Healthy Food Story  >  Ever think, “I should really do that?” Read this.

Ever think, “I should really do that?” Read this.

ShouldThere’s an epidemic going around. A community arising – and it’s neither pretty nor healthy.

It centers on a single, simple phrase: “I should…”

I lovingly refer to this movement as the “should-ers”. They’re people who can’t help but succumb to “should” thinking, every. single. day.

“I should count the carbs on my plate and keep that number as low as possible, yet I feel depleted all day long when I cut down.”

“I should be eating chia seeds, but they make me bloated and gassy.”

“I should drink green juice for breakfast, yet I feel completely zapped of energy by 10 am and desperately want to rip into a bagel and cream cheese.”

“I should meditate on a pillow for 15 minutes, but I really enjoy clearing my mind on a run out in nature.”

Any of those sound familiar? Maybe you’ve already experienced a few “shoulds” of your own today. (If you have, don’t worry - we’ve all been there.)

While your “shoulds” are framed with good intentions, deep down they host a volcano of bubbling issues just waiting to erupt.

“Shoulds” get in the way of how you really feel. They silence your intuition and distance you from that vital communication between you and your body.

And, even worse?

Trying to stick to this self-imposed pressure creates a trifecta of negative emotions: guilt, shame, and anxiety.

As a reformed “should-er” myself, I should know! (Pun intended.)

In my marathon running days, I completely ignored what my body was feeling in favor of pushing myself to the point of exhaustion and over-exerting my muscles, which caused painful injuries.

Why? Because I thought I “should” work through that cramp, complete that regimen, or cross that finish line. After all, that’s what my training plan told me I should do. It didn’t matter how I felt. I wasn’t a quitter!

Thankfully, I learned to let go of my grip on “should”. I’m still a runner, but nowadays, I tune into how I’m feeling and respond to the discomfort or strain with compassion and understanding. If I slow down or stop, I know I’m not failing myself - I’m honoring my body.

So – how will YOU release your shoulds?

You can tackle you inner “shoulds” with one simple mindset shift: replace the word “should” with how you really, deeply want to feel.

I want to feel energized. I want to feel light. I want to feel vibrant. I want to feel clear.

When you focus on this driving force behind your actions (a.k.a your desires or wants), you open up a whole new way of looking at things.

Instead of feeling guilty about not crunching on chia seeds, remember you want your belly to feel settled… and some foods, even the newest healthy “it” foods, may not work for you.

Instead of beating yourself up about how many carbs you’ve consumed, think about which foods work for YOUR unique body and give you energy throughout the day.

Instead of worrying about meditating because everyone else is raving about a personal transformation, lean into the fact you know a quick 3-mile run in the park contributes to your relaxation.

The bottom line: Tuning into how you want to feel, rather than what you “should” do, works wonders for your health & happiness. Plain & simple.

Question of the day: What are some of the “shoulds” constantly in the back (or forefront) of YOUR mind? Release them right now by posting in the comments below.


  • Silvia says:

    Love this Elise. I really think that if we could eradicate “should” from our diet (and life) not only would we enjoy our food more because as you know…there’d be no guilt…but we could eat most anything without doing harm to ourselves. That’s my diet secret.

  • Sarah Koszyk says:

    Great post! I like how you state focus on “how we want to feel” versus how we “should” feel. I definitely have a lot of “should’s” in my life….and they really do get me nowhere. Thanks for sharing such amazing insight. For me, I want to have fun instead of feeling I should be pushing myself to get this deadline done. Taking a mini-break is OK to refresh and revamp and rejuvenate. Thanks for posting Elise!

    • Hi Sarah! I hope that you are inspired to go have fun. I need to remind myself of that all the time, too. I am so glad that this post resonated for you. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • Jenny says:

    Great post, as usual! Love this message because you are so spot on… “rewriting the script” is the only way to make a change in your life. Getting in touch with what YOU WANT on a daily basis has got to be one of the main keys to happiness!

  • Karen says:

    Another thought-provoking article Elise!
    Those shoulds are so hard to eradicate – although I know I “should” 😉
    But you are so right on – whenever I focus on how I want to FEEL, it’s so much easier to make choices on my own behalf, with food and really with other things too.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!!

    • Karen, you hit the nail the head that the choices become much more obvious and easier when we focus on how we want to feel. And, so true, that it applies to much more than just our food choices. xoxo

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