How many shoulds do you have in your life right now?

Shoulds are things you’ve wanted to do for quite awhile. They are on your to-do list today and chances are have been there for a long time. Things like:

  • I should lose 15 pounds.
  • I should eat better.
  • I should save more money.
  • I should try and find a new job.
  • I should see if I can turn this idea into a business.

The problem with shoulds is they are simply empty wishes. They are things we say because we feel we are supposed to say them. We read about them. We know they are important to us, so we say what’s expected of us.

Yet all shoulds are simply empty promises. We know we should lose 15 pounds. But when friends call to head out to the Cheesecake Factory, you can’t say no. You haven’t seen each other in weeks. You need to catch up. And you love the Cheesecake Factory.

Maybe tomorrow.

And the shoulds go on.

The only way to change a should into something that truly impacts your life is to give your shoulds more priority. Instead of being something you know you should do, it has to move to something you must do. When you have no choice, it moves to a whole different category. You do it because its who you are. You do it because that is what you stand for.

You take action. And your should gets done.

Let me give you an example.

I’m a writer. I love writing. I’ve written all kinds of books, articles training guides – you name it. Writing is my life.

Yet all of my writing has been about non-fiction. Its been self-help, business related material.

And I love writing what I do. I love the fact that I can make my living doing what I love … writing.

Yet a part of me always wanted to cross over to the fiction side of things. So fiction sat there on my to-do list month after month, year after year.

“I should write a fiction book.”

It has made my resolution list for the last three years. And it always makes it to the top of list. And there it sat.

Many things held me back. Including the questions I had raging inside. “What if it isn’t good enough?” “What I’m not meant to be a fiction writer?”

Two years ago I developed an outline for my fiction work. I had chapters defined, characters detailed out. Yep, I was ready to go. But still something help me back.

Then I made the decision to hold back no more. Our six week trip to Europe was meant to see a lot of things, and start a lot of things. And for me, it was a time to put my fiction plan into action. I turned my shoulds into musts. Instead of saying “I should write a fiction book”, I now happily report “I must finish my fiction book.”

Just that little kick has made all the difference.

When you move out of your comfort zone – for me out of my home office environment – you look at things differently.

At home I surfed a lot, played around a lot, planed a lot, worked on many other ideas. But I’m finding the one thing I lacked was action on one thing I truly wanted. Sure, I got all my work done every week. But I’m sure if I added it all up, I also wasted huge amounts of time doing nothing more than surfing.

In Europe, a lot of the sites I normally peruse don’t come up. I can’t read Italian or Spanish, so many of the sites that do come up are pointless to me. So I don’t click and I don’t surf.

I don’t watch television because I don’t speak Spanish or Italian. I know enough to function every day and to make my way through the locals. But a full blown conversation … forget it. So television is pointless. I don’t watch. And I have many more hours to do other things.

And that’s when I turned my should into a must.

I have extra time. I have the motivation. Why not? And the words flowed.

And my should turned into a must.

What’s holding you back from your musts?

Maybe its time to look at it a bit differently and add some action to it. Change your ideas from shoulds to musts. And put it into action. You’ll be amazed at the difference.