The 12 Rules To Live By

12 rules

The 12 rules to live by should act as a guiding structure for you to make your own…

The one thing I admire about people who have strong nutrition rules is their dogmatic behavior.

For example, a vegetarian, under no circumstances, will ever eat meat. There is no, “well, everyone else is having a burger, so just this once, I will too.” That’s not how it works. Not when a vegetarian has a strong personal philosophy that they never, ever, ever eat meat.

That strong personal philosophy guides them to guilt-free behavior that is congruent with their goals.

I’ve taught both my fitness clients and CEO coaching members to develop their own personal philosophy – essentially a set of rules that dictate decisions. I’ve also created my own rules that determine how I live my life so that I reduce guilt, stress, and wasted emotional energy.

I’ve also created my own rules that determine how I live my life so that I reduce guilt, stress, and wasted emotional energy.

My personal philosophies are not wrong or right, but they work for my unique ambitions and health. And I’m offering them to you as encouragement you to adopt your own rules for the sake of living a better, more productive, stress-free life.

You may have rules in your head that you’ve always followed, but I encourage you to put them in writing. You can adopt a set of rules for every aspect of your life, from health to financial to family and business.

My 12 Rules

  1. I go to bed and get up at the same time 7 days per week (8 p.m. and 4 a.m.) I stick to my diet, avoid caffeine after 1 p.m., and avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime.

    SUGGESTED: The Ultimate Guide to Morning Routines

  2. I write for at least 60 minutes first thing every morning.
  3. I do not check email before 11 a.m. and I do not talk on the phone unless it is a scheduled interview or conference call.
  4. I act polite and courteous, and I do not swear.
  5. I create a to-do list at the start & end of every workday and update my daily gratitude & achievement journal.
  6. I do not engage in confrontations with anyone, in-person or online. This is a waste of time and energy. If I have caused harm, I apologize and fix the situation. And then I take a deep breath, relax, breathe out, and re-focus my efforts back on my work and goals.
  7. I am guided by these two phrases:a) “Nothing matters.” – I can only work towards the major, massive goals and my vision of helping others, while the opinions of others do not matter to my goals.b) “It will all be over soon.”
  8.  Everything that happens to me – good and bad – is my personal responsibility. I blame no one but myself. These are the choices I’ve made – this is the life I’m living. I will accept the consequences of my actions.
  9. I will help 10 Million men and women transform their lives.
  10. I will not be the person I don’t want to be. I will not be petty, jealous, or envious, or give in to any other of those lazy emotions. I will not gossip or speak badly of others, no matter who I am with or what environment that I am in. I will not be negative when it is easier to be positive. I will not hurt others when it is possible to help. I will know the temptations and environments in life that I must avoid, and I will, in fact, avoid them, even if it means loosening relationships with others who “live” in those environments. It’s my life and that matters more than what other people think of me.
  11. “I will always keep the child within me alive.” – Ted Nicholas.
  12. “I will write with honesty and feeling.” – Ted Nicholas. The opinion of others does not matter. What matters is the number of people that I can help by sharing advice and encouragement in my writing.

    SUGGESTED: How to Write a Book- FAST!

I know there will be two types of reactions to this content. First, some will dismiss it – and dismiss me– but that’s ok. To the other band of people, these philosophies will simply make sense. That’s because these high achievers can see the benefit of each rule, and how it could enlighten an aspect of living (whether work, family time, or personal development).

The purpose of this list is to stimulate YOUR thinking about the rules that will transform YOUR life.

Learn how to not only set your rules, but follow them to create your perfet life by reading The Perfect Day Formula. Since you’ve already taken the first step to changing your life by reading this, I want to give you a copy for FREE to start reading immedietly.

This makes you realize that what’s holding you back is not a lack of knowledge. Knowledge is out there and freely available. Instead, the missing piece is making the decision to set unfailing rules.

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  • Thank-you for your awesome list of 12…great food for thought…

    Love your energy.

    May I repost this list on the notice board of my website for our members. I know they would enjoy it alot.

    Have the best day of your life today….


    • cb

      Certainly, thank you Kathryn.


  • TrishaD

    I strive to treat others as I would want to be treated. That is my number one rule. I worked for a company who invoked what they called the Platinum Rule – to treat others as THEY would want to be treated. I always felt unsuccessful in my attempts because it is very difficult to KNOW how someone else wishes to be treated so the Golden Rule is still my guiding light. Besides I may actually treat them better than they wish to be treated utilizing the Golden Rule 🙂

    I love that you have a solid dozen and am going to search myself to identify other rules that I live by to bring them to the forefront of my mind so I can be more consistent in applying them. Thanks for a great, thought provoking article.

