As Americans, we spend an inordinate amount of time hearing about how inferior our bodies are. We’re too tall or too short or too fat or too skinny. We see it everyday from Hollywood’s standards to Victoria’s Secret’s standards, to Lululemon’s standards, and, for some crazy reason, they become OUR standards. We are inundated with messages that we never eat healthy enough, take enough vitamins, or sleep or exercise enough. We’re going to develop diabetes, arthritis, food allergies, have a heart attack, or get cancer.

And now, the holidays are upon us. We think it’s normal to get stressed out and shovel crap food into our mouths because we are on the run and it’s fast and easy.

And you know this dialogue is going to be running in your head:

“You should be working out. You should be eating salads instead of deviled eggs. You should be drinking sparkling water instead of champagne. You’re not going to have enough time to workout, and you’ll probably put on a couple pounds.”

The advice I’m about to give is going to be hard to hear, but here goes:

STOP! Seriously. Just STOP shoulding yourself!
@HayleyHobson (Click to Tweet!)

Let’s be real. 99% of us are never going to have Victoria’s Secret model bodies. You know what? That’s okay! Stop comparing yourself to them!

We have all seen the Facebook post of the Eastern European model who starts out with a beautiful, “NORMAL” body. She has beautiful curves, a beautiful face, a nice round butt. Thanks to Photoshop, hours later, she has a small butt, long, skinny legs, an elongated waste, fuller breasts, long, curly platinum blonde hair, tanner skin, and higher cheekbones. I wonder if she even recognizes herself by the time they are done with her!

And this scenario plays out EVERY SINGLE DAY in beauty magazines, on billboards, in catalogs, on websites. Even some places that promote a healthy lifestyle use stock photography that is altered to make the models look healthier than they are.

At the holidays, the last thing you really need is to add more stress by shoulding yourself.

This Thanksgiving, I want you to think about what you already have, not what you want to have or some goal you’ve set.

What do you already have? Did you get a good cholesterol test? Did you keep the fifteen pounds off that you lost over the summer? Are you drinking water instead of diet soda? Have you managed to avoid catching all the colds your kids have come home with since school started? Maybe you have the fastest texting thumbs on the East Coast. Maybe when all your coworkers are stressing out around you, you are the calm one. Maybe you chose broccoli over French fries the last time you went out to dinner.

Please…PLEASE stop thinking about what you haven’t done, what you don’t have. Be thankful for the blessings you have in your life, be thankful for this body you have right now. Enjoy your life and everyone and everything in it.

What are thankful for this year? Share in the comments how you’re going to stop “shoulding” yourself to death.

XO, Hayley

Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

*Image courtesy of See-ming Lee 李思明 SML.