Are You “Shoulding” on Yourself? – Living your life the way you want

 In Better Life, Goals

Are you shoulding on yourself?  Are your dreams, goals, and the way you live your daily life truly YOUR choices?  Or are they things you think you should be doing and pursuing?  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference because we’re so used to doing what we think is expected of us, AND it can be scary to break from the norm and take our own path. What if others in our life don’t approve?  For some, this is less of an issue than for others.  But for those of us “people pleasers” (you know who you are) it’s a major obstacle.  We need to politely say “Thank you very much for your advice, your suggestions, your ideas, but this is my life, my dreams and not yours.”

What’s interesting is other people don’t even have to TELL us their opinions to influence our decisions.  All we have to do is imagine what their thinking.  Many of our biggest shoulds are those we create in our own minds.  For example, I can imagine certain family or friends thinking I should get another job as a scientist in biotechnology instead of pursuing a career as a speaker and having my own company.  I can imagine they think it’s too risky with too many unknowns, and it doesn’t make sense when I could have a job with a stable income and health insurance.  I could easily let these imagined opinions influence my choices so I have to remind myself that I need to be sure my decisions align with MY priorities and dreams.

I’ve noticed that shoulding doesn’t just happen in the work part of my life.  It also shows up in the financial, spiritual, family, and health areas.  I’m beginning to notice that when something just doesn’t feel right in one of these areas, it’s a good idea to ask myself if it’s because I’m struggling with a should.

Take a moment to think about the different parts of your own life.  Do you notice any shoulds that are getting in the way of your dreams or the life you want?  What needs to change?


Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge.  She uses science to help people shift the way they think so they can achieve more success in their work and in their lives.  

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