Rules. We set them for our children, we hate them as kids and teens, and we yearn for them as adults.
Yes. Everyone needs rules. Whether we want to admit it or not, rules are the most basic form of having a structured life, and through structure, we find freedom.
We already follow many rules in life, and I’m not talking about the laws set forth by the government, but more so “rules” in the sense of “things that I just do, because it’s what I have to do”.
- You go to work and do your job – knowing that if you don’t, you will be fired, or not paid.
- You set aside X% of your income for retirement because as much as you want to spend that money now, you know it will be important to have down the road.
- Want to keep your teeth? You know to brush your teeth at least twice per day.
So why is it so “bad” to set rules when it comes to fitness and nutrition-related stuff? Yes, people will argue that setting rules for your nutrition or fitness are an unhealthy approach to your health. WHAT?
Setting rules is one of the best forms of creating structure to block out the unhealthy habits that may be holding you back. For example – when we set a rule vs. say “I’m trying to do this” it has a powerful mental meaning.
When someone says “I don’t drink alcohol” vs. “I’m trying not to drink” – the person who says I DON’T has created that rule as part of their identity, thus making it easier to stick to.
Here are some examples of rules that have worked well for me, and my clients. Realize that these rules might not be for you, and are not for everyone.
I Don’t Drink on Weeknights
This is one of my personal rules. Not a drop of alcohol Monday – Thursday. Friday after work is over counts as the weekend 🙂
We all should know that drinking alcohol provides zero health benefits, yes, even a nightly glass of red wine adds up and is more likely to hurt your health than to help it. If it helps you relax and unwind, try finding an option that doesn’t involve 120 empty calories (that’s if you do a standard 5 oz pour).
The Kitchen is Closed
This is one of my new favorites that a client of mine came up with. She was struggling with eating after dinner. Mindless late-night snacking doesn’t help with most people’s goals.
Instead of saying “I’ll try not eat after dinner” it was “the kitchen is closed at 7:30”.
Straight and to the point.
And creating that catchy mantra actually helps it stick even better.
Veggies at All Meals
Not every rule has to be about NOT doing something or removing something. We all know veggies are good for us, and we likely don’t eat enough of them.
So why not make a rule that you will have a vegetable on your plate at every meal.
This rule can work for anything that you are trying to add more of – veggies, water, protein, etc.
Set it in stone and make it happen.
Setting up if-then scenarios is also a very powerful way to make things happen. If X happens, I will do Y.
This is a rule and a plan. And we all know that failing to plan means you better plan to fail.
There are infinite possibilities here, and these can be very powerful in helping you reach your goals. They can be used for exercise, nutrition, or any other habits you want to form.
Whether or not you want to admit it, rules and structures do help everyone. So stop thinking that you don’t need a schedule, or rules as an adult, and adopt a new outlook on yourself. I promise that through creating structure in your life, you will only find improvements all-around when it comes to your health.
If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.
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