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Stop Shoulding on Yourself!

Does this resonate with you: Do you use the word “should” frequently? Examples might include:

  • I should go and play Legos with the kids instead of washing the dishes.
  • I should get up earlier and work out.
  • I should really get off my phone and finish the 14 other projects I started.
  • I should get going because I have a never-ending to-do list, and it needs to get done.
  • I should stop eating carbs so I can fit into my ridiculously expensive skinny jeans.
  • I should eat more kale and fewer tacos.
  • I should be better about managing my time so I can accomplish more in my day.
  • I should drink less wine during the week.
  • I should start meditating, journaling, and doing less.
  • I should do less __ and more ___.

The list is endless.stress

These are the types of thoughts that used to run through my mind throughout the day, clouding my judgment and robbing me of my precious energy and confidence. Here’s a quick approach to how you can reduce shoulding on yourself, start saying “yes” to the things you want to be doing, and “no” to the rest with less judgment and guilt.

  • Kick judgment out the door and say “hello” to curiosity. Take a step back and ask: Who are you being in the moment. Can you look at the situation through the lens of curiosity and leave judgment behind? Are you making a decision or feeling this way because of what someone else will think? Are you feeling obligated to do something and simply don’t want to do it? Are you feeling overwhelmed because you overcommitted yourself? Stop, get quiet, and listen without judgment. The chain of negative thoughts will not result in anything positive and productive other than more of what you don’t want. Which leads to…..
  • Listen to your heart (or soul, or life force, or super power, or inner spirit, or true north – whatever you call it). Everybody has innate wisdom and will guide you toward freedom, purpose and joy. You know exactly what you need to do, even if it means getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Stop worrying about failure. One question you can ask yourself: Will this matter in six months? Chances are you won’t remember it tomorrow or next week.
  • Focus more on what you are doing right. Why do we belabor what’s going wrong in our day rather than celebrating all of the things that are going well? We become our thoughts, and if we are constantly in a state of guilt, shame, and thinking about what we “should’ be doing, we become trapped in a negative feedback loop, which leads to paralysis. What gets done in this state? Absolutely nothing productive. Energy flows wherever your intention goes, so get clear on what you want and don’t let negative thoughts occupy precious space in your head.
  • Reframe the thought to I AM and I WILL. You know those thoughts that creep in and take over. They go something like; I am a bad mom, I can’t run a 5k, why are my clothes so tight, why am I so unmotivated, I am never going to lose those 10 pounds. These are the thoughts that are speaking directly to your mind and body, setting you up with more of what you don’t want. Try re-framing your thoughts and use empowering, positive and encouraging words. Your thoughts will create action, so speak kindly to yourself and be gentle.
    • I am doing the best I can today.
    • I will try and not yell as much at the kids.
    • I am going to run an extra mile today.
    • I am ABUNDANT.
    • I am focused.
    • I am tired and will give myself permission to rest and recharge.
    • I am determined to create positive changes for myself.

Whatever it is you want to manifest, try using positive language to guide you in achieving what you want to accomplish. By removing the word “should” from your thoughts and vocabulary, be prepared for some powerful shifts in your mindset and energy. It will lead you to the path of action, ability and freedom.

Alexis NelsonAlexis Nelson is a wife, mom of two, business owner, adventurer and advocate for access to the great outdoors. She owns two businesses; a consulting firm providing operational and strategic support to non-profits specializing in motorized recreation, and her latest passion in health and life coaching. As a certified Health Coach, Alexis is committed to helping busy women end the cycle of dieting by tapping into their personal power and achieving what they truly desire. When she isn’t running rampant with her kids and working, she enjoys yoga, hiking and off-roading.


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