The ones that guide you.

Have you ever had a book on your reading list for years and you couldn’t seem to read it but also couldn’t seem to forget about it? For me this was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This is a book that I have checked out from the library multiple times (the library! I still go there!), renewed often, yet had never read.

Until now. I’ve finally caught up with the rest of America and am about three chapters into it. (And honestly, I don’t know what took me so long. It’s an interesting read that moves along fairly quickly.)

In the beginning of the book Rubin talks about the 12 commandments that helped her keep her happiness “resolutions.” What I love about the commandments is that they are relatively simple phrases (lists! I love lists!) Easy to digest, easy to remember, and directly tied to happiness strategy (unlike a lofty mission statement, for example, which I have also written in the past and serves a purpose, albeit a different one).

Reflecting on my own commandments took longer than I thought and I still don’t feel done. This is what I landed on so far:

1. Let it go.
Forgive others. And yourself.

2. Listen deliberately.
Sometimes I need to stop. talking. already.

3. Reflect on the lesson and move on.
Learn from the mistake or problem but then focus on solutions to move forward.

4. Act with care.
Be kind. Demonstrate compassion. Everybody’s got their stuff.

5. Express love often.
Even when it’s hard.

6. Disband your army.
This is a phrase I recently learned at work and I wish I knew who came up with it but I can’t remember. Essentially, it means to go beyond what you already know. Do something new. Try something creative. Get uncomfortable. Settle into ambiguity. Be vulnerable. Enjoy the process. Let your defenses down.

7. Do what needs to be done.
Aka, maybe don’t procrastinate so much.

8. Appreciate.
I strive for an attitude of gratitude, y’all.

9. Cultivate positivity.
If it’s negative, it’s out (or at least, minimized as much as possible).

10. Find the humor and the fun.
Because life is funny and laughing is the best.

11. Nourish the mind, body, and soul.
Learning, exercise, meditation, and breath.

12. Give. Spend out.
“Spend out” is a phrase Rubin uses to describe non-attachment, enjoying what you have, and giving to others.

13. Be proactive and take responsibility.
This one is borrowed from Covey’s 7 Habits. I can choose how to feel, act, behave.

What mantras, principles, commandments, or rules do you live by? You can see others’ ideas in the comments section on Rubin’s blog post about this.


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