Living within the rules…

Creating rules and sticking to them feels great, doesn’t it? It makes us feel that we’re in control and winning at life.

Whether it’s smaller rules of not eating takeaways in the week or bigger rules of spending less and saving more; living by rules makes us feel safe.

The problem comes when these rules are too black and white, or all or nothing.

Rarely are things in life absolute. We make best decisions on a daily basis because that’s how life is.

Have a think about how many decisions or rules you’ve made in the last hour………

  • Fruit tea or a rainy walk to Costa?
  • What shall I blog about?
  • If I go to Costa, I’m not buying any cake for the rest of this week.
  • Shall I stay and finish things off or take my laptop home and do it later?

These are the rules and decisions I’ve made in only the last 10 minutes.

If I apply a bit of black and white thinking to the above rules and decisions, they may look a bit like this:

  • I can never go to Costa again because I buy cake that makes me put weight on.
  • I should always stay and finish my work in the office because I don’t always finish it off at home.
  • I should make a list of things to write about and stick to the list.

Life becomes more difficult if we adopt an all or nothing approach. We can never control anything except our reaction to things.

Life becomes easier if we work on being more flexible and learn to live in the grey, rather than black or white.

For more help with thinking distortions, have a look at my Help Now Cards.