Should: a complicated relationship

I did it. As of this week I am now undergoing CBT. It has been a rough road getting here, and now comes the part where I need to fix myself.

IMG_1719I have been wanting to do a blog on my relationship with Should for quite some time but have never quite got around to doing it. Then in my first CBT session we touched on the concept of Should. She wanted to know how often I have thoughts along the lines of “I really should go and do x y or z…” which is pretty much a large portion of my thoughts.

Now now seems like the best time muse on this affliction.

Should. Why?

That’s what I’m always asking myself. I lost count a long time ago of how many times a day or a week I take myself into doing something or not because I should.

Who prescribes this??

Who is sitting at that mighty desk dictating what actions I should or shouldn’t take? Because, frankly, I know its not me.

I have never, in working memory, sat down and said to myself, Okay Self, you might think you want these things, but you Should do these instead as they are more fitting with the type of person you are/want to be.

It seems like a really good idea to do, but honestly, who has time for that much in-depth decision making for everything in your life that requires a decision. It’s well documented that people suffer from decision fatigue. We aren’t all judges like James’ writes about here  but even small decisions like going to the gym, what to cook for dinner, when to walk the dog, they all impact on how much we can handle in a day.IMG_1816

And we currently live in a society of seemingly endless choices! And each of those choices require a decision!

Should, I think, is my Willpower attempting to fight the fatigue and say “Well….you’ve been pretty tired and overwhelmed, maybe you shouldn’t go out tonight” or “You’re meant to be eating healthy, you should go and cook dinner.”

But it’s not enough. Because my Willpower is so fatigued that it’s about as much as it can muster to say “You really should…” as my bum stays firmly planted in the chair knowing fine well that if I don’t cook soon it’s going to be take-away.

Over years and years of abuse, Should now has so many awful connotations. It is the daily reminder that we aren’t doing what we see as possible. Even what we deem as technically possible isn’t always rooted in reality.


I SHOULD be able to get up at the same time every day, stretch, prepare breakfast, see to the dog, do a morning exercise routine, shower, work for the afternoon, cook dinner, walk the dog, maybe do some more exercise or see friends or read etc. But that’s not what happens everyday. Yet everyday I remind myself that is what I SHOULD have done.

Make a routine. Stick to it. Take out as many daily decisions as possible. Don’t give yourself the option. It’s 7pm? Time to cook dinner. It’s 11am on a Tuesday, time for cardio. Simples.


Life has too many variables!

What about the day I need to go to the hospital? Well I can’t do my routine that day.

How about if a friend wants to go out for dinner? Well, no cooking that day. And probably nothing afterwards either because lets be honest, wine will probably be involved.

Then getting up the next morning? I might be hungover, or too physically fatigued, or have contracted the flu *grumble grumble*

I’ve always been good at starting routines, starting new habits to improve myself, just never at sticking to them.

Something inevitably comes up, throwing off my plans for the day and sweeps me out of the routine. Then instead of picking right back up the next day, it crumbles.

Once again, in an effort to pick up what I began in January (health regime) I’m going to plan out a schedule. Whether I stick to it is another issue all together, but I’m definitely going to be leaving the judgemental Should where it belongs, and that is not in our daily vocabulary!

-Do any of you struggle with all the Shoulds and Shouldn’ts?

Thanks for reading 🙂

-Auburn xx


No Judgements from Phoebes 

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