May 05 2017

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Instead of “I should…” Try “I choose…”

Instead of "I should..." Try "I choose..." Should or Choose

The Five Minute Friday word for today is should. Oftentimes I say “I should” when I don’t want to do the thing after the  word “should.” I don’t normally say, “I should sit around all day in my PJ’s, eat ice cream, and binge watch Jane Austin movies.” If I did, I’d be joking—or fantasying about a calorie-free vacation. But when I think or say “should,” I react with an inner whine of “I don’t wanna.”

Do you do that too?

Here are my five-minute thoughts on kicking “should” to the curb and breaking out the word “choose”:


It’s late. I should go to bed. I tell myself “I should . . .” so often, but it steals my willpower and drive to become the person I want to be. When I use that word, I put myself under the power of an imaginary, and punitive, parent. A finger-wagging parent who has a list of should’s. My inner little girl whines, “But I don’t wanna.” And she wins more often.

What can I say? I’m a rebel.

But if I turn that “should” into a “choose,” I’ve turned the statement into a declaration of me being in charge of me. It’s a decision. I can think about it and choose.

If I choose, I can stay up late—and feel tired the next day.

If I don’t choose well with my time, I don’t achieve my goals.

It’s not that there aren’t should’s in life. There are. However, when we switch “should” to “choose,” we are affirming who we are and who we want to become.


Have you discovered the power of changing “should” to “choose”?

When I use the word “choose” I feel energized and own my choice. Instead of being bullied by “should,” I make decisions based on who I want to become.

Resources you should can choose to use:

(This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase products mentioned on this page, I do benefit—at no extra charge to you. My intention is to bring to your attention products I recommend.)

  • The Now Habit. I first came across this idea of changing should to choose in this book by Neil Fiore.

Replace ‘I have to’ with ‘I choose to.’ ~Neil Fiore

  • Own Your Life. Sally Clarkson’s book speaks of choosing to own your choices. That’s a whole book about “I choose” with a clear focus on the goal of living God’s vision for our lives.

“It means taking responsibility for my own behavior, decisions, and attitudes so I may fully embrace God’s amazing vision for my life and leave a legacy that points others to Him.” ~Sally Clarkson

  • Becoming Myself. This book by Stasi Eldredge is another book about choosing to become. Read more thoughts about Becoming Myself here. “Should” is a shame word for me.

Shame doesn’t work as an instrument of transformation. ~Stasi Eldredge

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What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a 5-minute writing party. Click the icon to read some other great writing.

Five Minute Friday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

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  1. Rosanne

    I love the idea of reframing “I should” into “I choose.” You are so right that when we say “I should,” we often see ourselves being told what to do instead of choosing our choices. Thanks for sharing this! I’m your FMF neighbor to the south. 🙂

    1. Cheryl

      Reframe. That’s the perfect word. And it makes all the difference. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Amy

    Ooooo!! “However, when we switch “should” to “choose,” we are affirming who we are and who we want to become.”

    Love this! Thanks!

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