If you really think about it, the word ‘should’ actually kind of sucks. Seriously. 99.9% of the time, when you say you SHOULD be doing something, or SHOULD be going somewhere, you don’t really want to, am I right? Should makes enjoyable tasks into a chore, and it puts unnecessary pressure and expectations on yourself. Let’s put this into the perspective of health, fitness, and body image.
Be honest: how many times have you caught yourself saying “I should go to the gym” or “I should go for a run” ? I bet its more than you realized. Should turns your workout into something that you want to do because you enjoy it, into something you have to do because your punishing yourself. And when you’re miserable and discouraged, it isn’t long before eventually, you resent the gym and everything it sands for. You’re going to throw up a big ol’ middle finger and say “whats the point?” This even extends into comparing yourself to other people. By saying “I should be doing X workout”, or “I should be working out X amount of time”, you’re defeating the whole purpose of why we decide to be active: to stay healthy.
The same thing goes for our diet. Im really guilty of this. Any time I occasionally find myself elbow deep in a bag of tortilla chips, I automatically think, “I should eat healthier”, or especially because I’m a nutrition major: “I should know better”. But obviously no one eats healthy all of the time, its literally impossible. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I love food. Like, everything about it. And by attaching “should” to what I eat just sucks the enjoyment right out of it. So eat the pizza, love it, live a little, and MOVE ON.
Body image is probably where I struggle the most with “should”. For a really long time, I felt like I “should” look so much better for how healthy I was eating and how much I was working out. Comparing myself to other girls around me, ones I saw at the gym, or even the ones on Instagram (hello, filters make everyones muscles look awesome AF). I was creating this unattainable, unrealistic goal. And I think this happens to a lot of us. We need to stop measuring ourselves up to other people, stop thinking we “should” look a certain way, and start accepting our body’s set point. Trust me, been there, done that, and it really doesn’t get you anywhere besides miserable.
So take a look at how much you use “should” to tear yourself down, or make yourself feel less. Reducing the amount that we use “should” statements reduces added stress to our lives, and is actually a freeing experience. The only exception? You SHOULD love yourself and feel totally awesome in your own skin.