No More Excuses: The Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Challenge

A 30-day plan to jumpstart your intentions and break through excuses

The older we get, the more we reflect on our past. We ponder things we might have done differently, regret choices we’ve made, or grieve things we may have missed out on. When you find yourself stuck in a place, regretting all the things you could’ve done, it can be frustrating and disappointing.

Maybe you have a goal, a dream or a wish that seems arduous and out of reach. It can be anything from a simple daily chore or reconnecting with a loved one to starting a business or finishing a degree. The purpose of The Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Challenge is to eliminate some of the excuses separating you from your goals. Based on three principles, this 30-day challenge is designed for you to identify things you want to tackle and explore the mental barriers that are blocking you.

The Should Principle: The Should principle conceptualizes events or actions in your life that you should have participated in, but did not. Tasks in this category are those of necessity—the things that you really need to do, but you don’t have the finances, energy or support accomplish. It could be home repair, job hunting or finalizing a divorce. Fear, anxiety, discomfort and lack of motivation are the main reasons why people struggle with tasks in this category.

The Could Principle: The Could principle is centered on things you have the ability to do, but haven’t got around to doing just yet. Tasks in this principle are all viable and have no major barriers to accomplishment other than procrastination or oversight. Such tasks are not as high a priority and therefore, continue to get pushed to the back burner. Tasks may include learning a language or learning how to dance, finally training for that 5K or sorting through old documents to shred.

The Would Principle: Things you may have done if circumstances were different are in the Would principle. Tasks here may have real obstacles to obtain completion. You may be hindered by responsibilities, injury, finances, environment or time. Such tasks require planning and cooperation with others. Goals, such as major travel or cosmetic surgery, or even starting that singing career are in this category.

When choosing your 30-day task list, think of people, places or things and be realistic about your timeframe and expectations. The type of tasks that will go into each category will vary based on your individual circumstances. Whether your goal is spring cleaning, rebuilding relationships, getting fit, starting a business or traveling, remember to break down your tasks into smaller and realistic goals. Create a visual system to remind you. You can make a large list and select an item to tackle each day or schedule tasks on a calendar. Mix in things encompassing each principle and balance your tasks with a variety of simple, fun, emotional or practical. While you can’t go back and change the past, it is not too late to go for what you want. While there is breath in your body, there is hope. Do it for 30 days, then you’ll do it for life. No more shoulda, coulda, woulda excuses!

Tricia Antonio-Smith, LCSW

*original blog posted here

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