“Right Now” Rules

I want you to read that title as rules for right now, not like right now RULES! 

Because, frankly, there are some pretty crummy parts to right now that DON’T rule. In fact, there are some that I think are downright awful. These parts will be different for everyone, but the common adventure is that sometimes we end up in a period of time or human experience where all we can do is deal with right now. It’s not a forever time, and it will be over at some point, but for whatever reason, you’re in a space where your normal ways of behaving, processing, receiving input, filtering information, and responding just aren’t getting you what you need. 

That’s when it’s a great time to introduce your right now rules. By this, I mean establishing an alternate set of criteria that is still within your integrity but allows for standards of behavior, decision-making and expectations that are specifically catered to and in response to where you’re currently at. For example, if you normally run 3 miles a day and you sprain your ankle during an epic trampoline contest and need to take a few weeks off, it would not make sense to continue to berate yourself every single day because you didn’t run your 3 miles. Nope. You’d be living by a set of right now rules that might say, “I can’t run today, but I will do some stretching instead.” Or – you may even find a set of right now rules that say, “I can’t run, but I’ve really been wanting to take an e-course in the art of sculpting glitter clay, and I want to use the time for that instead.” 

However, one of the fallacies that often goes unquestioned is that there has to be a physical reason or a large-scale existential crisis in order to JUSTIFY having right now rules. Well, friend, I’ve got good news for you: you can throw that thought right into the rubbish bin! You can set up your own right now rules whenever you darn well please and for whatever reason pops into your overthinking, overburdened brain.

I recently played with a set of right now rules that only lasted for 4 days! It was an incredibly busy, overscheduled 4 days – one of those periods of time where you look at the calendar and wonder how in the actual f**k so many things ended up in the same time span. I shifted away from one of my rules of setting my alarm for a pre-5:00 am wake up, and I instituted a new rule that I was allowed to sleep until 5:30! (I know – I’m such a rebel sleeping in so late…) I also instituted a rule that takeout dinner 4 days in a row was completely acceptable and should ONLY be met with complete non-judgment. And lastly, my partner and I established a rule that any snippiness, snarkiness, or frustration between us didn’t warrant a marathon conversation and in-depth review unless one of us really felt it was merited. Oh – and if we did (which we didn’t) – said exploration could only occur AFTER the 4 day time period had been survived. 

I’ve also played with much higher-impact sets of right now rules like when I’ve encountered toxic coworkers, or when I’ve known I was leaving an organization but still had 3 weeks to get through, or when I had a fully-scheduled day planned but woke up with a gut feeling that today was not actually the day I was going to get it all done. And yeah, I’ll throw March-December of 2020 and all of 2021 so far in there as well! 

I believe thoughts should be questioned – especially thoughts that cause us pain or don’t make us feel good. Exploration here can lead us to new ways of thinking and feeling, and often those new ways of thinking and feeling require us to create new rules…or abandon the rules altogether! Creating right now rules allows you to experiment and see what’s actually right for you rather than forcing yourself into a rigid set of requirements that don’t quite fit for where you’re at. 

And oh yeah – have some FUN with this one! Try putting together some mini sets of right now rules and play a bit with it. Every time I do this, I’m pleasantly surprised and also made aware of how many places I have unquestioned “rules” that dictate my thoughts, feelings and actions more than I would like them to.

- Nicole



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