Drop SHOULD from your vocabulary!

Updated: Jan 27, 2019


January 29, 2017 | Jen Hartnett-Orser



Especially around the start of a New Year, we hear the word 'Should' a LOT!    I ‘should’ start going to the gym….I ‘should’ start juicing/dieting/eating less sugar/drinking less wine/tackle that big project ….you get the picture!     And now that we are a few weeks into the year, many people have fallen away from those big lofty goals.  I’m absolutely NOT saying you shouldn’t set goals, exactly the opposite in fact, but I wanted to look at some of the language/behaviour around  how many of us live and interact with those things we’d ‘like’ to do.  

Why I’m dropping the word ‘Should’ from my vocab, and I think you SHOULD too!  

Here’s why I’m taking a stand against this word.  When I say I ‘should’ do something...it means I think I should, which means I likely feel a level of ‘guilt’ that I don’t currently do whatever this ‘thing’ is.



Examples of some of mine:  

I SHOULD blog more.  

I SHOULD work on building my home yoga practice.

I SHOULD go back to a ‘no refined sugar’ lifestyle.

I SHOULD start running.

I SHOULD be more patient.

I SHOULD go Vegetarian.

I SHOULD do meal prep every Sunday instead of farting around writing Blogs.  


When I have this thought, I feel guilt and immediately start generating how I can make this happen, quickly followed by either a swift forgetting, or excuses as to why I can’t do it today.   Also of note, this is something we usually say to other people in response to a question, or seeing them do something they do that you think you ‘should’ be doing.   So basically something you feel guilty for not doing.  


Here’s why this is crappy.  


Guilt begets guilt, and for me, leads to a cycle of feeling like I’ve failed, then  lowered self esteem, and generally feeling shizzy about myself!    AND… how many things are there that we all ‘SHOULD’ be doing??   And how many can we actually feasibly, successfully do all at once??   So if you ‘SHOULD’ madly off in all directions, you can quickly end up faltering, forgetting, falling off the wagon, and feeling a sense of failure and guilt.   And I DON’T think you SHOULD feel that way.  


See what I did there??    

So here’s what I’m up to….


NO more ‘should’  Either I decide that I WILL, or WON’T do something.

If I WANT to do something, I can dedicate the time, effort and focus it will take to do it.  If I’d ‘like’ to someday do it, I can say ‘I”m not working on that right now, but it’s something I would like to do in the future!’   If it’s NOT a priority to me,  I don’t have to do it.  EVER!  

We can’t do it all.  At least not all at once!  And it’s OKAY to say it’s not a priority for me, or hey, not say anything at all!       

Even changing the language around this changes the dynamic….allowing the space to set things aside for the future, or powerfully decide you don’t want to focus on this....it takes all the guilt/shame/failure/shizziness out of the equation!

If you find that you’re ‘SHOULDING’ yourself...make a list...of ALLLL the things you SHOULD do.  And then scrub it….by this I mean, take a pen (or some fancy coloured markers/highlighters!! I DO so love my office supplies!) and be ruthless!!!    Go through and decide...what’s a RIGHT NOW priority...what’s a NEAR FUTURE priority, and what’s a SOMEDAY priority….heck, maybe you can even cross some things off completely!  (Cross Fit.. and Downhill skiing - both off my list for good, incidentally!)    


Make new lists….

I AM doing….

I WILL DO in the next (choose a time frame)...

I WOULD LIKE TO SOMEDAY…

Focus your attention on the I AM list, and do those things with all your heart!     Notice that you can then instantly let go of any guilt about a) doing it all RIGHT NOW and b) have laser focus on your top priorities!  


So please, the next time you see me, ask me what I'm working on! I”d love to share with you!  And if you ask me about training for a 5k, I’ll happily tell you it’s something I’d like to do, at some point in the future!!!  

I AM...

Getting 6+ hours of sleep each night

Focusing on my Essential Oil and Yoga Biz

Committed to a self-care/self-love routine that supports my health and wellness

Practicing Yoga 3x per week minimum

Consciously turning off electronics during conversations with my loved ones



I WILL soon (within the next year - some timelines are tied to specific dates/action items)

Take Refined Sugar back out of my life

Learn to adapt my diet to accommodate any food sensitivities identified in recent testing  

Book a SOLO trip

Begin a Couch to 5k style program

Streamline my wardrobe to make mornings easier



I would like to someday…

Travel to Western Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil and many others

Own a ‘Palm Tree’ Property

Be a ‘Runner’  

Understand politics better

Help my children buy their first homes

Be Published



Now, I WILL get off my laptop, and go about my new bedtime routine, because  I AM focused on getting a minimum of 6 hours of sleep every night!    (shooting for 7+ tonight...wheeeeee!!!!)  

I’d love to hear your lists, if you’d like to share them!!  *(and not because you SHOULD!)    

J~