I ran into someone from my neighborhood last week. Someone I knew, and have been meaning to get to know better. We were rushing through the high school. I was on the way to a basketball game and she was late to a swim meet.

I stopped her. “I’ve been meaning to look up your number and call or email you, to get together.”

“I’ve banned ‘I meant to’ from my vocabulary,” she said. “I should have and I meant to. I no longer say them. That was my New Year’s resolution.”

“I love that,” I answered. “And I am going to call you, so that we can get together.” Then I took out my phone so that she could put her contact info in for me, gave her a quick hug goodbye, and thought about what she said.

If I banned “I should have” and “I meant to” from my vocabulary, what would that do for me? I don’t think I use those phrases often, and I think it makes sense to try and never use them. Many years ago someone shared a pithy saying with me that I’ve since shared with others. “Don’t should on yourself.” I try to remember that and live by that. But I’m not that great at it yet, even though it’s many years later.

Banning “I should have” means I can’t “should on myself” and banning both means that I’m either doing the things I mean to do, or I’m choosing not to do them and I’m fine with that. I’m not beating myself up for what I haven’t done and I’m, hopefully, more actively choosing the things I want to devote my time and energy to.

It might even mean that I’m being more realistic with how much I can get done. Or how much I want to. Or what I really want to do. Or who I really want to be with. Banning “I should have” and “I meant to” will mean that I’m more conscious, intentional and present in my moments and in my life – all active goals that I strive for.

I think I’ll ban “I should have” and “I meant to” too. And here’s my first chance to try that, because it’s been over a week since I ran into her, and I the “old” me would be thinking that I really should have reached out to her already. That I really meant to. But the “new” me is conscious that it’s been a busy, tough week, and that I will when it’s right. ☺

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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