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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

The Rules We Live By

I had this friend in high school whose parents had all these strict rules—rules that seemed crazy to me as a teenager.

For example, if she left her clothes on the floor for longer than a day, her mom would throw them away.

Sounds overly strict, doesn’t it? Maybe it was, but she didn’t leave clothes on the floor after the first time her favorite jeans hit the trash can.

What if we did the same thing with our lives? What if we held ourselves accountable with our rules?

Our lives are nothing but rules anyway. Unfortunately, most of our rules are disempowering: If I make a million dollars, then I can be happy. If I get this promotion, then I’ll work harder. If someone doesn’t like me, then I’m going to feel hurt. Too often our rules are just debilitating if-then statements.

It’s time to make some new rules. Today. Empowering rules—rules that will help us grow.

New rules: If I wake up today, then I’ll be happy. If I exercise today, then I’ll feel more confident. If I spend focused time with loved ones today, then I’m contributing in a meaningful way. If I step outside my comfort zone today, then I will grow.

The key, though, is sticking to your rules no matter what. Rain, hail, sleet, or snow, you must adhere to the rules you create. As long as your rules are empowering, you’ll be glad you did.

Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.