Time to stop “shoulding” on myself

I don’t know about you but I keep a running list of shoulds.  These aren’t written down, to the contrary, they’re like squatters, taking up space in my head rent-free!

All I need to do is take a look around and there they are, glaring at me:

Should file those benefits statements
Should get out and pull some weeds
Should organize that closet
Should exercise and lose some weight

What’s the message?   That what I am doing is clearly –not enough.


It’s time to stop SHOULDING on myself!

So … I’ve been getting up early to exercise.  Some days… when I am tired and achy it is oh-so-tempting to hit the snooze button and blow it off.  But I haven’t.  I do a weights routine in the mornings and cardio at night, after I get home from work. There’s always lots of other stuff to be done, but, for once, my stuff is getting done first.  Whoop Whoop!

I’ve been down the exercise path a million times before because I know I should.

But that’s not why I’m doing it this time.

I am exercising regularly … because I want to. 

I am choosing to stretch, to sweat, and to be sore.  Conversely, I am also choosing to lower my cholesterol, strengthen my bones and tone my muscles.

I think it’s different this time, because, by plowing through the shoulds, the musts and the have-tos,  I’m making room for choices.

Of course, some “shoulds” are important and non-negotiable (I should wear a seat belt and I always do) but there are just so many more in my head that …aren’t.

And now? Now the benefits statements aren’t filed but … I will take care of them on my lunch break; the weeds are thriving but … the youngest kid wants extra money so here’s his chance  to earn it …. and my closet?  My closet looks exactly the same as it did.

And I know I should care.  But I don’t.


Are you “shoulding” on yourself, too?  What “shoulds” can you replace with “want tos?”

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Random, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “Time to stop “shoulding” on myself

  1. Great post!! I have a long list of “shoulds”, too, but I’ve gotten really good at shoving all of it aside.

    Love that you’re taking time to exercise!! I walk (almost) every morning 30-45 minutes. When I went for my check-up last month, and my doctor listened to my heart, he commented: “you must exercise”. He could tell just by how strong my heart sounds! Now that’s incentive to get up and walk every morning!!

    And I can relate to the closet…..

    • I love how it makes me feel but I really love how good I sleep!! Good on you, Dianna, for getting such a good report from your Doctor :). That’s simply awesome!


  2. Great post! I think so many of us live our life consumed with “shoulding.” I like your approach. I think I’ll take the same approach toward exercising!

  3. Excellent life reminder… again. Keep up the great work on exercising. And every night when you go to bed you ‘should’ give yourself credit for taking care of yourself that day. The closet? Meh. It should remain low on the priority list. (smile)

    • Lenore, you are so funny. I loved the “meh” comment – so true. I figured – “hey, that’s what closet doors are for!!”

      Cheers! MJ

  4. cooper

    The forward shoulds have some chance of falling into healthy habits. It’s the “should haves” that are deadly poison and need to be eliminated at all costs.

    You are good enough every day…no matter what your shoulds whisper…

    • Ooh good point on the “should haves,” Coop. I try not to listen to those too much but you’re right .. they’re deadly.

      Thanks for the affirmations. I love how exercise makes me feel and I just completed my “personal best” post foot surgery on the treadmill … whee!! Cheers MJ

  5. Emjay…sometimes I wonder if you are a life coach. Have you been trained as that? You have that kind of encouraging, natural way of being. Keep it up!

    • Hey wouldn’t that be fun? I am not .. I am simply me, just plodding my way through life. But I thank you dearly for thinking of me that way, as I always wanted to be a teacher. 😉 Thanks for making me smile!! MJ

  6. I have a lot of ‘shoulds’ that are in my head…and I try to let them go or move them aside, but being the worry wart that I am. It doesn’t help this process. I have started exercising again, but now gotta watch what I eat (which I’m still having problems with)

    Good job on shoving the ‘shoulds’ aside. I hope to get to shoving my ‘shoulds’ to the side also…but baby steps. :0)

    • Absolutely on the baby steps .. I look at it like this… I didn’t gain the extra lbs overnight so it’s probably a little unrealistic to think I would lose them all .. this week!! On the eating part, for me what helps is writing it down. When I’m mindful, I do better. Thankfully I love fresh fruits & veggies so that’s easy for me .. it’s the popcorn at the movies that I have to work to moderate.

      I’ll keep going if you do!! Cheers, MJ

      • yes…moderation. My weekness is pizza. I love pizza…and sweets. But I do love fruits and some veggies. I have not tried all, but wanting to and soon, but I have to get a small amount cause my husband isn’t a veggie person at all and I don’t want all that to go to waste.

        Yes most definitely will be continuing. :0)

      • My Mom had a big garden when I was a kid and I attribute my enjoyment of (most) veggies to her influence. And fresh fruit … mmmm!! You’re right to go small .. and try different recipes & spices. It makes all the difference!! Cheers MJ

  7. Oh I know this technique well! I have a little voice inside my head that reminds me of all the things I need to do, and here I sit, spending time on line, ignoring the list! Sometimes I am successful at choosing, and sometimes not. But I like it when I am intentional and deliberate about life, rather than living primarily in a mode of reaction.

    Good luck with the exercise program! This is an ongoing battle for me too. Maybe I’ll be inspired to ride my bike in the morning instead of sitting with a second cup of coffee!



    • “I like it when I am intentional and deliberate about life.” Well said. I know that there’s always something to do, it’s figuring out which ones truly are necessary and which ones are just “noise” that I battle with.

      As for the bike, ride it whenever it works for you!! I would do my cardio in the morning but my spare bedroom (where the treadmill is) is right above the youngest’s room .. and he’s on summer break. I’m not going to get in there and start clanging away at 5:00 AM but I WILL do my “8 min in the morning” weights routine and then the cardio after work. If it’s nice out (not too hot) I will work out outside, otherwise I am really glad for the treadmill (( that I bought 3 years ago and hardly used in the last 2!!))

      Enjoy your morning coffee … cheers!! MJ

  8. Yay for EXERCISE and for doing something for YOURSELF! Two of my favorite things 🙂

    • You are my inspiration, Caroline!! I am not weighing myself… rather I am feeling the difference. I feel my arms tightening … it’s a beautiful thing. Cheers! MJ

  9. Another thoughtful post, MJ…I think we all do the “should” thing. I WANT to do more things for myself, but the stuff I SHOULD do seems to be getting in the way!


  10. Pingback: Self-sabotage or something else? | Emjayandthem's Blog

  11. Pingback: No watering the weeds | Emjayandthem's Blog

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