Finding a reason to change: Should is not enough

You know, a lot of this talk about escapism versus facing reality, working versus laziness or avoiding working, it’s presented in this kind of notion of what you should do.
You should be working.
And then you escape, you crave escapism, and then you feel, oh, this is something wrong with me.
I should be doing more work, but instead I want to procrastinate and escape and enjoy the moment.
And so there’s this kind of conflict between the feeling of, well, I feel like I know I should be doing work and pursuing meaningful goals, but I don’t actually feel like it.
I really feel like having fun in escapist pastimes, and I have to kind of force myself every time I want to do any amount of work.
I have to force myself against what I really want to do in order to do what I feel like I should do.
Then this is an unfortunate state of mind, feeling like I have to make myself constantly try to do something that I don’t want to do and avoid what I really want to do.
Now, I see this as a phase, and it’s part of what anybody has to go through in self-development, because we have trained ourselves to become accustomed to living lazily, and we are used to not disciplining ourselves, and therefore there’s a sense of kind of having to force ourselves to do what we had decided is good.
But I think that this mentality, of feeling that we should do good but we really want to do the bad things, that that is only a temporary and incomplete situation.
And really, what is really missing is a sense of meaning.
That the things that I believe I should do, I have to really feel their value.
I have to feel that they are meaningful.
Otherwise it’s just kind of a shallow statement to myself of, you know, what I should do.
Oh you know, I hear that exercising is good.
It’s good to exercise and not smoke.
You know, that’s good.
So I should stop smoking and start exercising.
That’s what I should do.
Clearly that is good, and, you know, I have learned this, and, you know, the logic is airtight that, clearly, exercise more is good, smoking less is good, and so I know that I should do it, but, you know, I don’t feel like exercising, and I do feel like smoking, so I have to fight against that desire and do what I know I should do.
But this kind of should-level thinking – I should do this, I should be this way I should be different – that only goes so far.
What is the reason? Why do I care? Why do I care that I should exercise and not smoke? Because just being something that I know I should do is not enough.
What is the purpose? See, I think this is something that is missing from a lot in the world of self-development, and I think a reason a lot of people simply dismiss the whole world of self-development, is it’s just a bunch of people telling you, you know, you should do this, you should do that, and they don’t feel like doing it.
And you can’t blame them, because if you don’t really feel the purpose behind the change you want to make, and really feel it to the point where part of you wants to do it, then it’s nothing more than just barking orders to yourself and telling yourself what you should do when you really don’t want to.
It can be difficult at first, because the things that are good for us often are not as easy to like, and the things that are bad for us are often very easy to like.
But it is possible to really, over time, slowly shift our mind so that we actually do want to do good things and avoid bad things, because we can feel the meaning behind it.
If I fully feel what it means to live life as a strong and healthy person, and really feel that it’s more than simply an abstract idea of, oh, I should be healthy, but I really feel the advantage and the joy of being strong and healthy, then I can see that, oh, exercising brings me closer to that ideal.
It brings me closer to that reality of a strong and healthy life, and that is good.
That makes me happy.
And smoking would be something that would take me away, make me less healthy and less happy.
So I can really connect the things that I’m doing with the meaning behind them.
So, next time I find myself saying I should do something, I will ask myself why.
Why should I really do that thing? If I can’t find a reason behind it, then it’s not enough.
I need to know.
If I tell myself I should do something, I need to know why.
What’s the reason? And then I can make it real.

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