Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not each of us has guiding rules we live by.
Largely based on your values and belief system, your rules contribute to your decision-making and problem-solving process and inevitably influence the way you respond to change and adversity.
Understandably few people take the time to define their life rules, let alone write them down. After all, this requires setting aside some quality “me” time and it’s tough enough to get to everything on the daily task list as it is.
But I’d like to encourage you to consider this exercise as an important step to increase your self-awareness because guiding rules, or principles if you prefer, give you a sense of direction and purpose. Once you are clear about your values and life rules it becomes much easier to consciously choose behaviors to honor the person you are meant to be and create the life you desire to live.
Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish them. ~Author Unknown
Of course like most rules, at times it can be awfully tempting to break them. For example, it’s not easy to be kind to someone who’s been mean or forgive a betrayal. It’s so much easier to just ignore or eliminate them from your life entirely than to muster the courage to face a difficult conversation … especially if there’s even a remote possibility we might actually have been at fault in some way.
But what you’ll find is that the more aware you become of your values and guiding rules, the tougher it will be to break one without experiencing a response on a deep gut level. Think of having an annoying little voice in your head reminding you each time that you allow another person or event to control your behavior and thus relinquish your self-control and responsibility. Ouch! 🙁
How to Begin Defining Your Guiding Rules
Guiding rules will naturally be different for each of us but if you haven’t already done so you can begin by giving some thought to identifying your core values. From there consider how those values translate into the ways in which you consistently respond to different people and situations.
Here are a few of my general life rules to give you some food for thought …
- Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
- Don’t wait to burn the scented candles, wear the fancy lingerie, and use the good dishes. Each day I am alive is a “special” day.
- It’s okay to get angry with God. He can take it.
- It’s okay to not have all the answers. Sometimes there really is no answer.
- Smile often, hug more, laugh out loud, and choose happiness.
- You teach people how to treat you by the way in which you treat yourself.
- The greatest success is having the ability to live life your own way.
- Every bump, bruise and scar you have made me who you are today. You may not be perfect, but parts of you are pretty awesome.
- Pick your battles.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Hate is a waste of a good life.
- Never be afraid to ask for what you want.
- Trust yourself – you know more than you think you do.
- Embrace all life’s challenges and opportunities, knowing that no matter what happens, YOU will be okay.
- There are no mistakes only lessons.
- Forget your age and live your life out loud.
- Being fully committed means to accept no excuses, only results.
- Forgiveness is important, but it doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior.
- Take time each day to enjoy the little things.
- If it’s going to be, it’s up to you.
- Never stop pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.
- Question everything.
- Have the courage to stand up for what you believe.
- Help others without expecting anything in return.
- Value the rules, but evaluate them from time to time to make sure they don’t turn into habits that no longer serve you.
Have you defined your guiding life rules? There’s no question that you have them so why not make time to clearly define them and begin to live your life consciously and with intention.
- How Self-Reflection Can Help You Create a Better Future
- Our Values Give Us Meaning and Purpose
- Overcoming Energy Sucking Petty Annoyances
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.