Jan 162013


My current office view. In Bueng Pai Farm – Pai, Thailand.



For the past 5 days I’ve been living another long held dream of mine. I’ve escaped the British winter and am spending the next 3 months in Thailand. I’m thrilled and I hope this escape will be a yearly occurrence. Making this happen has taught me something crucial about helping us stick to our promises, goals and dreams.

The decision to leave London did not come without risks and I have to admit I’ve had quite a few sleepless nights when no one showed an interest in sub-letting our flat. I was also quite anxious about leaving London when I was getting great coaching and facilitation work as an associate of one of the best training organisations in the UK. Would they keep on giving me work on my return?

Despite this I had no doubt about my intention to get my @ss to Asia. I booked our flights over 6 months ago knowing full well that whatever it took, I would make it happen.

It got me wondering where all this certainty and confidence came from. I mean there are some things I’ve wanted to achieve for ages, what had stopped me from being this gung ho about them?

Case in point, as I was packing my belongings I came across 2 HUGE stacks of ‘when I lose a dress size’ clothes. I’ve had them for 4 years – they’re out of fashion but I cannot bear to part with them. I’ve been meaning to lose a dress size for ages but somehow I’ve never really bothered to make it happen.

So what was different about my Asia goal? What made me willing to take such a high level of risk? I’m not an unshakable, unflappable mountain of strength after all.

I think it boils down to 1 thing.


My goal to get to Asia is something I really WANT. I’m extremely connected to my desire to make this happen. I’m very clear on the WHY and the benefits I’ll get from this goal. When our subconscious is this connected to our desire we’re literally pulled towards what we want and taking action becomes a lot easier. It might still be scary, it might still give us heart palpitations but something deep inside wills us to keep going.

I’ve realised that some goals I’ve set myself in the past (like losing a dress size) are more about things I think I SHOULD be doing and therein lies the problem. SHOULD motivates no one. In fact, if you’re a little rebellious like me you might even take pleasure from laughing in the face of SHOULD and doing the exact opposite, like putting on a dress size for example (oops).

Does this mean that we can just give up on any ‘SHOULD’ goals? Not necessarily.

Armed with the knowledge that it’s the WANT goals that we enjoy making happen it might be worth looking at our SHOULD goals from a different perspective. How could you turn a SHOULD goal into a WANT one?

So while ‘losing a dress size’ does nothing for my motivation, ‘Vitality, Lightness & Energy’ might just get me to keep away from the carbs and eat my veggies.

See I’m already eating more protein…at Taling Chan floating market Bangkok

How about you? Is there something you’ve been putting off for ages? Is it a WANT or a SHOULD type of goal? If you did achieve it, would your life benefit in some way? If the answer is yes it may be worth exploring how you can turn it into a WANT goal.

What benefits get you excited and motivated? How can you remind yourself of them on a daily basis?

And when you’ve turned your SHOULD goal into a WANT goal, I’d love to hear about it.

With love

P.S. Yes I did manage to sub-let my flat, and the Training company even gave me some work in Singapore & Dubai! It always works out in the end,

and if it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end…..

  13 Responses to “The crucial difference between want & should”

  1. Hi Karen,
    I am confused.
    Always I heard,—-‘Do what you need to not what you want to.’
    Help me with your wise advise.

    • Hiya Peter

      What an interesting question – thanks for asking it.

      You can interpret the quotation ‘Do what you need to, not what you want to’ in different ways.

      The ‘want’ described in the quotation can mean a very short term ‘want’ like wanting to stay in bed for an extra hour or eating that extra bar of chocolate. Following these superficial ‘wants’ is likely to have a negative effect on our lives and even stop us from achieving what we truly want in the long term. For example when I was saving up to move to London there were many times I wanted to spend my money on irrelevant things. Instead I NEEDED to save my money to achieve my long term goal. When viewed in this way, the quote can be useful.

      On the other hand the quotation could also be interpreted as ‘forget your dreams and do what you need to’. This is the interpretation I disagree with. Whenever I’ve ignored what I truly wanted deep in my heart it’s made me very miserable and it’s usually the same for my clients. The moment I decided to start listening more to myself is the day I set myself free and lay the foundations to building a life I love…and this is why I hope to help others do the same.

      I hope this helps.
      With love

      • I also think the same.
        If I ignore my dream and just do only what I need to — then it become very hard and almost impossible to continue.
        Thank you Karen.

  2. This is definitely my favourite blog, you are so inspirational xx

  3. Love this blog! and such inspirational words yet again :)
    The photo of you at the top is just gorgeous – you look so beautiful, so happy, it brings a huge smile to my face and warmth to my heart!!
    Love you Karen xxx

  4. Love this post! And totally agree on the want vs. should. If life can be about ensuring these combine into one, we’re onto a winner. Looking forward to reading more posts. Jayne :-))

    • Thanks Jayne. The minute I think ‘should’ I feel my energy being drained, but replace it with ‘want’ and I’m much more likely to stick to what I’m doing!

  5. Dearest Karen to see you live your dream and reach your goals is an inspiration to us all,
    lots of love A.M

    • Ah, thank you so much. This is my intention with this blog, to inspire people to make their big dreams happen.

  6. Great blog :) love the new look too

    • Thank you :) I’ve promised myself to stop meddling with the look now. It’s just too much fun though!

  7. I think this is my favorite post of all – I have been considering whether I should go north or south of Thailand during this trip but, after seeing where you are staying, I guess it will be north :) What you said is so true – we just need to make us remember it all the time – we can do ANYTHING we want, if we just make it happen!


    Take care
    Peace and serenity

    • So glad you liked it Janet! Yes North Thailand is definitely my favourite place which is mad considering all those beautiful beaches in the South.

      And yes we CAN make anything we want happen – we might not know exactly how when we start but if we keep taking steps in the right direction, we will get there eventually.

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