This word needs to go

If there is one word I'd like to axe out of the English language, it's "should."

The definition from Webster's Dictionary includes this: "used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency."

I would re-define it as a word "that invites guilt and self-loathing with a side of inadequacy and peppered with a little shame." (Yes, I'm mixing metaphors. Somewhere Dr. Minot is cringing. I can see him.)

"I should drink more water."

"I should stop eating coffee cake."

"I should weigh less."

But what purpose does the word or the sentiment serve? 

In Buddhism, this thought process is called the second arrow. First something happens (or doesn't happen) - the behavior - but we often suffer more from the judgment that follows.  

There's a fine line between accountability to yourself and your nutrition and exercise plan, and the searing judgement you rain upon yourself when something goes awry. 

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 that you narrate the storyline forward and not backwards. 

 Let go of the should and shouldn't. 

Embrace yourself for who you are and where you are. 

The only thing you really should do is stop using the word should.