I do love the feeling of accomplishment after procrastination. I do produce good work at the last minute. Go me. But I suffer when I procrastinate in other areas of my life. Like, putting off going to the doctor. Or putting off self-care. Or putting off relationships and connections.
“I should meditate”
“I should call and make the appointment”
“I should go for a walk”
“I should reach out to so-and-so”
I woke up before my alarm Thursday and thought “I should just get up”. So I did. I wasn’t well Wednesday. I awoke with, yet another, headache that I couldn’t get to go away. It made me physically ill, stealing almost eight hours of my day. I was agitated because I was feeling like shit. Not 6 days before I had awoke to same thing. The gap between headaches is narrowing and it’s weighing on me. The good news is that I’m taking steps to figure it all out because instead of putting this on the to-do list I actually took action. We won’t talk about how long it took to take action.
Back to Thursday morning. After getting out of bed I thought I “should” go out on the deck and take in the cool quiet morning, reflect on how I’m feeling better today. After a brief internal struggle, I did. A little gratitude goes a long way. Then I thought I “should” do yoga outside instead of the living room; gratitude that winter has passed. And I tried to talk myself out of it then settled on doing it. I had a great day Thursday and I believe it’s because of how I started my day. Friday was the same.
Sometimes it’s just hard to execute for many reasons; fear, lack of motivation, unsure of the payoff, self-consciousness, general laziness. If we want to achieve goals or make changes we need to remove the word “should” from our vocabulary.
I think a lot. I execute more than I did historically but not enough. I think of kind things I “should” say to people. Like complimenting another’s shoes that I’m admiring. Then I don’t because I think ‘I don’t know this person’ and blah, blah, blah. All silly reasons. I get stuck on a hamster wheel inside my head. I think about a person and wonder if they are doing ok but never reach out. I let the “should” win and never deliver. Connections. People need connections. All people. I “should” say the kind things I’m thinking because they may deliver on a connection; a connection that person may be in need of or a connection I may need.
“Should” is everywhere. It’s present in making the tiniest decisions on what to do next, its present in taking steps to betterment, to achieving goals, to wellness, to relationships. It’s there all the time. Awareness of the “should” is the first step in removing it as an obstacle. I’ve been executing on the “should” for five years. Some big things, some small. Not everyone has always liked my choices (and for a person with anxiety recovering from people pleasing, that’s a tough thing to endure) but all of them have taught me valuable lessons, moved me forward and are part of the person I am today.
Over time, I’ve narrowed the gap between thinking and follow-through. I’ve turned “I should” into “I’m doing”. Sometimes it takes a while to make the transition from “should” to “do” and sometimes I am unable to make it happen. When I do, I celebrate the wins. I give myself a high-five! That’s right – sure as shit, I am high-fiving myself all day! Because I am my biggest fan and my worst critic. And when Fan-Girl wins a triumphant defeat over The Critic then I am celebrating the shit out of that moment! You “should” too!
Turn your “should” into “do” today. See what happens. Start small.