Know what I need to do?
Every time I open up 750words.com, which I use as my journal, I see that I accidentally skipped a few days. I broke my streak.
And I invariably start with, “I need to write more.”
And then, as I continue typing, the “I need to”s multiply like Gremlins when they get wet. Or Walkers (aka zombies) on The Walking Dead when they get hungry. Or dirty dishes when I’m in the house. (Just ask my husband.)
“I need to blog more. I need to work more on my book. I need to do more posts on Instagram. I need to call my parents more. I need to visit my dad at his assisted living. I need to help my mom more with my dad. I need to answer that email. I need to book the flights. I need to work on my presentation for that writing workshop. I need to make nicer slides. I need to learn how to make nicer slides. I need to deal with those mortgage tax papers. I need to get my hair cut and colored. I need to start drinking that green juice that’s supposed to reverse graying. I need to stop the magical thinking. I need to stop caring so much about how young I look. Or how old I look. I need to be more flexible about missing my dance class. I need to do more things I’m scared of. I need to stop eating ice cream every night. I need to start yoga. I don’t like yoga. Maybe I need to stop needing to like everything I do.
I need to stop buying clothes. I need to clean out my closet. I need to wear what I have, or get rid of it.
I need to get conditioner. I keep filling the conditioner bottle with water so the pump would reach the conditioner, which is still effective when it’s watered down but not when it’s 100% water. I need to find a new conditioner.
I need to make more money. I need to stop dwelling on money. Maybe I need to clear “money blocks”? I need to stop magical thinking.
I need to win the lottery…”
And I wonder, does everyone else think “I need to” as much as I do?
I hate these words. I need to stop thinking them. See? I can’t.
Here’s why I hate them:
They make me bored of myself. Do it or don’t do it, and stop saying you need to.
I wonder how often I say “I need to” out loud. It must be frustrating to friends who think, “So why don’t you?”
One version I’m officially banning: “I need to get back to my book.”
I’m making it a non-negotiable to work on my book for at least one hour every weekday because I refuse to keep being an “I need to” about it.
The most boring sentence in the world is, “I started ____, but I need to get back to it.”
What a non-story. Not a success story. Not a spectacular-failure story. Not a sad or happy ending. Just a beginning and middle.
For me, it’s my book. For you, it might be something else. Painting. Standup. Creating a course. That blog post. Working out. Orange Is The New Black. (Nobody cares if you finished that, but let’s agree that it’s so boring of you to have started and not finished a streaming series. You’re not even qualified to discuss it.)
I imagine I’ll always be chased by “I need to”s but I can at least take control of one big one. I will not be an “I need to get back to it” with this again, because that translates to “I dropped it.”
What’s your big “I need to”? Do you have that phrase in your head all day?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
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