What Your Life’s Rule Book Says About You

“Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you”

Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, we all have a little rule book that tells us how we respond to the world around us.

This may not be a physical book that we write things down in, but a ‘in the back of our head’ type of rule book that plays out day by day whether we like it or not.

Most of our expectations, feelings and sense of happiness is derived by the rules that lay within this rule book of life.

Every person has one and everyone’s is different. Each of us have different rules for different circumstances, events and situations. Think of it is as an “if this, then that” type of programming that takes place in our minds.

If my partner gives me a gift, then it shows me that they love me. If someone says something with a frown on their face, then they disapprove of what I was saying. If my boss raises his voice at me, I have done something I shouldn’t have. If I don’t get something right, then I feel like a failure.

Within all of these, there are further “if this, then that” programs that play out. If I feel that someone loves me, then I can show them I love them back. If I feel like I am disapproved of, then I don’t want to interact with such a person. If I feel like I have done something I shouldn’t have, I don’t feel confident in what I do and therefore play things safe and do just the bare minimum. If I feel like a failure, then I don’t want to try it again, in case I fail again.

Much of our rule book has been written when we were younger. It is the culmination of how we were raised, experiences we had in different circumstances and beliefs that we were taught about ourselves.

Here’s a big rule that I find people have created for themselves as it relates to weight loss. When I have lost my extra fat and look good, then I will feel better about myself and feel more confident. Off the bat, this seems like a completely natural and common way to think, right?

So let’s look into this a little deeper.

“I want to look better, so that I can feel better. But I can’t seem to break through this negative mindset to do the things that need to be done to lose the weight, because I don’t feel good and confident about myself yet.”

Catch 22, right? And it is in this viscous cycle that many get stuck, because of these rules we’ve unconsciously created for ourselves.

So the question is, how do we break this cycle and create a new set of rules for our self that sets us up for greatness, instead of negative thinking and unhappiness?

3 simple steps to creating new rules for life:

1. Stop dwelling and focusing on your failures. Failure is not what’s stopping you, your inability to learn from those failures is what is stopping you. Do you think a baby that’s learning to walk for the first time is worried about how many times they fall down? No, their focus is on getting up. Everything in life is learnt and failure is the tool that allows us to learn quicker. If we get over our own egos and insecurities, we can also find the joy and excitement in failing, just as much as a baby does when learning to walk.

2. Focus on your successes. Just as every ‘failure’ that you accept pushes you further and further down the path of lowered confidence and poor self-image, so by focusing on those things that you have accomplished, will you be able to uplift and strengthen how you see yourself. Success breads success. How awesome do you feel when you get something right that you’ve been struggling with? Use those emotions to drive you to do bigger and better things. By documenting those successes, you build up a ‘bank account’ of success emotions that can help carry you through the tougher times.

3. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful of everything. There are people out there that have way less than you do, both in physical and non-physical things. From possessions to relationships to opportunities to states of mind. By being grateful now, you can be happy now. Gratitude allows us to live more in the moment and not get caught up in our past or stuck worrying about the future. It is impossible to feel grateful and dissatisfied at the same time.

How to combining all 3 of these concepts into a working process.

If you really want to take your life to the next level, then get yourself a journal and on a daily basis, ask and answer these 3 questions:

1. What am I grateful for today? (1 big thing, 1 little thing & 1 thing you’ve never thought of before)

2. What did I accomplish today? (What did you actually get done. Finished a deadline at work, ate clean for 3 of your 5 meals, completed a tough workout at the gym, etc.)

3. What problems / obstacles did I face today? And how can I overcome them tomorrow? Or what do I still need to learn to overcome them?

Over time you will create a ‘bank account’ of those successes and accomplishments that will easily carry you through the tough times. When the tough times do come, you will have a strategy to deal with them, because you have developed the mindset that allows you to look for solutions, instead of seeing problems and you will be a lot happier, because you will be humbled daily by what you actually have.

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About The Author

Neil Scholtz

Neil Scholtz is a certified Personal Trainer turned CrossFit coach. He has competed at the CrossFit Games and coached athletes that have competed at the CrossFit Games, but that's not his main focus. Most of his time is spent consulting or coaching individuals to improve their lives through fitness. He has worked with over 1000 individuals from various walks of life. Tailoring solutions to their lifestyle needs.

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