How to Kick Your Self-Defeating Rules to the Curb

“Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind” – Douglas MacArthur

In my last post, I asked: What if our rules GAVE LIFE instead of making it miserable?

People responded “I love this idea! How do we get there?”

Excellent question. I wish I could say I have all the answers! I often struggle with self-defeating rules too – like the one I talk about below. Here are some ideas I’ve found that help:

Be a detective: Notice the rules in your life.

I’ve recently started lifting weights again, so I weigh more (the chocolate probably contributed too). Turns out, I feel yucky about this change. Which reveals my self-defeating rule: “When I reach x weight, I’m unattractive.” You have rules too. If you can’t find them easily, look at areas of your life that are frustrating for you, and you’ll find a “rule” that’s being broken.

Compare your rule to what you know and believe. 
Does the rule support you and what you know? For me, the process goes like this: Is my rule correct? No, it’s not correct. My hubby says I’m attractive often. My daughters say nice things about how I look. I get compliments from others too. I’m still active and strong. So I decide my rule is dumb and it’s time for a change. When you look at your rules, do you agree with them?

Make a plan: Decide what you want to do about it.
I decided I don’t like or agree with my rule. It makes me feel ugly and that’s useless. I’m going to change the rule to this instead: “When I’m happy, I’m attractive.” For me, happy depends on being outside and active – playing, walking, jogging, swimming, etc. I might have decided that the rule was valid, in which case I’d pursue a diet or lifestyle changes. What do you think about your rules? Do you agree with them or is it time for a change?

Pursue and practice the new rule.
Changing a habit requires a new, better one to replace it. For mine, I decided that fitting my clothes was a better way to measure than numbers on the scale. I also plan time every day to be active and outside. When I catch myself degrading my looks in the mirror, I say something nice to me instead. And I give away any clothes I feel unattractive in. Thinking of replacement rules can be energizing and fun, so enjoy the creativity!

Structure life to support your new rule. 
I’m a very active person, so I get up and move when I sense myself subscribing to old rules. Or I sing. Or breathe out really deeply, then in again – symbolizing getting rid of the old patterns and embracing new ones. Some people wear a string on their finger, switch their wedding ring from one hand to the other, or wear a rubber band on their wrist that they snap when they fall into old patterns. Any good habit-breaking strategy works well for this.

Celebrate your successes!
When I spend a day feeling good about myself I celebrate. I do something fun for my body – bubble bath, body scrub, or face mask. I get myself a cute new top, or tube of lipstick. And I do things like write my experiences for you – to commemorate the victories as they come! Whatever you choose, live it up! Every positive change is worth celebrating.

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EXCITING UPCOMING EVENT! I’m hosting a new teleclass to engage this and other issues that help us live our best lives. It’s called Get a Life! and happens May 23 at 7 p.m. PST. For more info, click here (or check your inbox if you’re a subscriber to Living Power). Hope you can join us!

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