When you say to yourself - or others - "I really should do that" what ever "that" is, it's usually code for "I should but I'm not going to"
I want to talk about how powerful words are and how we can actually do what we want to do instead of procrastinating if we are more intentional about our words.
One word in particular is a total dream and goal killer, and that word is "should"
For example, when you say to yourself - or to others - "I really should do that" it's usually code for "I should but I'm not going to"!
Lets explore what happens when you say "yea I really should do that"
Should creates emotional clutter
Tune in for a few seconds and pay attention how it feels when you think or say out loud "I should really do that" ... I don't know about you but I feel pressure, guilt, resistance, depending on my mood I start to feel rebellious.. Can you find a positive feeling because I can't.
Feeling guilty, or pressured, or bad really doesn't motivate us to change or to do something, it just makes you feel bad.
Should is mental clutter and creates more mental clutter
While a sentense "I should really do this" is very sabotaging mental clutter to begin with, when we become aware of these feelings of guilt, resistance, heaviness etc then we usually start to pack more mental clutter on top of it by thinking "I should to do that, but I guess I am just too lazy" or substitute lazy for any other harsh word we usually pester ourselves with.
The more you tell yourself "you should" the more you believe it and it becomes your self-concept, a limiting belief about yourself, and you move further and further away from what you actually want.
Beating ourselves up doesn't motivate us
This should-ing yourself creates mental and emotional clutter and I don't know about you but beating myself up to do anything might work at times but it sure doesn't feel good, and it's definitely not self-love.
And full disclosure this is the kind of clutter that I have to work on every day because my brain tries to should myself a lot, and then I beat myself up, and then I feel bad, this all can happen in a split second and ruin my day if I am not careful.
Steps to stop should-ing yourself
Words are powerful and we can either use them against us or for us in order to make progress with anything.
As a first step, when you notice you think or say "I really should do this..." counter right away with "who says"? Who says you should do this? You are an adult and as adults we really don't have or should do anything, we can decide we want to, but there is no should, nobody can tell you what you should do.
But this is sometimes a bit abstract and for some people not helpful so then I suggest you play a game, a word game that might help you taking action.
The Should-Could-Could-I Game
We start by exchanging should for could
So one way to tweak your thinking is when you notice you say or think "I should" - so when you are should-ing yourself, to take a quick pause and exchange "should" for could.
For example, instead of "I really should declutter" think or say "I really could declutter" and pause and see how that makes you feel.
If you are human, which you most likely are, I bet the sentence with "could" feels better than the one with "should"
See if you can take action from that place, remember all that we want to do is a few minutes a day, I could do this, I could declutter, by giving you the option instead of should-ing yourself.
The next step is to exchange "could" with the question "could I"?
So instead of "I could declutter" try out "could I declutter"? this gives you even more freedom so take a few moments to tune in and see how you feel? Could I ?
Curiosity that you create with could or could-I? is so much kinder than blame and shame that inevidably comes with the word should.
Again, the goal is to understand that you don't have to do anything, you are an adult, nobody can really tell you what to do.
But often when we "should-ourselves" we actually want to make progress, work towards a goal or dream, so part of us really wants to do it. We don't want to stay stuck but get moving, and we are more likely to get moving when we are kind to yourself.
As a clutter clearing coach and practitioner I will never tell you to get rid of anything, not even the word should. What I do want to help you see is the effect all this (mental) clutter has on you and your life.
So be aware when you should yourself and see if with the word games you can get into the habit of "a few minutes a day that keep the chaos away"
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