==== ON “SHOULD” ====
“You know what you should do don’t you?”
“Of course! I know what I SHOULD do . . .
. . . yet I don’t DO it.”
Why does this happen?
Why don’t we do what we know we should do but still don’t do?!
Because “should” is based on NEEDS.
And we don’t ACT on needs . . . we act on WANTS.
When someone tells you what you SHOULD do . . . they’re telling you what you NEED to do.
They’re implying you need to do it . . . IF you want to get what you say you want.
Trouble is . . . it’s not “your” decision.
If not yours . . . then WHOSE?
It’s your BRAIN’S decision.
Now yes, of course, “you are your brain” . . . except that you’re not . . . not really.
Because your brain is busy with one top priority job . . . keeping you alive, keeping you safe.
You, on the other hand, are full of dreams, ideas, flights of fancy.
And the darker thoughts too, of course . . . the fears, the anxieties, the uncertainties.
So your brain wants to simplify things . . . it works better (surprisingly) when it doesn’t need to . . . think.
So it creates patterns . . . habits . . . routines.
What do they look like?
In simplest terms . . . they protect you from doing stuff that you don’t really enjoy (because those feel “unsafe”) . . . and make you feel good about doing things you DO enjoy (“safe”).
What about willpower?
You don’t NEED willpower when you’re doing stuff you enjoy.
And your brain just LOVES that you enjoy it . . . and will do anything it can to help you do MORE of that stuff.
What do you enjoy doing?
Eating foods that are bad for you? Getting an adrenaline rush from something thrilling? Watching your favourite program? Spending time with people you love?
Whatever it is . . . you WANT to do it.
Not necessarily NEED to . . . you WANT to.
What happens with those things you NEED to do . . . but don’t ENJOY doing?
Task displacement therapy?
“About time I got around to the cleaning . . . now?”
We all do it . . . it’s called “being human”.
So when you’re not doing things you SHOULD be doing . . . figure out what you WANT rather than NEED.
When you WANT a particular outcome . . . doing what’s necessary becomes more positively associated . . . and needs much less willpower. The “should” becomes “will”.
And if you DON’T want that outcome. . . you can happily let go of the “should” . . . because it turns out you don’t need it!
Oh, and when you find yourself giving “should” advice . . . whether to someone else or yourself . . . remember it’s only helpful when it’s connected to a WANT.
Let’s have less shoulding all over the place.