There are twenty-four whole hours a day. Not groundbreaking news there. However, how many of those are you filling with work on yourself, and how many are you should-ing all over the place!?
Let's run through a day and not even throw in the added spouse and kids; some of us are blessed to have. You wake up, maybe a shower, perhaps just go and get some coffee, brush teeth, get dressed, head out the door, forgot the keys, back in the door, and then off to work. Once at work, you wolf down some breakfast, get your grind on, eat lunch at your desk, visit the woefully understocked break room for your 2 pm pick me up, and then it's time to pack up and head home. As usual, you worked over, and those unused groceries just don't sound as delicious as they had when you bought them. If you just stop and grab something that'll give you more time to yourself to binge the new show you fell asleep to last night. You pass a cyclist on the way home, then someone jogging, then the gym at which you are member, but a gym that probably wouldn't recognize you if you went in.
"I should really get back to the gym." You look down at the greasy brown bag next to you. "I should really eat better." You almost run off the road. "I should pay attention to the road!"
You just should-ed yourself.
The other way we should ourselves is when parents/spouses/folks/society tell us we should be doing this or that. You should take a prestigious job over the one that may fulfill your soul. You should eat this way because the other way is really bad. You should work out here because all the beautiful people work out here. Sometimes other people should on you, and it's not pretty.
So, why are you should-ing yourself?
I get it; you're busy. However, are you really? Even if you are that busy, there are other hours in which to stop should-ing! In full disclosure, I am a should-er from way back when. My type of should-ing was to share all my goals with my friends and family. Then, in some weird way, the saying of the goals was as good as doing them to my mind. So, I would continue to say, "I told them I was going to, so I really should!" That's why I have adopted the show me, don't tell me method of stopping the should. Don't share your goals; just go get it.
The biggest thing is to really do some soul searching and find your WHY. That one thing, or person, in your life that makes you want to be a better version of you. It could be your significant other, your religion, your family, or just yourself! Eternal optimist, and just all-around cool guy, Simon Sinek has some insight on this. Check it out:
Though this is meant to be a business model, you can 1000% apply this to the business that is your life. The best project you'll ever work on is yourself.
Here's what I did to find my WHY, and stick with it:
I wrote down my goals. Yeah, yeah. You may think this cliche, but never underestimate the power of writing out what you want for yourself. It takes your thoughts and gives it form! That's powerful!
I stopped sharing my goals.
I truly thought about why I put my feet to the floor every day—like, really thought about it.
I had my wife help me with a schedule for success. (I'm like an old man when it comes to routine, but not so great on the planning side.)
I stuck to the schedule.
I found like-minded coworkers to help me stay on track away from home.
I record progress to keep me hungry for more improvement. (Mirror selfies... useful but I hate them, journaling about how I feel, and keeping track of food!)
Your roadmap may look different, but now at least you have a place to start! It may involve losing an hour of sleep, or maybe knocking back to one episode a night, and perhaps even no more trips through the drive-through!
Stop saying you should do something and just do it. Stop saying you have to go to the gym, and instead say I choose the gym. Stop beating yourself up about your diet and decide to do better. Stopping the should monster starts with your choice.
Choose wisely. Choose you.