  • Wow what a great article and great concept- im getting to work on mine today. Looking forward to helpng you out with your Rule #9. Thanks

  • I spent 12 years in the Scouts, and in these situations say I try to live by the boy scout law and promise:-
    A.On my honour, I promise that I will do my best,
    To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
    To help other people,
    And to keep the Scout Law.
    B. A Scout is to be trusted.
    A Scout is loyal.
    A Scout is friendly and considerate.
    A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts.
    A Scout has courage in all difficulties.
    A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
    A Scout has self-respect and respect for others

  • Rob

    It’s funny how quickly your rule #6 can dissolve almost any negative situation. Case in point…

    On Monday I was out surfing for the first time in awhile after hurting my knee. I accidentally ran into a guy while on a wave. Bonked him on the head and messed up his board a bit.

    He yelled. I offered him money to fix his board and for “assaulting” him. He laughed at the assault part, and asked for $20 to fix his board. I gladly gave it to him and we parted friends.

    Good stuff Craig!

  • Thank you Craig that was great! As I start my copywriting business I am realizing how important a set of goals and rules are for yourself in order to remain humble. It’s harder for me to set time rules because I do have young children at home and sometimes that dictates time wise. However some rules I live by are:

    1.) Get up and move at least 30 minutes a day. It does not have to be set exercise but at least a walk or playing tag with my children.

    2.) Make you life centered around service to others and you will reap the rewards. Service to the less fortunate through charity work or to your customers. Make it a focus to help them give their best to their customers.

    3.) Go the extra mile. If you can give a little more of yourself to help another person do it! Make sure you give 100% of yourself in all you do. Only give the best effort and you will shine.

    4.) Give 10% of your income to a charity, denomination of anything that is dear to your heart. If will help you feel more grateful for what you do have.

    Those are some of my ideas that you for the opportunity to share them with others.


  • Lopaze Lasane

    Great post! The fire is still alive in ETR…

    12 rules to live by is absolutely a game changer to enhance your life.



  • Julie J

    Could you expound on #6 in a future posting. I get that “arguing” is non-productive but when one is passionate about an idea, shouldn’t one stand up for it to make it happen?

  • Hi Craig,

    Well I guess I should start with: “Welcome!” :). Great first article Craig.

    And, after putting aside my initial thoughts when I saw the new email format (ie. Wtf, what was wrong with the old one?), I read the article and loved it.

    Especially like the parts about not worrying how others judge you & not getting confrontational with anyone online or off. Great pieces of advice as always, which is why I’ve grown to love, and look forward to, ETR in my inbox every day.

    Looks like ETR is in good hands. Then again, I’m sure Masterson would not have left it under the care of someone he did not completely feel comfortable with.

    Kudos to yo Craig, and again, welcome!

    Best of luck,

    Jim Rodante
    Maywood, NJ

  • Mine are congruent with yours. It was difficult to learn to walk away from arguments. Your email arrived at a time of challenge; it was good to be reminded that the challenge will pass. thank you.


  • jessica

    Congratulations! Awesome article, welcome to my world. A button: ´´Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don´t matter and those who matter don´t mind´´ — Dr. Seuss. With ur permission will forward to my friends as well.

  • Kenneth Bailey

    could you please go back to the old email format? I haven’t had a newsletter this UNPROFESSIONAL in years, FROM ANYONE! It ranks down there with emails asking for account information from Nigeria. Email newsletters should ALWAYS scale to the width of your window. The one you sent me uses half of the screen with a blank “stripe” heading down the side.

    • cb

      Hey Kenneth, thanks for the feedback. We’ll work on improving it.


  • Fantastic article! Very similar to my own life principles and core values! Awesome!

  • Zenny

    For a good day everyday (author unknown):
    1. Accept each day as God’s special gift
    2. Every morning, ask Him to bless your day
    3. Start the day with a spiritual warm-up. Count your blessings and believe that this will be one of your best days.
    4. Think a good day. We generally get what we expect.
    5. Plan a good day. Picture in detail 24 satisfying hours.
    6. Work your plan.
    7. Enjoy a good day. Don’t let anything that happens keep you from making the best of this day.
    8. Made God and doing good vital parts of your day.
    9. End your day with thanksgiving for the day behind you and for the night and the morrow before you.

