What do you think of when you hear the word rule? Perhaps it makes you think back to your childhood and all the rules that your parents imposed on your growing up. Perhaps it makes you think about your first job and all the rules your had to follow. Or all the rules you had to follow in high school and then university.
As adults we often see rules as restrictive, we see them in a negative light. But are rules as bad as they appear to be?
The truth is that we have to follow rules every day of our life, like traffic rules that prevent us from having a car accident. Rules that keep things in order and help keep us safe are all built into society, without them things would be chaos.
Rules can certainly be taken to an extreme, but most of them are quite valid and necessary. So why is it that we have such a hard time imposing rules for ourselves.
Imagine having the following rules: everyday I wake up at 5:50am and meditate, or everyday at 7am I work out for 20 min, or everyday Sunday at 3pm I prep my meals for the week and make a healthy dinner, or every day I go to sleep at 9:45pm, or even more specifically – I don’t eat sugar.
Do these sound robotic or restrictive? Perhaps. But stop and think about the times that you reached a goal and you made it stick, how did you accomplish that? Did you do it because you were flying by the seat of your pants and going about your day carelessly? Likely not.
You were able to accomplish it, because you created a rule for yourself that you would stick to daily. Maybe you didn’t call it a rule, but it was a rule nonetheless.
Now go back and think about that time you accomplished something great by following a new ritual or rule. How did you end up in the end? Unhappy because you had to follow so many rules and now you were so happy that you could break it? Or did you end up happier than you were before and proud and satisfied with your accomplishment.
The later is always true!
The key to succeed at fitness, health goals and any goals for that matter is to set rules for yourself that align with what you want to accomplish and who you want to become. Following rules can actually make your life a lot easier.
Take this example: If a vegan were at a party and was offered a beef burger, would he eat it? Certainly not, because they follow an important rule of no meat. This keeps them living true to who they want to be in their life. Once this persons group of friends know that this person follows that rule, they will seldom be asked if they want to eat meat.
The same can happen for you. If your circle of friends know that you don’t eat certain things or do certain things because you live with conviction, then it will be even easier to stick to your personal rules and be led to less temptation and feel less obligated.
So decide, who do you want to become, and what rule will that new version of you have to uphold?
If being healthier, fitter and happier are on your wish list, here’s 10 example rules you can start with:
- Every Saturday at (insert your time) I go grocery shopping and stock my fridge with healthy foods: lean protein sources and loads of veggies of every color.
- Every Sunday at (insert your time) I prep meals for the upcoming week, so that I’m prepared.
- I don’t buy or eat processed foods, even if I don’t have meal prepped I make the healthiest choice available.
- I don’t drink on weekdays
- I exercise at (insert your time) on weekdays
- On Saturday’s I go for a walk with my family at (insert your time)
- I eat home cooked meals 6 days a week, so that I can control what I am putting into my body
- I go to bed to wind down at 9:45pm and wake up at 5:45am daily
- I spend 10 min every morning in meditation, prayer, expressing gratitude or writing in a journal, so that I can set the tone for the day
- I don’t skip my workout because work gets busy
Spend a few minutes and think about the rules you are currently following, are they helping you succeed, or keeping you stuck? Implement one new rule starting today and see where it takes you!