We’re 7 days into the new year, and if you’ve made a resolution, chances are, you haven’t made good on it. I’m not calling failure, but that’s generally what happens.
I’m not one to make a “resolution”, mainly for the point above. If you get to February (or even this week) and you haven’t committed to your resolution already, you give up. Instead, I opt for “resolutions” that are long-lasting and continual.
I learned a lot in 2012 – motherhood does that to you, I think. As a planner and organizer of many things, I’ve learned that things and plans don’t always go the way they should, and that’s ok. In fact, I think it’s what makes you stronger – the ability to act in the face of adversity or challenge or struggle.
I’ve learned that as a society, we like to criticize, to advise, to speak sometimes without filters. And if you’re like me, you don’t like when someone tells you what to do. You’re often left to feel unworthy or wrong.
And so, here’s my continual resolution. I actually started a while ago, and continue to live this way.
Stop using the word should in various situations.
“I should really lose 10 pounds.”
“We should really visit our grandparents.”
“You should take your kid to a doctor.”
“You shouldn’t feed him that.”
“You should wear a sweater.”
“We should eat healthier.”
You get my point. Should is really a useless word – it implies that there’s a better way to do something, and you’re not doing it. It also places blame – either on yourself or on someone else. In most cases, you already know what should be happening. The ‘ol “shoulda, coulda, woulda” comes to mind.
Instead of should-ing, try replacing the word with something a bit gentler. I learned this strategy at an education conference I attended in 2011 and it has stuck with me since. I’m not saying eliminating should in all instances, but specifically in areas of negative or imposing connotations.
(ie. You/He should lose some weight can be replaced by offers like Would you like my recipe for x? or I’d like to start working out again – would you like to join me? or I think we can all start eating healthier, etc.)
Even when offering simple advice, the should can be adjusted. (ie. When you go to Australia, you should really see the Great Barrier Reef can easily become I really think you’d love the Great Barrier Reef on your trip to Australia).
If you take note of how many times you say “should”, you’ll notice it’s a lot. And if you make a real effort to stop, you may notice people respond differently to you. You’ll also start to pay attention to how many times others use the word, and how it all of a sudden will have an impact on you.
I think the world could stand to get a little nicer, more generous, more kind to one another. Maybe the way we speak to one another can help.
Happy New Year everyone!