  • 1. Never attend a meeting without an agenda – and stick to it.

    2. Be the smartest person the person you are meeting with will see that day. You may not get the deal there and then – but they will remember you. I always wear a dark suit, white shirt, silk tie and silk handkerchief to business meetings.

    3. It is better to be kind and not right

    4. If you want an answer now, the answer is no – without exception. The online marketers who insist on time limited offers should be consigned to the museums.

  • David

    I drink whiskey its good for the soul.

  • Seama

    I never thought of having a philosophy for myself. Probably i do but i never notice. I always the more intelligent and wiser persons have their philosophy. But reading your article help me to realize “hey i have my philosopy.I o try some of the 12 rules you have.
    1. Arguing with others. Encouraging and advising other youth people. 3. Trying to get closer to God, Building a good relationship wit God. 4. I try to patience and understanding with people. 5. I strive to be humble and be wiser. 6. I try not to take on stuff and just try and help the situation.
    7. I try to forgive people when they do me and not to bring it up or against them at anytime. 8. I also try not be jealous or envy at others, i want to happy for them. 9. i read my bible before i sleep and pray. hoping that whatever i have read i would use in my daily life.

    • cb

      Very nice list Seama,


  • Deborah

    Welcome, Craig. It is enlightening to see the concepts (in #10) expressed by a young person, as those “lazy emotions” are usually only controlled by aging. When I do find myself with the type of person who lives in those emotions, I make sure I never take it personally.

  • Your list gave me some good ideas…..thanks. One thing that I have done for years – the alarm goes off on my phone everyday at 11:11. At that time, I stop, make a mental gratitude list, assess my morning, and if I have had some “issues”, I let them go and if all is well….then I just add that to the gratitude list. This helps me to NEVER have a “bad” day because if something is amiss in the morning, by 11:11 it’s fixed, and I continue having a wonderful day – with gratitude in my heart. Works like a charm!

  • David Kamnitzer

    1) Be the Love that I AM

    2) Always do my best. Use my God-Given
    gifts … be a good steward

    3) Honor Life and the Living and
    release the dead and the dying

    4) Forgive ….

    5) Be in Gratitude

    6) Release the desire to experience
    anything other than Heaven

    7) Be committed to be an Uplifter and
    allow Life to work better

    8) Connect with amazing people of all ages.

    9) Be a good steward of my body and mind.

    10)Be a good friend.

  • Craig,
    first of all… WELCOME to ETR… I enjoyed and learned and got inspired and so much more with ETR so far… but it seam like I will love it even more from now on…just as Michael Masterson say in his last letter… wow, I can sense and feel very, very comfortable reading what you write.. I almost can say that I know you personally (Witch I would love to but financial situation not as great yet)


    I love the rules you love by… I already use many of them my self (probably not as great as you since financially I did not make up to the standard I deserve:-) but accomplished much in my 65 years of life here on earth… I guess it is MY BEST interest to add what is missing to the list of rules to live by and succeed along side you.

    I am 100% now vegan after 15 years of being vegetarian and 48 years of eating everything under the sun and under the mountains and sea…and drink enough wine and other alcohol rich drinks to last me 10 lifetimes…

    I am now very, very sorry living that past lifestyle… but I am grateful reaching the time when finally I got to understand what I was doing and STOPPED on the spot back in 1998.

    Look forward to every thing you write, you suggest and you share with all of us who did not get there yet and look forward to meet with you in person soon…

    By the way.. it was nice to get to know of the change .. but I wonder how come there is no pictures of you and Matt Smith… any reasons?

    Are you shy or privacy or security matters? I believe a picture will help people who is like me… I love to connect using an image of the person and the voice and then what they write would be more deeper understood… anyway… that is me… hope it helps.

    And for your goal to assist one million people “transformed their lives – physically, financially, or emotionally….” I LOVE to be one of them who will succeed… I REALLY REALLY love to.

    I am 65, as I mentioned, did not accomplished as much as I love to for my self, my family and friends.. actually at this time I have a $480,000 debt against (bad financial decisions) a $600,000 property and straggling to pay the mortgages since I live only on my disability and old age pension income.

    I done a lot toward improving my lifestyle in every way… financially I did not succeeded, so now after so much done in the wrong way to improve and did not succeeded 100% yet… you come along with a very positive and strong attitude to help and assist if possible..

