Having rules that govern your life, behavior, and choices might seem confining and restrictive. But there’s a profound freedom that comes from living by a set of rules that you’ve chosen for yourself. You can refrain from toiling over as many decisions. You simply follow your own rules.
Suppose you had the rule that you’re never going to lie to your partner. Then you never have to fight with yourself about whether or not to tell the truth. You simply tell the truth and get on with life.
Develop your own set of rules for each aspect of your life. Rules provide the framework for having a more productive and stress-free life.
This example can guide you in creating a unique set of rules for your own life:
1. I always go to bed and get up at times that provide me with the opportunity to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
2. I refrain from checking email before 10 AM or after 4 PM.
3. I refuse to answer the phone when I’m spending time with my family.
4. I tell everyone in my family that I love them at least once per day.
5. I accept full responsibility for all outcomes in my life, both good and bad.
6. I read a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
7. I speak to all of my friends at least once each month.
8. I meditate every night for 10 minutes before I go to sleep.
9. Before bed, I make a list of the most important items to complete the following day.
And so on.
Each week, we all make choices that result in guilty or remorseful feelings. But we also make tough decisions that we know are correct. Having a list of rules for your behavior makes it easier to make wise decisions with less mental turmoil.
Your rules can move you closer to your goals, as well as remove frustration from your life.
Follow these tips to develop your own rules:
1. Make a list of your most important goals. It’s helpful to have goals related to your finances, health, family, and personal accomplishments. If you know your goals, you can develop rules that support them.
2. What are your values? When you’re behaving in a manner that’s congruent with your values, you’ll be much happier and more successful.
3. What obstacles stand in your way? How do you waste time? What are your weaknesses? Rules that eliminate or minimize the challenges in your life are worthwhile.
4. What example do you want to set for your children? If you have children, what do you want them to see when they watch you? They’re always watching, even if you think they aren’t.
Most of us are striving for a greater degree of freedom, and rules seem like a limit to freedom. However, you free up a lot of mental resources when you make important decisions beforehand. If your rule is to exercise every day, then you can avoid having to spend 20 minutes deciding whether or not to exercise. You just do it.
Take the time to make your own set of rules. The number doesn’t matter. Start with a couple and add more as you see fit. Make some rules for yourself in order to set yourself free.