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December 31, 2012

What your New Year's Resolution SHOULD Be

Happy New Year's Eve! I love this time of year. After the craziness of the holidays have come to an end, I like to sit back and reflect on the year that has passed. I watch "The Best of..." TV shows, read article upon article, review coundowns - you get the picture.

For me, 2012 was a whirlwind. For me, it was the year of the baby - and it started 2.5 months earlier than it should have. But, c'est la vie - and I'll remember 2012 always.

I've learned a lot this year - motherhood does that to you, I think. As a planner and organizer of many things, I've learned that things and plans don't always go the way they should, and that's ok. In fact, I think it's what makes you stronger - the ability to act in the face of adversity or challenge or struggle.

I've learned that as a society, we like to criticize, to advise, to speak sometimes without filters. And if you're like me, you don't like when someone tells you what to do. You're often left to feel unworthy or wrong.

So how do we stop it? Lots of ways - but here's a relatively easy way everyone can try.

Stop using the word should in various situations.

"I should really lose 10 pounds."
"We should really visit our grandparents."
"You should take your kid to a doctor."
"You shouldn't feed him that."
"You should wear a sweater."
"We should eat healthier."

You get my point. Should is really a useless word - it implies that there's a better way to do something, and you're not doing it. It also places blame - either on yourself or on someone else. In most cases, you already know what should be happening. The 'ol "shoulda, coulda, woulda" comes to mind.

Instead of should-ing, try replacing the word with something a bit gentler. I learned this strategy at an education conference I attended in 2011 and it has stuck with me since. I'm not saying eliminating should in all instances, but specifically in areas of negative or imposing connotations.
(ie. You/He should lose some weight can be replaced by offers like Would you like my recipe for x? or I'd like to start working out again - would you like to join me? or I think we can all start eating healthier, etc.)

Even when offering simple advice, the should can be adjusted. (ie. When you go to Australia, you should really see the Great Barrier Reef can easily become I really think you'd love the Great Barrier Reef on your trip to Australia).

I think the world could stand to get a little nicer, more generous, more kind to one another. Maybe the way we speak to one another can help.

Happy New Year everyone!


1 comment

  1. I love this! You're right about using the word "should" -- it kind of feels like you're telling the person they're wrong and when I hear it it makes me feel like I did something wrong.

    Happy New Year Julia!


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