At first, setting rules for yourself may not seem like such a bad thing. But rules put limits on us. They restrict us to stay within our comfort zones. If you’re trying to grow and change, the comfort zone is the last place you want to be.
Be honest: Have you ever caught yourself thinking something like this?
- I’m not good at doing ___, so I should avoid it altogether.
- I need to have X, Y, or Z by age ___.
- I think ___ looks fun, but it’s not for someone like me.
There are so many benefits to trying something new. Your limiting beliefs can prevent you from seizing new opportunities. What if you’re a great cook, painter, or writer? You’ll never know if you don’t try.
It’s time to challenge your self-made rules. Here’s how to do it:
Step One: Awareness
You may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t have any self-made rules.” But you might be surprised.
A rule isn’t necessarily something that you prohibit yourself from doing, like “No staying up past midnight on weekdays.” It can also be the way that you characterize yourself.
If you always say to people, “There’s no way I can do that! I’m too clumsy/scared/disorganized,” then you’ll never break free from it. Rules become part of the stories we tell ourselves.
Not all rules limit you. If you always say “Thank you!” after someone does a favour, you don’t need to stop. The point here is to be aware of what your rules are. Then, you can understand why you made them—and determine whether they’re helping you or holding you back.
Step Two: Challenge
Whenever you stop yourself from doing something, ask yourself why you do that. For example, the next time you’re in a meeting or classroom, and you tell yourself, “I’m too shy to speak up or raise my hand,” challenge yourself. Tell yourself that you aren’t too shy, and try it.
You don’t have to throw every rule out the window. Try to take it one rule at a time. You can choose one that’s minor and work your way up to bigger ones.
Step Three: Reflect
How did it feel to challenge yourself? Was it uncomfortable? Or did it feel good to give yourself permission to try something new?
You might have found out that you really enjoy doing something you assumed you didn’t like.
Sometimes, you might just discover that your self-made rules exist for a reason. That’s okay. The important thing is that you tried it—you went outside of your comfort zone and learned something new.
The point isn’t to break every rule you’ve ever made. It’s about noticing what they are, why you made them, and how they affect you.
To track your progress, we recommend journalling about your experiences.
On any given day, our mind races with hundreds of thoughts. It’s easy to let them pass by without questioning them. One way to encourage self-growth is to challenge the things we accept unconditionally.
And who knows? You might learn something new about yourself. From the team at https://barebodysugar.com/, we hope this post inspires you to be more aware of your self-talk.