    It is possible that this is the time I finally can make it? I AM OPEN for all what GOD have to allow me to access..

    Do you have any plans to assist people like me (an old guy who want to succeed in all faced of his life)PERSONALLY?

    If you do… (Please reply to me when possible with any reply) and please add me to the list if this is your intention (I do not have financial means to pay much at this time) and if you like to use me as a case study… I am open to that 100% as well… I trust that with you and your coaching we will succeed.

    Sorry for this long email… I am very excited to write to you.. not sure why yet… but I wanted you to know…

    What ever you decide to do with this… is up to you.. I appreciate you have read it.

    Thanks again and WELCOME….

    Sincerely and grateful..
    Nick Catricala

  • scott

    Thanks Craig, great philosophies for high performance living. I built my own list, adopting/modifying some of yours and adding a few like:

    – I practice my 10 minute fitness program every single day
    – I know nothing is as good or bad as it seems
    – I sow what I reap and constantly look for opportunities to sow habits, activities and relationships that will accumulate into benefit
    – I treat ALL other people as if they are important

    I’m looking forward to more of your insights.

  • Frank

    There seems no place in your “life” for spontaneity, fun or intellectual challenge and you will certainly not attract artistic or creative souls to your clock watching ascetic world. Have you ever been in love or did you turn that off at 9pm ?? Also what’s with all this “save the world” mission you proclaim. You are just selling a product like most other internet hucksters.

    Think it through and good luck with your life

  • Another great article – Thank you! xxx

    I’ve used your list to create my own. Here it is…

    I will say ‘no’ when I don’t want to do something. I will not say ‘yes’ simply to please other people leaving myself short or put out.

    I will write a to-do list at the end of every workday and I will follow that to-do list starting first thing the next morning.

    I will do something every single day to bring myself closer to my main goals.

    I will not stop or give up until I have achieved my main goal of 1 million in the bank or in properties owned outright.

    I will not waste my time helping people set up businesses. If they beg me for help, I will give them the tools and advice to help themselves only and not get involved.

    I will make decisions quickly and decisively by asking what will bring me closer to my goals, not what will others think of me.

  • Great list and article. I use a similar list to help keep me focused. When I am too busy to follow my own rules, my productivity suffers.
    Welcome to ETR and I am looking forward to your posts. (Though Mr Masterson’s voice will be missed).
    Tracy Benham

  • We all have our rules and our behavior is dictated by our rules. Many rules are subconscious, and many of those are not serving us well, but they are there. If someone makes a reasonable rule, say, eat natural food, but has well established behavior of eating junk food, the unconscious junk food rule will win. When you want to make a rule that is different than your current behavior, then some inner work us usually required to dislodge and reintegrate the old rule before the new rule can become effective.


  • DLJ

    Floss daily… if you can’t handle the little things, how can you handle the big ones?

    Pray for someone each day… and make a difference in someone else’s life.

    Tithe faithfully… you can’t out-give the Lord.

    Manage your time… it’s respectful to others, and it’s the only resource you can’t re-create.

    Say No… be willing to help, but don’t try to be all things to all people.

    Speak the truth… be honest, but temper with tact. Besides, it’s easier than remembering lies.

    Learn to Shut Up… share when appropriate. But always be ready to listen.

    Finish what you start… the best projects get completed in a timely fashion… and small victories lead to bigger victories.

    Focus… prioritize, set goals, and keep them. Write them down and cross them off… it’s magical.

    Get organized… it’s a gift to yourself and those around you.

    Stay disciplined… it’s the only way to improve and accomplish.

    Seek wisdom… it’s cheaper and faster to learn from the experience of others.

    Love… in all aspects; lead, follow, correct, teach, and demonstrate by example.

    Learn from Mistakes… both yours and others’… or prepare to repeat them.

  • Madh Bhatia

    It is absolute. I have always enjoyed reading Early to rise. It was great going through the 12 rules. I each day,commit myself to be organized and being good to all, shake off my limitations, smile, be tenacious, never to bow down to wrongs, be a crusader,and follow the righteous path. I have had my share of uphill life, but each day, I reinforce myself that that is also not permanent.
    As a single mom I have to pay for my daughter’s education in the US for next three years,my finances are in doldrums, my son has alienated from the family. But life moves on and all is going to be well.
    I will stand as a pillar of strength for my family and those whom I can influence with my righteous strength.

  • Bob

    I’ve really only had one rule to live by, but it’s served me well.

