How to Stop Shoulding On Yourself

Have you ever found yourself ‘shoulding‘ all over the place?

  • I should volunteer more of my time.
  • I should be more flexible with my expectations.
  • I should end world hunger.
  • I should be nicer.
  • I should be a more committed employee.
  • I should help that person.
  • I should make my child’s Halloween costume from scratch.
  • I should stop eating sugar.

These statements leave a bitter feeling of dissatisfaction and put you in the perspective that life is happening to you.

Should, should, should…

If you are anything like me, you have huge ambitions, dreams, and goals which attract a lot of things you ‘should‘ do. In actuality they are things you could do, but don’t have to.

I am great at making to do lists, filing my tasks for the upcoming year in my Getting Things Done filing system, and doing more in the day than the average woman, but it doesn’t mean I have to do more because I have the capacity.

Not To Do List.

Whenever you are doing something, you aren’t doing something else. I know this is a very obvious statement but when I realized this about 18 months ago, something shifted.

I am not superwoman and if I don’t focus my life then I won’t conquer the things that I know I was made to do.

  • Enter the ‘Not To Do List’.

You heard me, a list of things I will not do. Now when ‘shoulds’ or things I would be great at but don’t want to do come my way, I can proactively choose to not do those things.

Taking time to do the ‘shoulds’ costs more than we realize.

Some of my ‘Not To Dos’.

  • Sit on boards or chair meetings with my spare time
  • Commit to volunteer opportunities which require a weekly commitment
  • Sleep in on weekdays
  • Work past 6 pm or on weekends
  • Clean the house more than once a week
  • Prep meals for the next day if I am bone dead tired
  • Going out for coffee or an activity with friends more than three times in a week

Choosing not to do something and being able to say, ‘Oh that? Nope, I have decided not to do that.’ without a should lurking on your shoulder is an amazing feeling.

Never should on yourself or others.

What do you not do purposefully? What is on your ‘Not To Do List’?

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  1. I have disliked the word SHOULD since I was a kid. Always makes one feel inadequate, I think. Good post.

  2. I love this idea! I really need to make a Not To Do list. Most nights I work until 8.30pm. Unfortunately, if I didn’t work on the weekends I’d have no business so I can’t exactly knock that off. You have definitely given me some ideas though! I’ve been feeling so stressed lately. It seems like I’m working every single waking second, minus the time I spend at the gym, so I need to stop and make some time for me.

    • Carving out a few chunks of you time and rest is going to make a world of difference. I know because it has for me. I am more productive when I work now because I have had time to rest and relax.

  3. what a great post! an awesome reminder. i feel like i should a lot!

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