I don’t know if you have the same relationship with rules as I have. I first divide them into two categories: general rules and individual rules. The former are those with which society has endowed itself and which are imposed from outside, while individual rules are those we impose on ourselves.
The former must be accepted as necessary for the harmonious functioning of society, the latter o give order to our lives. In other words: respecting the former ensures the functioning of something bigger than ourselves; respecting the latter makes us better off.
Therefore, I have given myself rules that, when followed, give harmony to my life. Some people don’t need or want to know about it, and some people can’t do without it. What about you, do you have your own very personal rules?
1. Write every day
They say you should start writing in the morning, when you wake up, to try to capture the dreams you just had. I never made it, and those, often, fade away.
You can do it the rest of the day, though. A good method is to write whatever is on your mind or keep a journal. You can write down more or less personal facts or even just the things you do or eat. Food journaling, for example, is a good habit.
What is the purpose of writing? To clear the mind. What you transfer to paper (or computer) magically makes your head weigh less and frees up your memory. Try it to believe.
2. Use the stairs
In this case my rule is: if I don’t have to go up more than three floors then I use the stairs. All it takes to succeed is a modicum of pride: since I run, it is not permissible for me not to make an effort to do them. Besides, I save elevator power and burn a few calories-all in good shape.
3. When you can, always walk
It helps me in this that I really enjoy walking. Besides keeping me fit and allowing me to think very fluidly and creatively, it is also a zero-impact activity. I don’t consume fuel, I don’t consume electricity, at most I consume the soles of my shoes. In addition, the walking time is ideal for looking around, seeing how the seasons change, even looking at your cell phone and answering a few texts (okay, I’m not hiding). The speed by bike or car is too much to appreciate all these details but on foot it is perfect.
4. Work out at least three times a week
I’m not a workout freak, I don’t make a big deal if I miss one or two nor would I workout every day. However, I have found that my physical balance requires at least 3 workouts per week, one of which is a little longer. A classic, there is nothing original in my program.
However, it does not matter to be original: it matters to respect it. It matters to be continuous and never give up out of laziness or listlessness. And I never give up. It is my rule!
5. Some time for myself, every day
The company of others is beautiful, but have you ever thought that the company of yourself is just as important? Being in our own company does not mean being lonely and grumpy: it means listening to our own needs and respecting them. Do you feel like reading? Do it. Need to distract yourself by seeing a movie? Watch it.
Being alone does not mean staring at a spot on the horizon or living in a cave: it means taking care of us and listening to us. For most hours of the day we follow a schedule decided by others or by the accidents that happen to us. Instead, for a few hours we decide what to do with our time.
6. Always give thanks
I know: it sounds very New Age, and I can imagine it feels strange for you to do it, but it eliminates the thought that it’s stupid. I start from a different premise: nothing is owed to me and everything I receive is a gift. The sun in the sky is not due, neither is food, nor is help from others or a smile from a stranger.
Giving thanks is a way of saying that you are grateful for what you receive and, above all, it predisposes positively. You don’t believe it until you try it. It doesn’t need to be said out loud, but it does need to be acknowledged: with a smile, with a thought not expressed in words. Just think one thing very clearly: thank you for all this.
7. Always set the alarm clock at odd times
More than a rule this is a fixation of mine but it has a very specific reason. Since the alarm clock is a useful but obnoxious tool, I express my contempt to it by setting the alarm only at odd hours.
And what would the odd numbers have that would be obnoxious? Nothing, poor people. It’s just that in my view of math (very fuzzy, this one) even numbers are nicer and odd numbers a little less nice, so they’re good for the alarm clock. Okay? Try to understand me.
8. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
Some say the glass of water as soon as you get up “awakens cells and reactivates processes.” I guess it’s true but I haven’t investigated it much. I can only confirm that I think it works and sometimes-suggestion or not-it works better than coffee. One thing is certain: it doesn’t hurt.
9. Waste as little as possible
I have a dream: to produce very little garbage. In fact, my dream would be not to produce any at all but that is clearly impossible to achieve. Because I take certain reasoning to extremes, I have forced myself to look at the garbage can as the measure of my failures: still all that stuff do you throw away? This is not good at all.
The same goes for shoes (running shoes, of course) or clothes: as long as it is possible I use them, if they are repairable I try to salvage them, when I have to buy new ones I try to spend more to get quality products because I know they will last longer (and pollute less). The road to zero waste is a long one, but in the meantime I am on my way.
10. Prepare your own food
Cooking has countless advantages and one disadvantage. I’ll tell you right now (and it’s not even a huge downside): it takes time, but the upside is that it rewards you by giving you the satisfaction of having done something useful and practical, which keeps your mind busy and allows you to do other things in the meantime, like listening to music, an audiobook, or podcasts (maybe Il Lungo or Fuorisoglia) or just allows you to think.
Preparing your own food is also very healthy because you control the raw materials and avoid processed foods. Finally, you produce less waste (see the previous point) because, especially if you buy the unpackaged raw materials, you do not have to dispose of any materials.
11. Remember the rules you set for yourself
Well, I don’t think it needs much explanation this one, does it?