Should Versus Must

One of the things I’ve revisited today is something taught by life strategist, Anthony Robbins. He’s someone I’ve listened to over the years, but I’ve found that in the last year or two, I haven’t listened to him much. Lately I’ve been listening to him again and in one of his seminars he talks about should and must. Right now in my life, this is a very interesting thing for me to think about! There are things I know I must do right now. I must do these or else I will cause problems to myself and others. And they are things I don’t need to do forever, but just for a period of time. And I find myself acting like I should do them instead of must. A should means it’s okay to go back on what you said. A must says I will do this no matter what.

Lately with exercise, it has been an absolute must for me. I must go running 3 to 4 times a week. I must go biking. I must jump rope. I must lift weights. I must be strong. Exercise for me is not negotiable. I know that exercise is essential for me to live a long and happy life and I won’t accept anything less. Last year, exercise was not as much of a must. It was ok not to do it. I could just relax and it was no big deal. That standard is no good for me anymore. Exercise must happen and it is a top priority.

Another thing is giving my relationship with Heidi 100% of my attention. This is something I must do. In the past it was something I should do – meaning I could do other things to distract myself and it was ok. But I made a decision last Friday that I was going to give it 100% of my attention. The reason for this is that there are things to work out between us and there can be no distractions while this is going on. Once there are resolutions, it will be fine to get back to some previous activities and interactions.

Think about what should means. Should means it would be nice to do, but I don’t have to.

Think about what must means. Must means I will do this or die.

There is a huge difference between the two. When you’ve made up your mind about what you must do versus what you should do, you will find yourself making the appropriate decisions in your life to take care of what matters. Must means you know in your mind and heart what needs to be done and you act on it. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it forever. It just means your body is telling you to do something and that if you do that, things will turn out all right in the end. But if you treat it like a should, you’ll continue to give yourself pain instead.

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