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November 2016- Can dropping the word ‘should’ make you happier?

If you are someone who speaks to yourself using the words Should, Must or Ought to then you probably find that you spend a lot of your time doing things because it feels as though not to do them would be wrong, and not always because you want to do them. Sound at all familiar? Here is something you can do this month to change that.

Think of live as being made up of things you have NO CHOICE but to do and things you do have a CHOICE about. When doing so use a very strict criteria to identify where the things in your life would sit. NO CHOICE things are things that are a matter of life and death or will result in you breaking the law and being sent to jail. These are the only things you an use the words ‘Should, Must or Ought to’ for.

CHOICE things are, well, everything else! The words to use for these things are ‘Prefer, Like or Want’. So for example, you receive an email at the start of the day and are too busy to respond straight away. Just before leaving work that night you remember and think ‘I must reply to that email!’ You are tired and hungry and want to go home. First think ‘Will anyone die or will I be arrested if I don’t reply today?’ That will help you to identify if it is a no choice or choice matter. It is most likely in this situation that you realise you have choice about replying to the email. If it is not in regards to something that needs to be attended to urgently then you have a choice about when you will reply. Reply right then because you ‘prefer, would like or want to’ or go home and leave it until the next day to respond.

Saying that you ‘prefer, would like or want to’ do something will make the task seem like less of a chore. Do this and you will find that there are very few things in life you ‘should must or ought to’ do. There are of course many things in life that it is important to get done but hopefully you will be able to engage in them with more motivation and vigour.

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