    “Write down what you want inscribed on your tombstone – and then try to live that way.”

  • Craig,
    You have kept me from missing Michael Masterson today.
    It’s comforting to know I may continue to learn from the best, one of rules I live by.
    Mary Ellen

  • Kevin Wood


    I greatly enjoyed your article. It also inspired me to write out the ten rules that I live by. I’m looking forward to the New ETR and this is a great start.

    I have been self employed for most of my life, so some of these rules stem from my experience as a business owner.

    1. Conduct myself with honesty and integrity. Attempting to deceive others will only harm me and my business.

    2. Provide the highest level of customer service that I can. Ensure that issues are resolved one way or the other within 24 hours.

    3. Make time to play or engage in some activity with my son every day. If I’m on the road, talk to him on the phone every day and especially before his bedtime.

    4. Treat others with respect, even if I disagree with them.

    5. Strive to eat healthy, natural and organic foods.

    6. Be a constant advocate for liberty. Promote the benefits and joys of freedom to all who will listen.

    7. Help others to identify and live the life of their dreams.

    8. Make people laugh. I believe that humor can be a healing force and can help people to enjoy their lives more.

    9. Be thankful every day for the blessings of life and always be appreciative for the good things that enrich me.

    10. Never give up. Always strive for a better, more fulfilling life.

    This was a great exercise and I thank you for suggesting it. ETR has been an important part of my life, and I’m confident it will continue to be.

    • cb

      Excellent Kevin, happy to help.


  • Sally

    Welcome! I was afraid that Michael Masterson was going to be a hard act to follow! You have started out on the right foot! Thanks for your encouragement. Your 12 rules to live by are awesome.
    I recently had a “set back” in life and am struggling to find myself and know what to do. The ETR emails are uplifting for me. I look forward to reading them daily.
    Keep them coming! Sally

  • Craig,

    That is a GREAT list. Thank you for sharing it. Here is mine.

    To ensure happiness, fulfillment, and value in my life, I

    BEGIN each day with a prayer expressing my gratitude for all the ways in which I have been blessed.

    CONDUCT myself at all times according to the principles of Personal Accountability, Curiosity, Emotional Mastery, Empathy, Generosity, Honesty, Humility, Integrity, Loyalty, Patience, Respect, and Self-Confidence.

    DEVELOP my talents and abilities as a leader and teacher.

    KEEP IN MIND that “What Is In My Heart At Any Moment Is Reflected on My Face” and strive to always have a smile in my heart.

    LISTEN attentively to everyone.

    LIVE each day deliberately – proactively, not reactively – and with passion always aware that everything I think, everything I do, everything I say is a choice for which I alone am responsible.

    MAKE each day a learning experience, taking time to examine everything like a child.

    MASTER my feelings and emotions – acknowledge them, take pleasure in the positive ones, and release the negative ones.

    REMEMBER that my personal and spiritual growth, my health and fitness, my relationships, my contribution to society, and financial security are what is truly important in life.

    STRIVE to “touch” at least one other person every day.

    WORK HARD at being the best son, the best husband, the best father, the best brother, the best friend I can be – teaching by example the importance of living a principle-centered life.

    • cb

      Chuck, impressive. Thank you for sharing.


  • Tim Tapp

    I thoroughly enjoyed your “12 Rules for My Life.”

    I follow seven (7)that use the word FITNESS as an acronym:

    1. F. – Focus: I maintain a personal mission statement and assure that all goals, tasks, etc. are consistent with that focus.

    2. I. – Interpersonal: I value the relationships in my life and consistently seek to improve those and my skills and abilities in developing new.

    3. T. – Training: I am a life long learner and schedule time to consistently study new concepts, technologies and theories.

    4. N. – Nutrition: On a personal level I maintain a healthy diet on a professional level I work on project that I have a “hunger/passion” for.

    5. E. – Exercise: On a personal level I have an ongoing fitness regimen. On a professional level I “practice/rehearse” best practices to improve existing skills and to minimize weaknesses.

    6. S. – Social: I believe that I have a social obligation to “give back” for all that I have received. I practice this in business through outreach programs and personally through volunteering.

    7. S. – Spiritual: I believe in self-renewal – Covey’s “Sharpen the Saw.” I actively share my faith in God and His teachings to create both a professional and personal “culture” for growth.

