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Setting Personal Boundaries

by Eric Lumpkins

Many people tell themselves one thing, and the next day, or even just a couple hours later they’re doing the opposite of what they told themselves. We see this every year in January. People say that they want to make changes in their life for their New Year’s resolution, yet a month or a couple weeks later they’ve given up and are back to their old ways.

Keeping Promises to Yourself

Before we can follow through on our commitments and keep our promises to ourselves, we first need to establish what changes we want to make in our life, why we want that change, and how we’re going to put it into action. Simply saying you want to change will never be enough for it to actually take place. The “why” has to be a reason that resonates with you and inspires you to stay disciplined to your commitment to change, and your “how” needs to be specific and actionable so that you don’t need to think, but instead just take action.

We also need to clearly define what it is that we don’t want to do or what we shouldn’t do, and what to do when those bad habits tempt us. Understanding what you want to stop doing will give you clarity and empower you to stay disciplined to what you truly need and want.

I want to go to sleep on time and wake up early. I want to cut out all foods and substances that do not support me. I want to exercise 3 times per week. I want to practice a daily ritual or set of habits every morning. I want to stop distracting myself from my priorities. I want to stop hitting the snooze button on my alarm in the morning. I want to stop giving in to laziness and unconsciousness. I want to utilize every second of every day to become the strongest version of myself.

Establish the specific reasons why you want to make those habit changes, such as why you want to go to the gym, but also establish your purpose, your overarching life reason for why you get up in the morning and engage life with ferocity. For myself, it’s to enjoy life to the fullest, to leave my mark on the lives of others, and to create something magnificent with my life.

Drawing a Line That You Will Not Cross

Once you’ve committed yourself to change, you’ve essentially told yourself that “I’m never going back to my old ways,” that you refuse to give in to the bad habits of the old you. And each time you break that promise and each time you cross that line that you said you wouldn’t, it should royally piss you off. It should enrage you that you were so weak-willed, short-sighted, and lazy. You should use that anger and frustration to further motivate you and to recommit to your promises even more intensely.

Write down on paper all of the ideas in this article that apply to you. Write down what you absolutely do not want. Write what you do want. Write why you want or don’t want them. Remind yourself every day of your purpose, what you want, and your commitments. Build accountability systems. Tell people close to you about your commitments. Start a tally system keeping track of all of your progress.

And each time you give in to temptation and you break your promises, recommit and recommit with strength and conviction.

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