Rules, as boring as it may sound, are what gives life structure. And what comes with structure, maybe surprisingly to some, is freedom.
The better you know yourself, what works for you, what makes you creative, happier or more fulfilled, the more you will get out of each day. It’s like knowing what’s the perfect pressure for tires (21.2), what oil works the best (coconut) or which fuel (95) makes the motor hum. Having those three in check will help your car go further.
As always when creating a new habit, structure and rules, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with dozen habits all at once. But it’s good to map out some now that you think would help in the future. Then start implementing one at a time.
None of these are set in stone either. If you’ve been doing something for years and one day come to conclusion that it doesn’t jive with you anymore, change or remove it. These are your rules and you don’t have to follow what someone else might think as their keystone habits.
By the way, I am not talking about creating a mission statement or anything else here. I am simply suggesting that you figure out 5-10 key habits for your life that you will do every single day, without fail. That being said, mission statement will eventually be what drives your actions. If you haven’t put the pen on the paper before now might be the time to do so.
Anyways, to give you an idea on keystone habits, here’s mine. I might miss a habit or two here and there but I try to get these done every single day.
1. No-agenda sitting for at least 10 minutes
Most days I meditate first thing in the morning while waiting for my coffee to brew. But occasionally I sit outside and just look at things for a while. No phone or other distractions. It’s a great way to get some ideas or to sharpen some existing ideas. A non-judgmental headspace is where it’s at folks.
2. Do some form of movement
See how I didn’t say “do exercise”. There’s a difference here between movement and exercise. Yes, on most weeks I train on four days a week but I don’t need to go and force purposeful exercise each day.
On some days I might go for a walk because it’s good for the mind, not because I need to exercise. Few weeks ago me and Colleen went for a few hour hike in a national park. Not because we needed to exercise but because it’s a nice way to spend time together. Exercise is just the added benefit that comes with it. It could even be a pub crawl and walking the distances between pubs. It’s still movement.
Few days a week I do some movement work on the floor while streaming a movie or a series. Mainly to open up the hips. Movement, not exercise. Meaning I am not looking to get gassed.
3. Do something creative
This could be anything from writing my blog, playing guitar, cooking or drawing skulls on our garage door. Sometimes I just draw random figures on a piece of paper. It’s all fair game.
I find that pursuing creativity in seemingly unrelated task such as guitar, will help another, such as writing.
4. Write down at least one thing I am grateful for
I do this at the end of the day before going to bed. It could be trivial things like seeing a beautiful sunrise or bigger things such as being grateful for certain people in my life. There’s no rules for this, as long I write what I am truly grateful for that day.
Cultivating gratitude has had a huge impact in my life. Even a seemingly bad day finishes with a positive thought.
5. Read or learn at least 30 minutes
99% of the time it’s a book related to work or self-development but it might also be catching up on blogs or videos. Currently re-reading Movement by Gray Cook and also (still) re-reading The 7 Habits… by Stephen Covey.
I also read “a lighter” book each night to help me wind down. Currently reading Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. And it’s freaking me out.
6. Sleep at least 7 hours a night.
I won’t budge on this. And since I am usually up by 5am, it means that if I am in bed reading later than 9.30pm it’s a late night. I know, I like to live dangerously. However, following this helps me staying focused during the day.
If you are just starting to add rules it works better to have some type of checklist where you can see how you’ve done each day in regards to your rules and habits. It also act as a remainder of things to get done before you’ve burned the habits in your memory. I’ve added the above habits one at a time over a long period of time so doing them happens organically these days.
Surprisingly thought I don’t have any rules set around eating or diet. I used to though, and recommend it to anyone who struggles with healthy eating or over consumption of treats.
I know that I feel better, look better and function better with healthy eating habits so it comes naturally without thinking. As long as I eat healthy 80-90% time I don’t stress what happens with the remaining 10-20%. And as long as the mirror, performance and the doctor agree, I am all good.
What are your Daily Rules for Freedom? There is no right or wrong in here. Unless your rules will land you in jail. That would make it wrong in eyes of the law, ese. And we would have an issue with the function of rules = freedom.