What rules do you live by?

Goals are a very important part of my life–New Year’s resolutions, daily action plans, and goals just for the fun of it.
Some goals have been on my lists for years and always seem to be unattainable, such as “being on time.” But others have been reached and help make my daily life more meaningful—creating a wall of books downstairs, writing a syndicated column, and finding a polite white dog.
With so many goals in my life, I often come across motivating lists from bygone years. And that happened to me some time ago.
This long-lost list is entitled “Rules to Live By–Creating Happiness This Side of 60.” There are 16 rules, and I was very impressed that one rule appeared twice.
Number 3 is “If you get it out, put it away.” And number 16 says essentially the same thing: “If you take it out, put it away.”
Even though I wrote this list a long time ago, I still need that instruction. It would make the weekly cleaning so easy!
Among the other goals on this list are health guidelines (i.e., “Drink grape juice. Eat salmon, garlic and ginger”). And even more important: “Breathe deeply and stretch.”
I still try to live by those health rules, but a reminder is always in order.
One of the most important rules on this list is number 7: “Use money to create pleasure and do good. It’s a renewable resource.”
Unlike money, time is not a renewable resource. When time is gone, it’s gone forever and there’s no more where it came from. So rule number 12 reminds me to “Spend time liberally for what you value. But never waste it.”
My favourite rule on this list is number 10—a rule that would startle many people but something I really believe in: “Think of yourself first. Do what makes you happy.”
We’ve always been told to think of others first and sacrifice ourselves. But think about it. If you aren’t deep-down happy, how can you possibly make other people happy?
That’s why I sincerely believe in number 10. The whole rule is: “Think of yourself first. Do what makes you happy. Then spread the happiness to others.”
And that brings us to number 1: “Laugh every day. Have fun. Laugh, smile, say positive things. Make other people laugh.” What better way is there to make other people happy then laughing with them.
Those are my life rules. Almost. I can’t leave out my perpetual challenge: “Be on time. Don’t waste other people’s time.”
So there they are–16 rules to create happiness. Some of them I do on a daily basis. Others I have trouble achieving, but I keep trying.
Together, these daily goals help me stay focused on what I want out of life.
What about you? What goals do you have that help direct your life? Which ones have you met? Which ones do you struggle with?
Why not spend some time today thinking about your rules for living, whether written or in your memory. How have these rules helped you achieve the life you want?
And how could they be fine-tuned to bring you more happiness?
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@cox.net

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