It’s all about “shoulds.”
If your #1 motivating factor is “I should do this,” your quest for bettering your life will never get off the ground—or, if it does, it will either be short-lived or built on a foundation of negativity that will ultimately be your undoing.
Now, as I have laid out in my semi-satirical post “5 Dysfunctional Yet Effective Methods For Radical Self-Improvement,” you can use shoulds—what I refer to as the “Pernicious Fear Of Social Ostracism”—as an effective and quick method of getting your ass in gear. Because all “shoulds” ultimately have their origin in something outside of yourself—the expectations of various aspects of Society.
The “should,” in other words, is born of fear—fear of being publicly shamed, fear of being cast out of the clan, and even just the fear of simple criticism from someone whose opinion you hold highly (most often, parents).
But in my experience, the most consistent changes I have implemented to better my life have not come from shoulds. Instead, they sprang organically from cultivating a completely different attitude towards life.
And that cultivation took time. It took self-reflection, it took research, it took practice, it took gently pushing myself past my limits. It was the result of a multi-factor basic desire to improve my life—not a specific obsession with my weight or with money or anything like that. It was a mission, to be sure…but an open-ended, flexible mission with an ultimate goal just to lead a better life.
You have to get to a point where it’s natural that you would want to keep to a regular schedule at the gym—not because of your hatred of the way you presently look, but because it just feels good to do. And then you don’t focus on the numbers on the scale, you are just working out because it feels like a naturally positive thing to do.
When you “flip the switch” on your outlook on life—and might take months or even years for that switch to finally make it from “off” to “on”—gravitating to these healthier life choices becomes not this gritty life-or-death struggle, but simply the most natural next step.
That’s why if you are looking to make improvements in your life, I’d advise you to contextualize it as embarking on a journey—the Grand Journey Of Your Life. Give yourself the permission to go on this journey, to reach out for the resources to assist you, to allow yourself to be amazed, to make it this fabulous thing.
Whereas if you just go along with “should”…you can already feel the stuck energy with that as you read the word, and you say the word to yourself.
“Should” or “Fabulous Journey.” It’s your choice.
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
5 Dysfunctional Yet Effective Methods For Radical Self-Improvement
Small Changes Lead To Big Changes
10 Low-Cost (Or No-Cost) Resources For Self-Improvement