I met a woman recently who was very quick to tell me what kind of person she was.

It had been a long time since I’d heard someone start her sentences with words like ‘I’m the sort of person that…’ and ‘My husband and I are people who…’

This warm and open woman is an absolute delight to spend time with. 

Not least because she reminded me that we all run around with rules in our head. And that these rules dictate how we experience everyday life. 

If you are strategic, the rules you hold yourself accountable to can support you in living your best life. This was the case with the lady I met. The standards she held herself to (and her hubby for that matter) were positive and values driven. At 70 years of age, she was very obviously clear on what mattered in her life, and quite happy to share.

Sometimes these rules are harmless. For instance, having a rule that you ALWAYS wear perfume (or matching underwear, or whatever) is unlikely to cause damage.

Other times though, you can find that self imposed rules put limits on your life. They are often negative, enforcing the things you think you can’t do. Rules like ‘I’m not creative’. Or rules that start with ‘I could never…’. These rules hold you back, preventing you from trying something new. Or they force you do things the hard way. 

If we are honest, we all have rules that diminish our confidence. Rules which see us saying things like ‘I’m not the sort of person who…’. Which is the exact opposite of how my new acquaintance approaches life.

If you are ready to make the rules work for you, here are my best tips.

Making and breaking the rules

One: Understand that you have rules. The first step here is understanding that you will have rules, whether you realise it or not. Need help identifying your rules? My best advice is to listen to yourself. Break out a journal. Be aware of the things that push your buttons. Noticing what and when you are judging can be an efficient way to uncover some of your rules. And if you are not happy with your rules, remember it’s your life and you are absolutely allowed to break any rule that doesn’t serve you.

Two: Make sure the rules you have support the life you want to live. Which means that first you have to get intentional about how you want to experience life. (Need some help getting clear? Make sure you check out this post on finding clarity.) Once you’ve spent time getting clarity on how you’d like your life to look, you can create new rules. Or choose to tweak your existing rules to support your life vision.

Three: Frame your rules in the positive. Allow your rules to give you permission to live the life of your dreams. Because here is a secret about your subconscious. It spends a whole stack of time working to make sure you stay in line with your own expectations. It won’t let you break your rules. So you might as well make sure your rules lift you up rather than dragging you down.

Four: Examine your rules regularly. Change happens. In an ideal word, that change comes from conscious personal growth. Sometimes though, change sneaks up on us. Which is why it’s a great idea to get into the habit of reviewing your rules. Ask yourself some basic questions. Questions like:

Which rules are running my life right now? 

  • Are my rules supporting my life vision? 
  • Do my rules need tweaking?

Assess your answers and act accordingly.

Which rules are running your life right now? Do your rules need a refresh? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Warmest, Janelle.

Photo Credit – Haute Stock

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