Turn your 'shoulds' into 'coulds' and see what happens [Image: Julie Shenton]

Change your life: Beware the ‘shoulds’

31 March, 2014

This week’s tip is short and sweet.

It may seem simple, but it is extremely powerful, and shows how changing just one word can have a profound impact on your life.

How often do you use the word ‘should’?

The things that we love to do – that are in line with who we are and our values – are never ‘shoulds’. They are the things that we look forward to and which give us energy.

‘Shoulds’, on the other hand, are usually energy drainers.

If it doesn’t absorb you, if it isn’t any fun, don’t do it.” — DH Lawrence

Whenever we say something like “I really should do…” it implies that it’s something that we don’t really want to do – or that perhaps we feel someone else wants us to do. It also implies that we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

Next time you catch yourself – or someone else – using the word ‘should’, try replacing it with ‘could’ instead.

This immediately gives you the element of choice. It’s not something you’ve got to do, it’s something you can choose to do – or not. It’s up to you.

Feels a lot better, doesn’t it?


  • Annabel Sutton is a Professional Certified Coach and Author.  She has lived in Los Angeles and Indonesia; survived earthquakes and riots, lived with head-hunters and enjoyed a portfolio career.  She now enjoys a somewhat quieter life in Somerset!  Her latest book, 52 Ways to Transform Your Life (Weekly Wisdom for Busy People), contains 52 inspiring, quick-to-read life tips and is available from http://amzn.to/2nSdMb2 . Find more information at  www.annabelsutton.com.