How many times do you get to the end of your day and think back at all of the things you should have done?
Or shouldn’t, as the case may be.
Especially when it comes to health and fitness.
You sit down to an 8:00 dinner (or sit on your couch and eat from the coffee table) thinking ugh, I should have worked out today. I should have made more time. I should have gotten up earlier. I shouldn’t have eaten the candy from the jar at work (but they were Reese cups, I mean c'mon). I might as well order a pizza since I already missed my workout and had chocolate and today is down the drain.
Then we go down the rabbit hole of self-loathing. Because we don’t stop at the shoulds; we take the narrative and turn it into self-judgment. “I had curly fries today at work because it was curly fry day and I can’t get a date and I’m useless at my job and wow do I suck at life.”
Whoa, easy there! *
First of all, curly fry day is curly fry day and I’d forgo my chance to be Wonder Woman for a month if I had to choose between super hero powers and curly fries. They’re just that good, ok?
But also, there’s a fine line between accountability to yourself and your nutrition and exercise plan, and recognizing when to cut yourself a break. The word should contributes nothing but guilt to your personal narrative.
I’ve often heard the phrase “plan to fail” when it comes to diet and exercise. While I believe that it’s good advice, the rhetoric of it can be hard to swallow. You’re not a failure if you parted from your nutrition plan for a meal or even a day. You’re not a failure if you missed your Tuesday workout because you worked all weekend and needed to rest.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hold yourself accountable, but I am suggesting, and this is something I need to work on all of the time, that you should narrate the storyline forward and not backwards.
If you missed your workout Tuesday, then prioritize hitting it on Wednesday. If you had curly fries for lunch, don’t assume that your nutrition plan is blown and throw dinner out the window too. Life happens.
And the only thing you really should do, is stop using the word should.
*All Gannon University graduates who had Dr. Walter Minot for class understand that we are only allotted five exclamation points in our life time. So…I just used one.