Replace “I must” with “I want”

“Musterbation is evil…” — Dr. Albert Ellis

“Stop shoulding all over yourself.” — Clayton Barbeau, M.A., M.F.T.

Saying “I must…” is a surefire way to zap your energy and motivation. It can cause chronic procrastination, anxiety, and depression. Why? No one wants to be forced to do something — even by themselves. If you think about it, there is nothing in life you truly “must” do. Therefore, never say to yourself, “I must” or “I should” or “I have to” — it’s a lie.

Instead, act because you want to. Use the phrase “I want…” instead of “I must…” For example: instead of saying, “I must take out the trash,” say, “I don’t want my house to smell, so I want to take out the trash.” It’s a small linguistic twist that carries deep cognitive implications. You will be filled with energy, and your procrastination will be gone.