Should, could, would

Should, could, would:  What these words have in common, other than their bizarre spelling, is that they’re all synonyms for “Nothing is going to change.”

new-year-resolutionThe same could be said for do more, be better, try harder, and work smarter. If we’re going to round up all the usual suspects, let’s also include resolutions, good intentions, and maybe even goals.

These concepts are like clouds on a summer day. They’re attractive and impressive. They’re also out of reach. And when a puffy, substantial-looking cloud settles down to earth, it’s mist and fog. You can’t grasp it, shape it, or see your way through it.

Change begins to happen when you shift your focus away from nebulous generalities to small, well-defined actions.

The process is remarkably straightforward:

  • Pick a habit that will help you move in the desired direction
  • Make sure it’s specific and measurable.
  • Link it to a strong cue, such as an existing routine or habit.
  • Record daily.
  • Review your progress.
  • Appreciate the view from where you now stand.

I spent far too many years wandering in a fog of inaction, depression, and regret. A well-defined habit system keeps me moving forward. When I start to feel overwhelmed by should and must and if-only, I remind myself that the only way to create change is to take action, and I drag my thoughts firmly back to this:

What do I need to do today?