setting empowering rules for ourselves

Most of us look at rules in a negative light. Some of us had strict rules while we were growing up both at home and in school, and that’s where our hate for them prospered. 

But as counterintuitive as it may sound, having a set of uplifting rules is a ticket to freedom. Setting some good rules for ourselves and sticking to them no matter what can lead us to a happy, meaningful and fulfilling life. 

It’s time we start looking at rules through a positive lens. To not view them as restrictive and contracting, but rather freeing and expansive. 

We dread rules and we run away from a disciplined, well-edited and structured life, but if we want to live an extraordinary life and be the exception, we need to set up some constructive rules for ourselves. And commit to them knowing that they are essential for our progress and our achievement. 

Whether we are conscious or not, we all set up rules in our lives. As Ryan Nicodemus points out in The Minimalists blog, most of the time these rules are just debilitating if-then statements. But if we choose, we can make some positive and empowering rules for ourselves that actually contribute towards our growth and success. Rules that reflect intrinsic inspiration, not external motivation. Here are some examples:

  • If I wake up early today, then I’ll be more productive and happy.
  • If I leave my work on time, then I’ll be able to spend a couple of hours on meaningful activities that rejuvenate me. 
  • If I exercise today, then I’ll feel more confident and energized. 
  • If I focus on doing hard things, then I’ll make my life easier.
  • If I eat healthy today, then I’ll honor my body and feel better.
  • If I give my undivided attention for some time to my loved ones, then I’ll make a significant contribution to their lives. 
  • If I push myself outside my comfort zone, then I’ll develop courage and expand my horizons.

If we want to lead a life enriched with freedom and fulfillment, then we have to ensure that we adhere to these rules under all circumstances. As Jocko Willink points out, “Discipline equals freedom.” If we choose, the rules that we set for ourselves can liberate and empower us, and help us take our success and life to the next level.