Do you let shoulds get the best of you?

I have to… I gotta… I should…

When we think about all the roles we have and all the many things we could do to live up to some standard of being a parent, an employee, a daughter or son, a friend, a spouse, a volunteer… we could get bogged down with overwhelming responsibility and checklists. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, we need to check our expectations and priorities. We need to relook at our whys.

If your feeling maxed out or overwhelmed, here’s something I’ve been trying. See if it works for you.

Get in touch with that inner rebellious teenager energy — the one that needs to know what the consequences are for not checking the list. Get that huffy puffy tone and ask “WHY?” and “OR WHAT?” Why are you doing this item on your list and what would the consequence of not getting it done. Is this something that you truly need to do or is this just a belief that is SHOULD be done?

For example, when my son was 2 I would pick up toys 10x a day until finally I was done with it. I stopped doing it more than once a day in order to get other projects done. The toys were fine on the floor and I did not care what people thought. I had to give up my organized home for the sake of time and other things that nourished me more than collecting the same toys over and over again. So we need to ask ourselves, “why am I doing this?”

Then if I know that I have a pretty good why, I ask “do I enjoy the doing of the task?” I like to take weeds out of my garden and get my hands in the soil. Yet, many times during the summer my garden doesn’t look like it. I treat weeding like a kind of self-care. When I need to weed, it is the act, not the end result that I really care about. So ask yourself if you enjoy the doing of the task. If so, keep that on the priorities list.

If you don’t enjoy the act, you may enjoy the end result. Like I clean my house not because I’m especially fond of cleaning, but I really love the feeling of a clean house. I like to know that I’m not harboring germs and can find everything I need. It feels to me like warmth and clarity. Those for me are pretty good whys.

If there are things on your list that still need to be done but you don’t enjoy the doing or even achieving the end result, stop freaking doing those things. Life is too short to be doing things we don’t have a very good why at the source.

So go take a look at your list. Be critical of the list too. You need to have a really deep why in order to feel really great about having it on your list. If you haven’t found a heart pounding why, then answer this: OR WHAT? What happens if that thing doesn’t get done? Is someone going to realistically get hurt? Will anyone even notice besides you? If the consequences don’t light your motivation or can prove to have some great catastrophic outcome, cross that task off the list. It doesn’t need to get done.

We had a whole conversation over how we should ourselves, aim for perfection and end up in shame on the show. Watch the recording here.


Want to learn more? My book, Inviting Shift has extensive information about how our focus and finding our inner truths can help shift us into a more expansive and abundant life – especially if you feel stuck. Learn more here.

About the author

Health and Empowerment Coach focused on supporting physical, emotional, and spiritual health in women who struggle with anxiety, depression and are tired of life. Offering actionables, tips, tools and connection.

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