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With the new year upon us, we all want to better ourselves. That’s what a New Year’s resolution is right? I way to improve upon our flaws. I recently read an article about negative thinking and ways to avoid it and one of the tips talked about the shoulds. This was an interesting idea considering it was the start of a new year. Everything in January from articles to talk shows to our daily conversations are covered in shoulds. I should lose weight. I should eat healier. I should stop wasting time. I should get outside more.

The tip was to avoid the shoulds. All they do is add more stress and guilt to your life. I know for me, the shoulds start to weigh heavy as they start to make me feel inadequate when I don’t successfully incorporate them into daily life. Hell, life is already so busy that guilt comes with or without the shoulds. I read another funny article by Dan Pearce, author of the blog Single Dad Laughing, where he talks about “shoulding all over yourself” and what a negative toll it takes on us. Everyone does it. But how many of us realize it?

My biggest problem with the shoulds is that I use them against myself as a mother. I should be teaching my two-year-old letter recognition. I should be teaching my four-year-old how to read before he gets to kindergarten. I should be cooking healthy and complete dinners every night. I shouldn’t let my kids watch more than an hour of TV. I have a lot of shoulds when it comes to my boys.

As a result, it is my New Year’s resolution to avoid the shoulds. No more thinking that I should start doing this or I should stop doing that. From now on I will focus on the present. If I have a chance to fit a yoga session into my day, great! If I don’t, then no sweat. I can try again tomorrow. No more thinking, “I shouldn’t eat that entire box of hot tamales.” If I do, then oh well. Now it’s gone and I won’t eat it tomorrow.

Now that I’m thinking about getting rid of all of these shoulds, I’m starting to feel relief.  Of course it will take some practice in mind control, but if relief is already on the horizon imagine how much better getting rid of all the shoulds will feel!