Increase Your Willpower by Turning “Shoulds” Into “Musts”
It’s easy to talk about “shoulds” in college. You should get a degree, you should do your homework, you should really start on that paper that’s due in an hour. However, it’s often difficult to turn those shoulds into action–thus 4 am paper writing binges when you know you should have gotten started hours ago.
If you find yourself waffling on “shoulds,” this post over at The Minimalist suggests that the best way to keep from self-sabatoging is to turn your “shoulds” into “musts.” By doing this, you put yourself in a place where you quit talking in the abstract and move into things you have to do. If you really follow the system that the article is talking about, it gets even more concrete–you say your “must” list aloud.
Beyond applying this method to short term assignments, the author of the original piece is really focused on using the “must” method to make major changes in your life. By turning big life goals or changes, like following career dreams or losing weight, into obligatory things, you reframe your thinking so that not doing them is not an option.
Though I don’t actually read my “musts” aloud from a formal list, I can say that reframing the way that you negotiate big life changes can have a huge impact on how likely you are to follow through with them. Stating your end-points and goals aloud makes them a very clear part of your life and forces you to focus on them.
As an example, I’m able to go to bed by midnight every night. A big part of that is that I’m able to treat early schoolwork as obligatory–if you think of it as a requirement to start working on your paper at 10 am rather than midnight, you can see pretty drastic changes in what your life is like. (Protip: life gets awesome.)
If you’re looking to make a major life change–and as a college student, you’re in a better position than most to do so–try this method of reframing your decision and see if it works for you.