Shutting up the”Should” with a Strategy

Have you ever approached life with the “should” method? It’s decidedly unuseful.

After returning home Friday from a business trip, I apparently didn’t have the energy to do the dishes. I’d set them in the sink or on the counter. Every time I walked in to the kitchen, I’d say “I should do the dishes.”

Didn’t happen until Monday, by which point the stack towered over me.

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with postponing mundane things like housework, but I’m finding the more I throw around should, the less I actually accomplish. Including the things I actually want to do. Some of my usual should statements include:

  • I should write that down (hence my silence the past couple of weeks).
  • I should make that dessert.
  • I should lose weight.
  • I should make that DIY project.
  • I should volunteer for that.
  • I should wash the dishes, do the mopping. (Thank you, tiny mice.)

Well, I guess the list is rather endless. The problem is that there’s no action involved. No transformation. Once a task reaches the should-do list, I’ve found that I give it only a half-heated attempt, if I even try it at all.

Maybe I should rename the should-do list to the probably-won’t-do list… ehhh.

When my heart is silent and the only thing driving me is the internal urge to please someone, it shows. It shows in the way I kind of do it or don’t do it at all. Maybe I’m too scared to actually do it. I prefer living in that silent land of no applause, no apology. If what I do is mediocre, I won’t have to hide from the applause for a job well done or offer an apology for the mess I made. But, really, who cares?

My goal this summer is to silence the should by mapping out my strategy. When I hear myself starting to utter the dreaded s word, I’m going to define my expectations by asking some questions:

  • What is it?
  • Why should I do it?
  • When will I do it?
  • Who will help? Who will it help?
  • How will it be completed?
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