Perhaps there are different ways to respond than always following the rules. New ways might serve us better, especially if we find rules to be outdated and no longer guiding us so usefully, or if they turn out to be inherited from authorities with no legitimacy.
At the least, it can be re-assuring to identify a rule and question it to be sure that it continues to serve us well.
When we notice a pattern in our lives, we can do something different deliberately when our turn comes round again. We can select a new route to work. Any games we are playing offer us opportunities for safe experimentation.
Perhaps you always feel a tinge of guilt when you decided to do one thing, then changed your mind when circumstances changed. Well, life is not scripted, so it may be reasonable to change the ‘lines’ you have so far followed.
There’s no need to waste your energy on that feeling, once the moment has gone and you’ve now done something else.
As life’s circumstances inevitably change, it’s necessary to adapt to those changes, rather than resist them because of something you feel you might have done or should have done. This is a useful way to avoid the perils of perfectionism, which can be particularly debilitating when they take this kind of retrospective grip on you.
When you made your original decision, it’s natural to want to hold yourself to it. But if circumstances have changed sufficiently, then not carrying out your intention does not mean you’ve failed or lapsed in some significant way.
As one participant on an Improvisation Academy course explained, 'I put the whole of my life’s work into that moment; it’s like I have never done anything good in my whole life.' That appears disproportionate, which makes the rule they were following a good rule to question.
This can become a more sophisticated way of holding yourself to account than, 'I must be perfect'.