Have you ever been faced with a chore you’re dreading? Of course you have! And you’ve probably put it off thinking, “I should do my laundry,” or “I should do the dishes.” But how convinced are you? Are you jumping up to do the dishes right now? Probably not. And that’s because should just isn’t motivating. Instead of propelling you forward, it acts as a weight, slowing you down.
During the new year, internal struggles like this tend to come to the forefront. Setting goals for the new year is a great idea, but how do we put them into practice? How do we get to that space of acting instead of merely thinking (and then sometimes berating, when we don’t do the things we think we should do)?
Good Feet spoke to Margaret Evans, Portland, Oregon based Licensed Professional Counselor, to learn how to transcend old habits and break into being your best you this new year. She explains how shoulds have no positive energy behind them. They drain time, energy, and resources.
For example, maybe you think “I should get more exercise this year.” Dive into this phrase and examine it. Why do you feel this way? Many people make getting more exercise a new year’s resolution because they want to feel healthier. And that want, according to Margaret, is at the crux of personal growth. A want has energy behind it, and by reframing your thoughts, you’ll be able to turn your wants into achievements. Think: “I want to exercise so I can keep healthy.” Or, “I want to exercise so I can go on a hiking trip.”
Then, take it a step further and put yourself–and your goal–in the present. The next time you’re considering going to the gym or taking a hike, make it clear to yourself that the activity isn’t something you should do, it’s something you choose to do because you want to. Say, “I choose to go to the gym today because I want to feel invigorated.” Or “I choose to take a walk because being healthy feels good.” You can also say, “I enjoy eating healthy because it makes me feel better.”
By reframing your language and putting yourself and your goal in the present, you’re not just planning to achieve, you ARE achieving. Now, what do you choose to accomplish this year?