received a speeding ticket recently I’ve been thinking about how to use limitations to benefit peace of mind, awareness, and fulfillment.
I made a simple adjustment in my thinking about limitation. It moved from being a restriction to an advantage. Speed limits allow me to relax behind the wheel and go with the flow. It’s a shift in focus from, “Oh, why not, everyone else is doing it.” to “What will this action produce?” Instead of anxiety or regret after the fact, conscious limitation allows less stress, improved performance, and a life worth living.
What are the limits you can consciously place so your life is spacious and stress free? Consider the following:
1) Make only commitments that you can fulfill with joy. That doesn’t mean you’ll never fret over the promises you’ve made, but the overarching experience is goodness. You’re glad you’re doing it. No regrets. There’s no harm in slowing down what you commit to, so you can carefully consider your ability to fulfill the promise.
2) Say no to what you don’t want to do. Say no with a smile. Say no and I love you. But nonetheless, say no. No is a powerful limitation. You’re saying no to a request, while keeping the connection between you and others strong. No is not a rejection of another person, but simply the refusal of what is being asked of you. You can also say no to dessert, the donut in the office, and the super-sizing request from waiters.
3) Create a budget. Budgets are terrific limits. They bring knowledge and insight into your cash flow, spending, and saving. Of course, once you create a budget, you have to live inside it! You can also create a food budget if you’re on a diet. Diets are limitations to benefit your health. Diets can bring you the freedom to choose what is fulfilling, instead of overindulging in the moment. You may even begin to see the core of overindulging in other areas of your life. These are the times when you wake up and tell yourself, you have to stop. Don’t override that message. Use it as an awareness tool, and set a new limit.
4) Start where you are. This is one of my favorite limitations. I can’t play yesterday’s tennis. I’m out of practice, and I can’t pretend that because I was once great, I am now. When you start where you are, you slow down to be present, and notice the limits of your body in exercise, as well as the limits of your appetite, energy, and bank accounts in this moment in time. You stop pretending that you are what you used to be, and instead start where you are today.
5) Know your values. Values are limits to what you will do and won’t do. If honesty is a value, any lie will eat at you. Tell the truth or don’t respond. If harmony is a value for you, don’t gossip about others, instead suspend reaction and listen. If peace is a value for you, be non-violent in your thoughts, words, and actions. How do you discover your values? Ask yourself what matters most to you. Where you are at ease, you are most likely living your values. Where you have unease, you have most likely crossed a boundary.
When someone overeats, or drinks too much, or oversteps in a relationship; you probably say he or she doesn’t know their limits. If you’ve been reading my posts, you already know that I’m a great believer in breaking through self-imposed limited thinking that masquerades as excuses and stories. I’m not talking about self-limiting stories here; those you can end! I’m offering a practice for purposeful limitation in living your life, to increase both awareness and performance.
Self-limiting stories keep you in a cycle of disappointment.
Setting a conscious limit moves you into a cycle of fulfillment.
Try on these 5 practices and see what happens to your performance. I’m betting that your results will improve.
Let me know how this works for you (or doesn’t!).
May your day be peaceful and productive.
Paulette Sun Davis