I devote a large amount of mental energy to getting things done. Not just getting them done, but convincing myself to get them done.
Take, for example, daily exercise. Every day I have an internal argument with myself as to whether to actually “just do it,” or whether to stay home in my pajamas and do more fun things, like scroll through Facebook for the 1000th time.
Similar to routines, rules help you make decisions without having to put a lot of thought in. Forming rules for yourself is an effective way to take away some of the mental energy you find yourself expending each day.
For instance, going back to my daily exercise example, I know that I’m a happier person and a better mom when I move my body every day. So my rule is, I do something for about an hour every day. It’s not negotiable, it’s a rule and unless I’m sick or otherwise unable, I stick to it.
Here are a few ways to make rules for you.
1. Think about what works for you
What day-to-day activities help you to feel/think/be your best? For me, it’s exercise, connecting with friends/family, and getting plenty of restorative down time.
2. Think about what doesn’t work
More than 2 glasses of wine and I’m useless the next day; so I’ve made it a rule not to exceed that amount, especially on a weeknight.
Yeah I admit it, I break this rule sometimes☺ That’s ok, life happens.
3. Commit to a time frame
When you’re first starting this practice, it’s a good idea to give yourself 30 days to develop it as a habit. Don’t beat yourself up along the way, just do your best and accept imperfection.
4. Notice how you feel
This is key. I never would have committed to an hour of exercise each day had I not really noticed how great it made me feel. So once you’re established your rules, notice how you feel. Maybe some of them won’t stick because they won’t have a big impact, but some will.
5. Make rules that work for you
You’re not doing this for your kids, your partner, or your mother. You’re doing this for you. Forget about “should” (like, I “should” cut out sugar. I know I should, but I don’t want to. But that’s a separate blog post.). This is not about what you should or should not do. It’s about doing things that work for you and make you feel like the best version of yourself.
Let us know in the comments below about your rules in life!