May 17, 2011

Are You "Should'ing" All Over Yourself?

Celebrate who you are and what you have
now, without a life full of "shoulds" and
you, too, could be drinking wine and
linking arms at a fancy restaurant!
Are you a "should'er"? Do you start your day off with a good "should" or two? It usually sounds like this, "I should get that done" or "I should be able to find the time".  I do believe that "should'ing" is hazardous to our health.  Take a previous client of mine, Kelly (of course her name is changed to protect her innocence).  Kelly started her quest for lifestyle change by telling me she would make an appointment to see me when things settle down. This went for about 2 months or so and every time she saw me in the hallway.  Her next step in the change process was an initial appointment and discussion around eating and exercise habits. Homework included writing down everything she ate for a week and coming back to discuss.  When Kelly came back for the second meeting, she had forgotten her booklet (a sign, to me, that things were starting to unravel).

After not hearing from her for weeks, Kelly made another two appointments which were cancelled shortly after they were made.  Again, weeks went by without hearing from her until last week when I received a call for another appointment in the beginning of the week.  This time, I was stood up...and so goes the personal torment of "should'ing".  There is a huge gaping hole between knowing what we "should" do and actually doing it. If the hole is big enough there will be more reasons to not show up for an appointment than there are to be there.  Personally, I do this with my dental visits....I always find a reason why I need to reschedule (need to kill a spider, change a light bulb, stick my duvet in the duvet cover - that can take hours).

Unfortunately, Kelly represents so many others who have great intentions to make a change but the psychology of change just gets in the way leading to one cancellation after another.  One major contributor of the "shoulds" is stress.  If one is dealing with the chronic stress that comes with a job, a relationship, or a life event, I strongly suggest against embarking on a lifestyle change. Deal with the stress and all the icky things that come with it (insomnia, emotional eating, and fatigue are my personal favorites) first and then consider a lifestyle change program.

Let your next weekend be "should-less" and celebrate
by sitting in a really big martini glass drinking a
really good martini (dress and stilettos optional)!
"Should'ing" all over yourself only creates more stress, feelings of disappointment and frustration as one good intention fails after the other.  I know I "should" be writing when I'm watching the sixth (and final) season of Nip/Tuck. I know I "should" be cleaning the house as I sit and fiddle with my photography apps on my iPhone.  I know I "should" eat more veggies at dinner but chose popcorn instead.  "Should'ing" does us no good. Therefore, may I suggest that we let go of the "shoulds" and allow ourselves to do what it is we need to do at that time (realizing that we all have responsibilities in life and we can't always put things off until tomorrow).  The next time you feel a "should" coming on, take a deep breath, ask yourself if it is something that needs to get done, and release it into the atmosphere, and do what you need to do to keep yourself sane (even if it includes a trashy celebrity reality show and a bucket of KFC). Real life health is about balance and (sometimes) a part of balance includes those days when eating from a wide variety of vegetables and getting your daily physical activity is the last thing on your stressed out mind.

That's all I got.


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