Personal Rules – Who Created Them? And Why Are You Following Them?

Who created these rules that you live by?  Your parents? The law? Society? Your husband? Your father?  Yourself?

Personal rules are standards that you created for yourself.  They can be related to various areas of your life, such as personal relationships, work, and health.  They are often used as a way to hold yourself accountable and make decisions that line up with your values and goals.  Personal rules can help you establish boundaries, stay focused, and make progress towards their objectives.  

Sounds easy enough, but when you reflect on your personal rules:  What are they telling you?  How do they make you feel?  What are they telling other people?

Some of the rules that I created when I was going though a divorce.  

My Rules of Being a Mom:

  1. A good mom will dress nicely
  2. A good mom will be nice and 😁smile
  3. A good mom will take care of the home🏠 and children👶
  4. A good mom will not let their kids eat McDonalds🍔
  5. A good mom will not let their kids eat gluten
  6. A good mom will make a healthy lunch for their kids
  7. A good mom will make sure their kids are dressed nicely and are clean
  8. A good mom will make homemade cupcakes🧁 for their kid’s class
  9. A good mom will pick drop off & pick up their kids from school
  10. A good mom will always say yes when asked to do something for another person
My Secret:

  1. My secret: I love McDonalds because it reminds me of home
  2. My secret: I had to go to the food bank to get more food for my daughter and I
  3. My secret: I was extremely depressed
  4. My secret: I couldn’t sleep for days
  5. My secret: What is gluten? And why do I care?
  6. Me secret: I felt like people used me because I always said “Yes”
When I look at my list, instant panic attack!  Why did I think I had to do all this, work full time, and go through a divorce.  Impossible!  Too many rules and no fun time for me.  Were any of these rules helping me through my divorce or my personal crisis.  No!

Most of these rules I created were visions of mom movies or what I saw or heard other moms doing at my daughter’s school.  They were warped and unrealistic.  It took me time, but I eventually realized that I couldn’t make the standard that I set for myself.  I had to rethink what my personal rules were, being a mom, single, working, health, and personal time.  My life is more than being a mom.  My life didn’t just end because I got married and had a child.  My life continued, my personal rules need to adjust.   

Now it is your turn to try this activity.  Grab a piece of paper and write down all the rules that you live by.  Once you are finished with your list ask yourself: What did you notice?  How did it make you feel when you were looking at your list?  Do you want to change some of your rules?  Where did you learned these rules? Do you still agree with them?  Them write down any secret that you kept because of them.

When you are creating a new rule for yourself, it is helpful to align it with your values and goals.  If your personal rules are not supporting you, it might be helpful to look over them and make some changes.  Think of the purpose of each rule and is it helping you achieve your goals.   If you feel comfortable talking to a trusted person such as, a friend, family, or a therapist, they will give you a different perspective on your personal rules.  Ultimately, it is up to you to discover if your personal rules work for you and help you live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Personal Rule Activity:

  1. Writing down your personal rules: This can help you to see them all in one place and consider each one more carefully.
  2. Evaluating each rule: Ask yourself whether each rule is helping you to achieve your desired outcomes, and whether it aligns with your values and goals.
  3. Asking for feedback: Seek input from friends, family, or a therapist on your personal rules. They may have a different perspective that can help you to see things in a new light
  4. Trying out new rules: If you find that a particular rule is not serving you well, consider experimenting with a different approach. For example, instead of a rule that says "I will not procrastinate," you might try a rule that says "I will work on my most important task for at least 30 minutes every day.”
  5. Reflecting on your progress: Keep track of how your personal rules are helping you to make progress towards your goals, and consider adjusting as needed

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