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About All Those "Should-be's" That You Keep Judging Yourself For Not Doing

What's on your "I should" list, every day?
 
How many times a day do you hear "I should..." statements run through your head?
 
"I should start eating better..." "I should be exercising more..." "I should..."
 
Everyone always wants to tell us what we "should" and "shouldn't" be doing in literally every area of our life. Our moms, our relatives, our friends, our co-workers, complete strangers, our healthcare providers, the media...
 
What we should do with our life, what we should weigh, what we should eat, how we should raise our kids, how we should look, what we should do, how we should take care of ourselves, what skills we should have, how we should age, how we should dress, how we should do our hair or our make-up, what things we should care about in life, how we should decorate our house, what we should read, what we should think, how we should act...
 
We get programmed by outside influences to believe all these things we "should" be doing and then we obsessive over them -- usually while flogging ourselves because we haven't or don't.
 
There's literally a "women should" piece of advice for every single aspect of our lives, they usually differ depending on who you talk to and we often we tend to carry way too many of them with us every day, as though constantly reminding ourselves is going to make us do them.
 
Then, we judge ourselves accordingly based on how we think we're measuring up - or not. Usually not.
 
So, what's on your "I should" list and how's it working for ya? Do you hear that list replay in your head a hundred times a day and immediately jump up to start tackling each item as soon as it does?
 
I'd be willing to bet, not usually.
  
"Should statements" are all of those things you're telling yourself you "should" be doing every day -- but don't.
 
They're one of many cognitive distortions (or negative thinking patterns) that contribute to stress, fear, worry, guilt and shame... a whole host of mental and emotional distress.
 
Because they are born from unrealistic expectations and attempts to live up to unhealthy or unrealistic societal norms.
 
The next time you hear an "I should" thought run through your head or statement come out of your mouth, stop.
 
Notice what happens next. How do you feel about yourself in those moments after you hear those "I should" statements?
 
Empowered, happy and good? Or hopeless, helpless and bad?
 
And do you immediately follow that statement and those feelings by doing that thing you're telling yourself you "should" be doing? Or not?
 
Typically, not. Rather, they make us feel badly about ourselves and often more hopeless about actually being able to do that thing we're telling ourselves we "should" be doing.
 
"I should be bringing healthier snacks to work with me but..." usually results in NOT doing that because we start thinking, "why can't I have more self-control with food? I know what I'm supposed to be eating, why can't I have some willpower and do that?" which reinforces feelings of being helpless to our circumstances and our choices not being within our control.
 
"I should be exercising more..." usually results in NOT exercising more because we follow it with, "but... I'm just so lazy. If only I had more motivation" which again, reinforces feelings of the choice being out of our control and makes us feel hopeless about changing it.
 
When you're stuck in "should be's" you're completely disconnected from yourself and your body... and what you actually want and need because you're too busy telling yourself all the things you SHOULD be doing and feeling bad about yourself because you don't.
 
We "should" be... but we're just too lazy, we believe. So we carry around this belief that we're unworthy or that we're destroying our health because we're too lazy to do the exercise everyone tells we "should" be to be healthy, or hot or skinnier or stronger or better, or whatever.
 
And should statements aren't limited to just what we eat and our exercise habits.
 
We use them for everything - our parenting: "I should have more patience with my kids", our homes: "I should be a better housekeeper", our relationships: "I should be a better wife, mother, daughter, sibling, friend"... etc.
 
And cognitive distortions often don't act alone. Should statements, all or nothing thinking, and labeling / mislabeling can, and usually do pile on top of each other in one nasty thought bubble whenever we "fall off the wagon".
 
"I should be eating salad but I really want pizza. Screw it, I may as well just have the pizza. I always just end up screwing up eventually anyway." which then leads to "I may as well have a beer with it, and some chips and ice cream for dessert since I already ruined today. I'll just start over tomorrow." which then leads to "God, I'm such a pathetic screw-up. I always do this. What's wrong with me?"
 
That's a should statement, all or nothing thinking, and labeling/mislabeling - a common threesome of cognitive distortions that often results in overeating (or in some cases a full-on binge) in people who struggle with weight & food all because they just wanted a piece of pizza.... and judge pizza to be something they "shouldn't be" eating.
 
Working to reframe and restructure all your should statements is one of the many things we do in E-CET so you can overcome these and other cognitive distortions that keep you stuck in these faulty and self-destructive ways of thinking - and as a result, behaving.
 
The day I gave up should'ing myself to death was one of the best days ever.
 
Now, if I hear myself thinking or saying, "I should..." before something, I next ask myself, "says who? Who says I should be doing that? What do I WANT? What does MY body need? What's best for me? What do I need most right now?" 
 
Rather than making ourselves miserable by trying to live up to what everyone else determines we "should" be doing, this switch gives us our power back.
 
It gives us the power to start learning what makes us happy, what's best for our own mental, emotional and physical health - and how to follow our own hearts, minds, bodies and dreams.
EMBODIED COGNITIVE EATING TRAINING CAN HELP YOU

The Academy is a specialized group coaching course. It combines a wide range of scientifically proven, evidence based modalities into an easy-to-follow step-by-step process that helps you understand why you can't stop eating in ways that don't serve your best interests and how to stop. It has been meticulously crafted and tested for almost three years with one goal in mind - helping you move past all the things that are keeping you stuck repeating the same self-destructive patterns so you can find peace and start living and feeling better.

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