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Amber’s 21 Rules to Live By

I’ve discovered that when you do good things, you almost get addicted to doing even more good things. Maybe we just thrive on the feeling of greatness or the priceless feeling of helping people.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the things I do that make me feel good about myself and encourage you to add to this list, as well as review and implement some of these things in your life…

  • When someone sneezes, say bless you. People will appreciate your effort and feel like they exist. When no one says anything, people tend to feel ignored or embarrassed.
  • Remember your manners – always say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Making that effort makes the other person feel good, which promotes them doing more for you or others.
  • Be a person of your word. If you say you’re going to meet someone for lunch at a certain time, make sure you are there. If you say you’ll help someone move, no excuses. I’m not saying I do this 100% all the time (nobody’s perfect)… but I absolutely strive to.
    Burrowing owl
  • Be careful of the judgments you make about people. In a bar setting, you may see an older guy hitting on a younger woman and judge him. But, caution here. Think that maybe, just maybe, that man was recently divorced. Unsure of how to date, what to do or how to behave since he’s been out of the dating scene for so long. He’s probably humiliated, insecure, and lonely. You never know, so be careful of the judgments you lay on people.
  • Tell the truth. Maybe you’ve heard of that Zen saying, “Leap, and the net will appear!” Well, if you are unsure of telling someone the truth for fear of their reaction, then I say 2 things to you. 1) Avoid putting yourself in situations that will result in this fear of telling the truth. 2) Leap and the net will appear. Often we think the outcome is worse than it is. And if you lie, the situation will snowball. You will find yourself stressing out waaaay more by trying to cover up that truth than if you had just stepped up and had faith in the other person to receive your truth.
  • Listen to your intuition!! I have come to rely very strongly on mine. It tells me when I am not in a good situation, if I’m headed in the wrong direction, and even if I shouldn’t eat a certain food. You’ll be much better off in the long run.
  • Learn to cope with your stress. Stress kills, maybe you’ve heard. It is an inevitable truth that you will have stress in life. By learning how to deal with it (exercising, talking it out, meditating, etc.) you can avoid serious health injuries.
  • Open the door for people, insist.
  • At the store, if the person behind you only has a few items, ask if they would like to go in front of you. You’d be amazed by what impression that leaves on a person.
  • Slow down and become aware of your surroundings. You never know what state people are in. Someone could be on edge or a parent could have too many thoughts going on in their mind… be aware of the people around you and adjust yourself to not interfere with their agendas.
  • If you have things in your home that you don’t need, give them to a nearby homeless shelter. So far this year I’ve donated a desktop computer, printer, 2 bags of clothes, a toaster, and more to It feels so good to know that your luxuries will mean the world to someone in need. You may never get to see the smile on that person’s face, but I envision it. And it makes my day.
  • Keep up with house maintenance. Coming home to a clean house feels good in your soul. You feel like you can handle life a little bit better when your house clutter is organized. Make this a priority.
  • Pay your bills on time. Credit is one of the most important things you can accumulate, so take it seriously. Paying your bills on time (and this takes work to manage finances and plan ahead) can be like cleaning your house. It eliminates one more element of stress in your life when you aren’t avoiding bill collectors and second notices.
  • Take a moment once each day to give yourself recognition. No, this doesn’t have to be a lame suggestion. If you are doing good things in your life, this becomes easy and fun. Once each day, I try and reflect on the things I do in my life to make it great. Then I take a moment to think, “Man, I kick ass!” As silly as it sounds, it serves as validation that I am on the right track in my life.
  • In addition to the last rule, take a moment to give thanks and recognition to those closest to you. My dog Bailey means the world to me, and that’s an understatement. There’s at least one point in the day when I look at him and think, “Man, I love that dog! He lights up my day and I couldn’t be more thankful that he is in my life.” I do that same reflection on my parents and boyfriend. It really enhances my quality of life to take that time to realize how lucky I am.
  • Get plenty of sleep and spoil yourself a little. Taking care of yourself should be your #1 priority. No one else can do that for you.
  • Moderation is key. We all know what foods/drinks/activities are good for us, and which are not good for us. Eating cookies is something I like to do, but I also know that sugar is bad for me. I’ll treat myself to dessert every once and a while (to spoil myself), but it’s all in moderation. I could eat 4 scoops of ice cream, but instead, I have 1-2. Do what’s good for you. Have that focus.
  • Be quick to get back to people who email or call you. Be the type of person that people can count on.
  • Try and do random acts of kindness. Send a friend a “just thinkin’ of you” card, leave a “just wanted to say I love you” message to a family member, or buy a small gift for someone you think they’ll like out of the blue.
  • Fight the laziness and depression monster! Once you focus on that laziness or depression, it only shows up more. It’s like feeding a monster. Don’t give it any thought or attention (food/nourishment) and it can’t survive.
  • Stay organized. Write all of your thoughts into a to-do list. That way, at night, you don’t have to spend time thinking about it or reminding yourself. Once you put it on paper, you know you can pick back up on it tomorrow. We need to start being easier on ourselves and not spending so much time obsessing about to-dos, reminders, what-if scenarios, work issues, etc.
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