We Don’t Do Our Shoulds, But We Always Do Our Musts

My must list for 2016

shoulds vs musts

As I’m writing this, I’m watching 2015 quickly fade away. I’ve given thanks, spent time with my family, ate more turkey than I care to think about and put up the Christmas tree as we prepare for another holiday in the Boyd house. So as I put Thanksgiving to bed, I realize it’s time to focus on my musts for 2016.


I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I am an advocate of creating a must list. You see, New Year’s resolutions are quickly forgotten. There are multiple studies on this, but I recently read a study in Forbes magazine that stated only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. The article goes onto suggest a myriad of reasons why. However, it all boils down to one thing: the resolution was a should, not a must. We don’t always do our shoulds, but we always do our musts.


What Is A Should?

A should is something like “I should lose weight”, or “I should exercise more”, or “I should plan a date night with my spouse”. But really, what are the consequences if you don’t do those shoulds? A few extra pounds? Or maybe an argument or two with your spouse? And we rationalize not doing our shoulds by saying “oh, it’s only a few pounds. It’s no big deal.” Or, “she won’t stay mad at that long if I don’t plan a date night.” But what would happen if you didn’t do your musts?


What Is A Must?

A must could be something like paying your car insurance, drinking water every day, going to work, or paying your electric bill. What would happen if you didn’t handle your musts? Well, you’d go to jail for driving while uninsured (depending on your state), you’d be dehydrated, broke and you wouldn’t have electricity in your home. Pretty hefty consequences right? Even when money is tight, we always seem to find a way to handle our musts. Therefore, put your New Year’s resolutions in the must category.


Don’t Go Overboard With Your Must List

I caution you not to put too many resolutions in your must category. After all, if you have 20 things on your must list, it’s unlikely you’ll be committed to all 20 of them. Just pick a few. For example, I have three things on my must list for 2016. I will enjoy a meal with my family at least one time a day, I will do a Bible study with my family once a day and I will be a college professor (preferably at DeVry University), where I’ll teach entrepreneurship and small business management.


Keep Your Family On The Must List

As an entrepreneur it’s easy to stay in work mode and skip meals with the family. After all, you’re putting in all those hours and hard work to support your family right? Well, what is all that hard work and time worth if you lose sight of what really matters? That’s why eating at least one meal a day with my family is an absolute must for me in 2016. My daughter is 19 and on her own now and my son is 11. Before I know it, he’ll be grown up and on his own too. However, I still have nearly 8 years of quality time and teaching left before he goes to the military or college, which leads me to my second must.


It’s a must for me to do a bible study with my family once a day. The best time to do this I figure, is right after we eat together. God saved me for a reason (and if you don’t know my story, just read my about Shane Boyd page). Not only am I here to help others realize their God given talents, but I’m here to help my family realize theirs as well. It’s a talent given to me by the Lord, and I fully intend to share it with my family in 2016.

Include A Must That’ll Make You Feel Good About Yourself

Teaching has been a passion of mine for a while. I teach business owners how to increase their profits without increasing their advertising costs, however I really enjoy teaching college students as well. It’s a must for me to serve as a college professor at DeVry University for three reasons.


One: I can teach college while running my consulting practice. I can still be a business coach, speaker and author while teaching an online class.


Two: DeVry has a class I would love to teach—Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. That class is almost tailor made for me to teach. I’ve owned a small business for over 12 years, I help small business owners on a daily basis AND I’m an entrepreneur.


Three: One of my basic human needs is significance. I don’t do things for the applause, but I certainly enjoy feeling as though I made a difference in somebody’s life. It makes me feel significant. When I’m a college professor, not only will I have another nifty title, but I’ll be helping students create wonderful lives for themselves. It’s what the late Stephen Covey called a win-win situation.


Having a must list could turn out to be a win-win situation every time if you play your cards right. But I must warn you, just because you have a must list for 2016, does not mean you should forget about your other musts. What is working from 2015? Continue doing that. But add to it the things you must do for 2016 to ensure a wicked awesome 2016.


Do It Now

Don’t start your must list on January 1st. The best time to start your must list is now. As I write this, December 1st will be here in less than 7 hours. My must list is complete. But the most important part of the list is still empty.


The Action Plan

Under every must, write out the plan for accomplishing it. It doesn’t need to be some long drawn out 17 point checklist. Just a couple action steps for accomplishing your musts, that’s all. The simpler the better. After all, if you make it too complicated your musts will quickly get shuffled over to your should pile. And you don’t want that do you?


Until next time…


Shane Boyd


P.S. If you found this article helpful, then please pass it on to a friend you think would benefit from it. Thank you 😉

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