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It is actually pretty good advice! Many of the “shoulds” in our lives suck the energy right out of us. When we think of what we “should” do, it is often accompanied by great de-motivation, frustration, and a sense of dread. Our shoulds can control our minds resulting in a lack of peace, contentment, and happiness.

When you put a SHOULD on anything, it becomes an obligation, a chore that you must begrudgingly do. Most of our “shoulds,” “oughts” and “musts” are things that we don’t own, and frankly would never want to. They make life painful, causing anxiety, stress, worry and strife.

The good news is that you no longer have to be enslaved by “shoulds”. By tweaking your vocabulary, you can give yourself more choice and ownership in your life. When you start living by what you WANT instead of what you “should”, your life can be more free, fulfilling, joyful, easy, and abundant!


What are the “shoulds” in your own life regarding who you are to be? Write down your 5-10 biggest “shoulds”.

  • I should be more organized.

  • I should lose some weight.

  • I should exercise.

  • I should be making more money.

  • I should have a nicer car, house, boat ...

  • I should be in a stable relationship / married by now.

  • I should be a better parent.

  • I should be more successful.


What is behind each of your shoulds? WHY should I?

Write down what is behind each of your “shoulds”.

  • Other people’s expectations - “because my boss / spouse / parent / friend said this is the way it must be”

  • Obligations (whether real or imagined)

  • Your fears

  • Society’s demands

  • Your own demands of being at a certain level

  • Traveling on that guilt trip


How can you change your words so that your vocabulary serves you?

It is more empowering to say:

  • “I could … (insert your should), if I wanted to.”

  • “I prefer …”

  • “I would like it better”

  • “It could be better if I exercise.”

  • “Next time I will do …”

  • “I’ve decided I don’t have to …”

  • or admit that you honestly don’t want to do …

Somehow a few simple tweaks can change your mindset regarding your situation. It gives you the possibility that you have a choice of whether you want to do something or not. Re-writing your shoulds makes you aware of the fact that you have options. It can take away the guilt and free you from thinking you have to do things that you don’t want to do. It can also inspire you to accomplish what you want.


Decide what you want and embrace the life you want to live!

  • Maybe you do want to exercise. Instead of thinking you “must” go to the gym, perhaps you want go for a walk or a bike ride instead.

  • Perhaps you “should” be successful (which means earning 6 figures). Now that you’ve discovered that success to you actually means spending more time with friends and family, you have freed yourself of expectations and long nights at the office.

Discover your shoulds so that you can eliminate them and replace them with what you want in life!

Carpe Diem!

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