I should be eating healthy. I should not eat that. I should have lost more weight by now. I should start exercising. Have you fallen into the habit of trying to motivate your weight loss efforts with "should" statements? You might not see anything out of place with these statements. However, you might be surprised to learn that should statements backfire over the long-term.

Should statements generate unnecessary emotional turmoil. When the reality of your own behavior falls short of your intentions, your should's and shouldn'ts create guilt, self-loathing, and frustration. Should statements don't work because they are pain-based, and in the long run, most people tend to avoid painful experiences. We are wired to minimize pain and maximize pleasure. Simply put, motivation that includes should and shouldn't statements will most likely fail.

What happens when you say, "I should lose weight?" Chances are you now created a heavy emotional burden. Just because you "should" be exercising, doesn't mean it's a part of your routine. Just because you "shouldn't" be that extra helping, doesn't mean you're not eating it when no one is looking. These statements shout loud and clear "I should, but I don't want to!" It is not only that you do not want to, but also that you will not.

Most likely, you get up every morning optimistic, with a new plan of what you should do today, what your menu should look like, what you shouldn't binge on, and when you should go work out. On the outside, you may think your should statements will inspire you to move you toward your goals. However, on the inside you can already sense the heaviness beginning to grow. Should statements imply that there is a set of external rules that demands how your behavior, choices, or actions are supposed to be. These are not the rules you want to follow, but the rules you should be following. Should ultimately translates into "I don't think so!" as choice is replaced by obligation. Should statements make you feel pressured, resentful, and rebellious. As a result, you respond with resistance and defiance, and follow the urge to do just the opposite.

Should statements fail to connect with the clarity and joy of choosing to do the work of achieving a certain desire or goal. They pull us from our center and from the joy of taking care of ourselves. Notice how many times a day you say "I should do this," or "I shouldn't do that." How does it feel to say those words? Notice if your should statements fuel desire and passion, or if they generate resistance and resentment. As you attempt to create change, are you filled with a loving perspective? Alternatively, do your rules seem punitive?

What can you do instead of using "should" to drive up desire and motivation? Become aware of what you really want, as opposed to doing what you think you should be doing. Every time you hear yourself saying, "I should . . .", replace your statement with a conscious choice and say "I choose to . . ." or, "I choose not to . . ." Be responsible to yourself for your choices and you'll feel a ton better. Creating distinctions in the subtleties of your language can lead to a major shift in inspired, energetic, and long-term motivation!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help you take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, and move beyond depression into an extraordinary life! Annette is the author of Your Highest Potential and has the unique ability to show you how to spark an amazing relationship with your life! Visit www.LovingMiracles.com
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