How often in a day do you find yourself saying things like I should do this or I have to that? Think about the feeling associated with those shoulds and have tos. It may range from resignation to resentment. Seldom do we experience excited anticipation for things we feel we should or have to do. I want to challenge you to replace the shoulds and have tos with I choose. Our language is powerful. When we think and talk in terms of I should do this or I have to do that, we disempower ourselves. Seeing our life as a series of demands and obligations can drain our energy and reduce our engagement and enjoyment in life.

There is wisdom in beginning to take back your power by simply changing the way you talk to yourself. For right now even if you do not change your behavior begin by saying I choose.
When we say, I choose to do the laundry or I choose vacuum the floor rather than I should or I have to we may begin to feel differently about those and other activities.

Saying I choose to do something is frequently followed by reasons for making that choice—I
choose to because (fill in the blank). Consider why you do the things you do. Maybe it is I choose to do the laundry because I like wearing clean clothes. Or I choose to workout because I want to be healthy and strong.

Change: I have to go to the opera with my wife.
To: I choose to go to the opera with my wife because she love it so much and I love my wife.
Or: I choose not to go to the opera with my wife because going to the opera feel like fingernails on a chalkboard to me and I love her enough to encourage her to go with her girlfriend who also loves the opera.

Change: I should visit my parents.
To: I choose to visit my parents because I love them and appreciate that although they may drive me crazy sometimes, they somehow did the best they knew how.

Saying I choose, helps you to recognize that you do indeed have a choice. You may want to re-evaluate those things that you are doing that do not have a strong personal reason behind them. For example I choose to do this or that because my mother, husband, brother etc. expects me to do it. Or because that is what husbands or wives are supposed to do. It is vital when you examine these shoulds that you also recognize it is just as important and maybe even more important for you to respect your own wisdom and preferences as it is to respect the preferences of others.

As you practice changing your language to I choose, rather than I should, ought or have to, you may find yourself letting go of choices and expectations that do not serve you and you may find yourself approaching life more willingly and enthusiastically, rather than resentfully dragging yourself through an endless series of obligation. The more we live our life from a place of choice, the more able we are to approach it with a willing and enthusiastic attitude.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Derry, B.Ed., M.S.Psy., R.P.C., C.P.C.
Professional Counselor & Life Coach

Co-author of Marriage Prep: Beginnings a downloadable marriage preparation course
Co-author of Intimate Sex: Manual for Lovemaking, a sex manual for couples
Offers a free Nurturing Marriage Ezine