for the bake sale is a “should,” it’s an obligation. If it were a fun activity, it would be easy for you to just do it.
2. You’re not going to do it and you have an excuse as to why.
“I “should” ____,” is usually followed by, “but __.” When you say things like this, you are proclaming to the world that you agree one course of action would be appropriate, and that you’re going to do the exact opposite. Imagine how foolish you would sound telling your boss, “I know that the appropriate thing to do is to stay late and finish the proposal so I am prepared for tomorrow’s meeting, and instead of doing that I am going to go home and take the chance of not finishing it before the meeting tomorrow morning.” If this is what you really mean, why bother disguising with a “should?” Deep down, you know what’s really going on.
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3. You know exactly what you need to do to make things better and you haven’t started yet!
For all of you out there who “should” stop smoking, who “should” lose weight, or who “should” go back to school, you know exactly what you want to do to make your life better for yourself, and you’re using “should” as a lame excuse not to take action! Of course, standing on the sidelines is much easier than running after the ball, but you don’t win any games that way. If you have a long list of “should’s” and a short list of goals, choose which of those “should’s” you will follow through with and put your plans on paper.
If instead of feeling that your day is just one thing you “should” do after another thing you “should” do, turn your “should’s” into definite “will’s” or “will not’s.” While “should” robs you of power and motivation, “will” gives you power and resolve to get things done. With fewer “should’s” in your vocabulary, you’ll find yourself speeding along the road to accomplishment.