Slaying the Shoulds

I'm buried under a pile of shoulds and can't get out. Seriously, my friends, isn't it about time we stop feeling overwhelmed by all the things we think we ought to be doing?

Every day, I have a list of all the things I should be getting done. And then, at the end of the day, I beat myself up for not finishing them all. Sound familiar?

I should put away the holiday decorations.
I should take down the Christmas lights.
I should go to the gym.
I should be eating better (said while popping whoppers in my mouth)
I should have run this morning (it was raining!)
I should be more focused.
I should clean the bathrooms.
I should be dating (that's a whole 'nother topic)
I should be writing another LinkedIn post.
I should cut down on Facebook time.
I should be helping with homework more.
I should be arranging a playdate (my god, they're teens already!)

Mind you, I could continue this list indefinitely. The shoulds are taking over my world and frankly, I'm suffocating. This I know: The list of shoulds in your life should NOT overwhelm you. They should not give you anxiety. They should not paralyze you.

"Hey SHOULD, Don't stress me out!"

If you too are dying a slow painful death by obligations, let's unite and decide: enough already. It's time for us to come up with a new list. A list of things that REALLY matter that we should be doing each day.

Here we go...

1. I should thank the universe when I wake up alive each day. Seriously, let's analyze this one. Do you know what a major miracle it is our unique soul was born into our physical body and that we are graced to be alive for whatever amount of time we have on this planet? A HUGE miracle. So the mere fact we wake up in the morning blessed to live another day is freakin' amazing. Have gratitude.

2. I should be kind. Simple. Digestible. Though when situations get ucky and people get nasty, this one is difficult. Despite that, you and I should do our best to be kind to others. This includes loved ones (who we often are the most not kind to), co-workers (yes, even the jerk ones), children, strangers, pretty much everyone who crosses your path.

3. I should be healthy. Reference back to the miracle of life in point 1. We only get one body to last us a very long time. Treat it well.

4. I should do my best. This last one covers your entire to-do list. Everything I need to get done in my day will fall into place if I go at it knowing I will do my best. Not my half-best, not my sorta-best, my absolute best. When I am my best, I am productive - that's when the decorations get put away, the house gets picked up, the run gets fits in. Operating from a "this is my best" mindset keeps you motivated and certainly keeps you from beating yourself up at the end of the day. Knowing that giving your best is enough, is enough.

Imagine every night you had to sign in blood (ok, maybe just a red sharpie); imagine you had to do a daily sign off that you did your absolute best. Could you sign a big fat yes? Hmmm. I'm currently at a maybe, working on a yes :). How about you?

Let's agree there'll be no more shoulds that drain and paralyze. Our shoulds from here on out will serve to uplift and fulfill us. Knowing we'll live each day being thankful, being kind, living healthy and doing our best, I'm pretty sure that's all that matters.

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