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Why I dislike the word 'should'

Isn’t it strange how words mean different things and have different effects on people? I also find it extremely interesting how different words have emotional connotations. I do have a point to this blog, bear with me.

Personally and professionally, I have a real disliking of the word ‘should’. I hear people use this word at lot. Both in and out of sessions and when people are looking to make changes in their lives, especially when working towards goals etc... For me ‘should’ has a negative connotation filled with pressure and stress.


‘I should go to gym’ . ‘I should do this’. ‘I should change this’. ‘I should save money’. ‘I should eat healthier’. ‘I should be at ‘this’ point of my life by now’.



‘Should’ for me it sounds like we are trying to force ourselves to do tasks/ make changes – which could end up meaning that you do the task but not to the best of your ability. You might not put as much work in your workout at the gym. You may rush certain work tasks – not doing them to your full potential. As mentioned before, the word ‘should’, comes with an unspoken sense of pressure which could have the opposite effect when it comes to productivity and motivation. In my opinion when we say ‘should’ it’s not a case of someone being unaware of what they need to do but a lack of motivation to do it, otherwise we would just do it, right? What if we could look at challenging that lack of motivation? Starting by looking at the wording around how we start/think about tasks. As mentioned before, the word ‘should’ comes with a sense of pressure having the opposite effect when it comes to productivity and motivation so let’s try looking at replacing it with a word that has positive connotations behind it like the word want. For me the word want is full of positivity and enthusiasm full of opportunity which in turn brings motivation and productivity.

I should go the gym becomes I want to go to the gym. All you’ve done is change one word but it’s changed the whole feel and intention behind the sentence. It could be the same with: I’ve got to do the food shop becomes I get to do the food shop. Again changing that one word has brought along gratitude that you have the money and means to go and get a food shop. The use of language is SO IMPORTANT! If you use mostly negative words it’s going to have a negative effect, so in turn, using positive words create a positive effect.

You have the power to change your vocabulary. If I could set you all one task from reading this blog, it would be to think about your language. Do you have any words that you find negative that have that affect over you and your mindset? If there are, what words could you use instead of them? Then for the next two weeks, try and swap those words. For example, when you find yourself saying ‘I should’, stop for a brief second, then say ‘I want' and see what kind of difference this makes.

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