We're 4 weeks into a new year, and many of you have likely given up on whatever new year's resolutions you set. Don't beat yourself up; new year's resolutions are inherently fraught with barriers to success -- but that's not what this article is about.

Instead, this is the first in a series of articles designed to support you in making 2009 your best year yet. I am a big advocate of writing your life's story as you want it to be, and more specifically, writing a NEW story, so that the year ahead transpires as your best year yet. In order to write a new, compelling story, however, it's helpful to ditch the old one, and of course, to learn some compelling vocabulary. With this in mind, this article will provide you with a method for shifting out of the "should" in your life, based on my belief that "should" is one of the words that holds people back, more than any other word out there.

Before I go any further in this, let me reassure you that as we move along I am not going to attempt to banish any particular word from your vocabulary. I am a firm believer that all words have a place in which they can be used appropriately. The challenge, as I see it, is that words have incredible power, and oftentimes it is very easy to use a word or combination of words without considering the powerful way in which they land, and the resulting impact that gets created. So really, the focus of this series of articles is less about eliminating words and more about stretching your usage of them, so that the impact that is created is more in keeping with what you desire. So let's begin.

How often do you hear yourself or others talk about what "should" be said/done/accomplished? "I SHOULD go to the gym"; "You SHOULD eat more fruits and veggies", "We SHOULD try that new restaurant". This is a word that is very much overused in our society, in my humble opinion. This results in so many of us walking around as if we're carrying the burdens of the world on our back. In using the word "should" indiscriminately, you create an extremely heavy load to bear!

Definitively, "should" is a "v. used to express moral obligation, necessity, etc;" according to the New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language. Now, when you use the word should on a daily basis, are you really attempting to convey a moral obligation? Or even a necessity? And if so, are you certain that it's an obligation or necessity according to what you're striving for? Or is this an old rule or paradigm that is being imposed on your life by someone else, or that you're imposing on someone else's life? Do you see where I'm pointing you? When you use the word should, you're imposing a set of beliefs -- obligations, necessities -- into a situation that doesn't necessarily call for it. More importantly, too often, you use the word "should" and stop the conversation from moving any further. And so this obligation hangs over your head like a looming threat. So how do you address this challenge? By moving through the "should" as quickly as possible. Here's what I mean.

Let's say that, in the context of the life you're creating, you've identified a very real necessity to exercise more. This translates into the statement "I should go to the gym". Great. You've named the necessity. The question now becomes, what will you do? Naming the necessity or obligation is not enough to really motivate you to change your story. It may start you moving in a new direction, but until you shift from the place of obligation to the place of choice, you will feel burdened, and at some point you will likely rebel. So, once you've identified that you "should go to the gym" and that you "want to, because it will benefit your health" your new statement becomes any one of "I could go to the gym" (you've got an option), "I can go to the gym" (you're capable of it, you've got the opportunity), to finally "I will go to the gym" (I'm committed to this course of action -- it's not obligatory, it's what I want). Can you feel the energetic shift?

Some of you may argue that we're really talking about semantics here. And I agree with you. The semantics in this case, however, are important. It's the subtle, energetic differences in language that determine the quality of the story you're creating for yourself. In the case of "should" -- do you want to create a story rife with obligation and necessity? Or do you want a story filled with possibility and commitment? I assert that the latter is what you're really going for. And if I'm wrong, then stick with you're shoulds. Remember, this isn't about eliminating words from your vocabulary -- it's about making sure you're using the words that are right and true for you.

Bottom-line: the word "should" carries with it a weight that can drag you and your life's story down. One way to shift the energy is to move as quickly as possible from should to could/can or would/will. In doing this, your story changes to one of possibility and commitment, and your burden gets lifted. And let's face it, with all that goes on in each of our lives, we can all use a little less burden on our shoulders.

Author's Bio: 

Gail is the principal and founder of Stellar Coaching & Consulting, and finds fulfillment and joy in supporting others as they create the lives of their dreams. Under the umbrella of professional life coach, Gail also wears the hats of motivational speaker, consultant and co-author of The Control Freak's Guide to Living Lightly: Manifesting a Life of Total Trust. She is passionate about living a life that reflects her personal values of integrity, human connection, lifelong learning, inner peace and boundless laughter. Her unique insights and experiences have allowed groups to work successfully on issues related to improving team function and productivity, and individuals to work towards achieving their goals without compromising a sense of balance.