Stop "Should-ing" on Yourself...
This blog post is a turn from my usual updates about writing. It’s more about habits and state of mind. It’s also about learning to let go.
Before Christmas, I had an “event” that affected my mobility. I’m not going to go into it, because that’s not the point of my post. Many people every day suffer more than I did, but it impacted my day-to-day thinking, And here’s how.
I’m a very goal-oriented person. Most people wonder how I get everything done in a day, but more recently I realized that even though I get a lot done, I’m not very kind to myself. At the end of the day, I lament over all I should have done rather than celebrating all I’ve accomplished. So instead of going to bed excited for the next day, I think “you didn’t get a great workout in; you didn’t read 50 pages; you didn’t get the word count you wanted. "
I have a horrible habit of “should-ing” all over myself. All day, my brain reminds me what I SHOULD be doing and sometimes it prevents me from enjoying what I am doing. I know I need to stop “should-ing” over myself and get rid of those rules that bind me. I should have got more done. I should have worked out. Often this is type A high achieving stuff, but it comes with loads of guilt.
While I realize I have let it go of some of my shoulds, it’s hard to change behaviors. So I’m taking a page out of neuropsychologist, Dr. Judy Ho’s, book. She says that in order to change thought behaviors; you need to catch the thought, check it, and change it. She uses the framework:
So, for example, I was feeling bad last night because I didn’t accomplish all my goals yesterday. I caught my thought and checked it. Here’s how I changed it:
Yes, I didn't get through the pages I want to but I sent out my newsletter and finished my interview questions and I went to bed at a decent time so I’ll have more energy tomorrow.
It doesn’t come naturally to me, but for my sanity, I’m going to attempt this mind shift and I’m going to lay off myself just a bit. I encourage you to do the same. Here’s to being a little kinder to ourselves in the new year.
Read & Write Dangerously
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