Stop “Shoulding” Yourself, for Good!

Mental check! Are you guilty of “should-ing” yourself ? I’m pretty confident in saying, we’ve all been there. Especially these days when the expectations for home life somehow got even higher during quarantine!

I should look like her/him

I should eat more greens

I shouldn’t eat ice cream

I should be working harder on that assignment

I should clean the kitchen

I should help my neighbor

I should call my friends

I should be more productive

I should workout today

If that sounds like you too, you’re not alone. Truth be told, it ends up weighing more on you than you think!

Your “shoulds” are a direct correlation of where you put the most pressure on yourself. It’s both good and bad, because you can take your “shoulds” and start putting them to action or more often than not, you end up taking unhelpful amounts of anxiety and stress into your life.

It isn’t our fault that we feel this way. These days, we all deal with daily societal pressures every which way we look especially when we are all consumed with social media and the internet. No matter how much you try not to, you end up comparing and sometimes going down the spiral of letting those pressures dictate how we should be living our life or how we should look. But guess what? Allowing all of this to get into your head holds you back from YOU feeling good. But it stops now!

It took time, don’t get me wrong, but here’s how I’ve been able to shift my perspective on all the  “shoulds” in my life: 

Will > Should

From this moment forward, when I catch myself using the word “should,” I change it to “WILL”. 

I will cook more, I will check off my to-do’s, I will clean the kitchen, I will eat ice cream as a snack. It’s a much more assertive and positive mindset to have and ultimately, it’s about taking the guilt out of thinking about these things.

Write it down and get to work!

To-do lists are type A personalities favorite thing and that’s exactly what I have routinely started doing first thing in the morning. All my “shoulds” become actionable tasks and I get them done during that week. Pro tip: start every task with a VERB– so you know exactly what to do at a glance. “Drop off library book by Friday” is much more action oriented than just “library book”.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Track your mental health

Allocate a section on your daily to-do list with a daily “mood tracker”. This can look like giving yourself a number from 1 to 10, 1 being feeling down or super unmotivated to 10 being highly productive or energized. As you set goals for yourself and accomplish them one by one, you’ll start to see a shift in your confidence. The progress you make daily as you check off your list is more confidence boosting than you think- especially when you weaved in tasks to build a healthier more sustainable lifestyle such as working out everyday, drinking at least 8 glasses of water, or cooking all meals at home 5 days a week.

Make time for yourself

Now that we’re turning “shoulds” into actionable tasks, don’t forget to schedule in time for yourself! I like to take half an hour minimum each day to do something FOR me. This could include a solo walk outside, a small cleansing face mask, or eating delicious ice cream out on the porch.

I have a bag of Hu Kitchen‘s Gems stocked in my fridge currently. Some days, if it’s been a rough work day, I take a small handful of chocolates and head out to the porch to have some decompression time. It’s magical! And by no means do I feel guilty for this chocolate. I will always enjoy a small chocolate snack!

Alright guys! I hope you will join me in this “Should” cleanse and turn it into an opportunity to grow and be better!



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