I should read more. I shouldn’t eat any dessert tonight. I should’ve worked out today. I should get a few more things done before bed…
Disclaimer: Huge thanks to Halo Top for supporting The Modest Man by sponsoring this post! Halo Top makes ice cream you can feel good about eating. It’s an excellent low calorie source of protein, and it’s delicious.
Plus, you can eat the whole pint and feel good about it. My favorite flavor is Caramel Macchiato. If you need a treat (you deserve it), go grab some Halo Top today!
If you’re anything like me, that little voice inside your head is constantly telling you what you should be doing or what you should have done.
Even on our best days, when we’re living according to our values, we often feel like we’re falling short.
Why are we so tough on ourselves? Why do we keep shoulding ourselves all the time?
Well, I’m not a psychiatrist, and I don’t know why it’s so easy to fall into this trap of self criticism.
But I’m here to challenge you to stop shoulding yourself.
Even if just for one week, or just in one specific area of your life…
How nice would that feel?
Here are three ways I’m trying to stop shoulding myself:
#1: I should get more done
I’m not exactly a productivity Jedi master. There are some days when I simply can’t focus and have a hard time creating anything.
But most days, I work a lot. There are some weeks when I’m working back to back 10-12 hour days, usually working toward some sort of deadline for a YouTube video or blog post.
Even during those weeks, though, I often hear that little voice creeping in at the end of the day, calling me lazy and highlighting all of the items still left on my to do list.
What gives? I had a super productive day, so why do I feel like I should keep working?
The thing is, as a self-employed individual, my work is never done. There’s always another video to work on or another brand to review. There’s always an old blog post that needs to be updated and bunch of unanswered emails collecting dust in my inbox.
And that’s okay. That’s just the nature of the beast!
On days like this, I usually just go back to my to do list and check off everything I did get done, which usually makes me feel better.
This helps me stop thinking “I should get more done” and start thinking “I’m done working for today, and I will relax now.”
And by relax, I mean rewatching my favorite Game of Thrones episodes with a pint of ice cream, which I may or may not finish in one sitting (don’t worry, it’s only 310 calories).
#2: I should be healthier
Who hasn’t felt guilty about eating dessert, or not eating enough vegetables, or not going to the gym often enough?
I’m pretty sure this is a universal human experience that spans time, space and culture…
This type of guilt usually manifests as thinking you should skip dessert. Maybe dinner wasn’t super healthy. Maybe you had it last night. Maybe you didn’t work out today and don’t feel like you “earned” it.
Or maybe it’s actually 11am, and apparently we’re not supposed to eat dessert during the day (who makes these rules?!).
The thing is, dessert doesn’t have to be a reward. It doesn’t have to be tied to what you ate for dinner or whether or not you went to the gym earlier. It doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions.
For me, ice cream is and always will be the ultimate dessert. Why? Because there are hundreds of different flavors, and because you can have as little or as much as you want.
It’s the perfect dessert, especially if it has caramel in it. And even if you go with a low calorie option like Halo Top, you don’t have to feel restricted to just having a small scoop.
#3: I should be more like that person
Teddy Roosevelt famously said that comparison is the thief of joy. The older I get, the more this rings true in my life.
No matter what I achieve or have, someone else will always achieve or have more.
I remember passing 100k subscribers on YouTube and getting the silver plaque in the mail. It felt awesome for a while, and then the feeling faded as my attention turned to channels with 500k or 1 million subscribers.
I’ll never have the biggest YouTube channel or the most profitable business. I’ll never be the most stylish blogger or most creative writer.
I’ll never have the most beautiful wif—well, actually, I do have the most beautiful wife, so…sorrynotsorry.
My point is, I have more than enough to be thankful for, and I live an extremely fulfilling life.
So when that little voice creeps in and says, “You should be more like that guy…” I tell it to get lost.
After all, does that guy have a tub of ice cream in his hands right now? No, he doesn’t. You know who does?
How do you should yourself?
Do you relate to any of my shoulding? What’s one way that you tend to should yourself these days?
Do you think you could stop shoulding yourself, if only for a little while, just to see how it feels?
Leave a comment below the post, and let’s get the conversation going!