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Hard Rule

"Don't Smoke" is Hard Rule whereas "Smoke Less" is Soft Rule.

“Don’t Smoke” is Hard Rule whereas “Smoke Less” is Soft Rule.

Most of us use soft rules while we try to stick to a habit or become more productive. We try to moderate the habit. But moderation and soft rule makes it more difficult for us to stick to a habit. It’ll not only make it difficult for you to stick to a habit but, it’ll also sap your mental energy.

We always tell ourselves to “eat better”, “don’t drink much”, “be more productive”,”waste less time” and stuffs along those line. But the problem with soft rule like these are that it uses lots of our mental energy and willpower.

Instead of using soft rules like these, use hard rules and it’ll be easier to stick to a habit or be more productive. You can, for example, easily figure out if you are on right track or not while you use hard rule. One of another problem with soft rules is that you won’t know if you are on right track or not. You’ll be moderating your habit, instead of abstaining from it. Moderating takes much more thinking and willpower.

Abstinence is always better and easy than moderation. <– Tweet This

It’s either do or don’t. No “in-between”. Drink alcohol or don’t drink. Eat sugar or don’t eat. The in-between is time consuming and non productive. And there is a lack of control on our hands.

So, always use hard rule for everything you do.

For example:

  • “Don’t eat sugar.”
  • “Don’t smoke.”
  • “Don’t use Internet until 12 O clock”
  • “Don’t drink alcohol”
  • “Don’t watch Television”
  • “Don’t use computer after 10 O clock at night”
  • “Write journal before sleeping”

Extremism is good when it comes to rules and personal boundaries. When you identify something as good, make hard rule and take it to it’s last consequences. For example, if you identify watching television is bad, do not watch television and make a hard rule for it. Do not make soft rules like “watch less television”. Those type of rules do more harm than good.

Soft rules means that you’re insecure about your own thoughts and conclusions. If you’re sure about something being good for you, then you should always take it to it’s last consequence.

Hence, Hard rules make life easier. Next time you identify something that’ll benefit you, create hard rule and work on it. You’ll advance faster and easier than you’d by setting soft rules.

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  1. I really liked this article, but you might benefit from having a proofreader go over your copy before you bring it live. Great work, though! Keep it up!

  2. Great writeup 🙂 Personally I have issues with this, like you say soft rules are easily broken and rationalized.

    You might want to pick up the book ‘The Willpower Instinct’ – she writes a lot on this subject and gives a TON of science behind it… some of the studies in there would support your views here and lend more credibility to your argument. Though you’re totally right ;)… always good to support it!


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