  • Wow Craig. That is unbelievable. Great stuff. This can truly help me. I believe you will be a great asset to ETR. I have been a fan of the site for a while, and I am hoping to be one of the million people you help. I do this part time while supporting my family on the side but I believe with the right focus one can succeed at this and at life. You are living proof.

  • Elizabeth Piepenbrink

    It is a pleasure to read an article that provides us with so much Light and make us think how we can contribute to make this a better world!
    Congratulations to Craig, Matt and of course, Michael Masterson as they begin writing a new exciting chapter in their lives. I have welcomed all articles by Mr. Masterson as he has allowed Divine Will guide him with every word he expresses. I am eager to continue reading ETR’s articles to be inspired to deliver my best.

    Two of my best postulates I live by are, one, “Nihil sub sole novum. There is nothing new under the sun” It helps me stay grounded and to know that there is a constant flow of creativity and resourcefulness I can always tap into.
    And two, Fiat Lux “Let there be Light” as it reminds me of what I am and what I am always strive to bring into this world.

    Best of successes!
    Elizabeth Piepenbrink

  • Craig,

    A great article to live one’s life with, thanks for sharing.

    My wife and I live with the principle of “Never having to say ‘I should have…'”
    It basically means that we don’t do (or avoid doing) something we would regret in the future.

    cheers, Raymond

  • Nice, Craig. I wasn’t sure how the New ETR would turn out.
    I liked the new format. Easier to read for me.

    David, You and I share #1. Really cool.

    Kenneth, my newsletter looked very professional and scaled easily to my screen. The problem might be with your settings or browser. I use FireFox.

    Have a great time, Craig!


    • cb

      Thanks Cathy, greatly appreciated.


  • As a general rule: It’s never a good idea to loan your stripper ex-girlfriend $3,167 to pay off her biker ex-boyfriend.

  • CTC

    I agree with most of your rules that you live by. MY rules derived out of the diagnosis of having high blodd pressure……so here are a few of mine:

    (1) Dont worry overy things beyond your control
    (2) Stop trying to change people and accept who they are, if their values and beliefs are so out of line with yours, re-evaluate the relationship.
    (3) Stress in small doses is normal, stress that impacts your body internally is bad, get it under control.
    (4) If you bother to put the time and energy into an argument, make 1000% sure YOUR RIGHT, if the other person doesn’t seem to get it or still wants to argue, WALK AWAY!!!
    (5) Check all labels on your food, sodium is a killa

  • Hey, Craig and Partner,
    I’m so happy to have you two on board (in charge now). I started reading Early To Rise in 2006-07. I loved it. But last 2 or 3 years I stopped reading it. I still read Michael Masterson’s Saturday post.

    His introduction of you two yesterday was fabulous though. And I’m really looking forward to real positive, upbeat, new and valuable posts and information from you guys!

    Thank you!


  • Maggie

    Well Craig, I guess we’re both newcomers as this is the first ETR newsletter I get…. There is a lot of wisdom in that list and I will take advice from it. In fact, I think I will make one as this is probably the reason why my life is such in crumbles right now. I am recovering from suicidal thoughts and harmful habits because of the stress I felt from our family business that is in great difficuly.

    I am glad to have found ETR.

  • David


    I hope this newer version of ETR will be of more help to those who are isolated (i.e. – unemployed) and not particularly computer savvy. I tried a few of the ETR programs, and was lost from the start every time because I simply do not understand the logic and lingo of computering. To put it more simply, I seldom knew what Michael Masterson was talking about. Was he trying to help… or exploit me? I never quite knew.

    Thanks. Good luck to you both.


  • Simple
    There is no path to happiness
    HAPPINESS is the path

  • Great post Craig, I look forward to hearing more from you!

    One of the success principles I (try to) follow is reflected in your #8: Take 100% Responsibility. It’s probably done me more good than any other advice.

    You mention nightly readings. Would you be willing to share some of the readings that you find inspirational or motivational, or that bring peace of mind before bedtime?

  • gishfarm

    I had a minor heart attack A few years ago (I am 40 now). I was lucky, I lived. Several around me have not been so lucky as to get a little warning one…

    I have recently started making decisions by a new rule. When I start feeling stressed out about a situation I make the decision that causes me the least stress. Sorry, too bad for everyone else. Sometimes my wife, kids, work, friends, or church get the short-end of the stick, but dead-me = them getting it alot more often.

    I was very surprised at how drastically happier this decision-making process has made my life.

    Also I try to make decision based on their priority 1-God, 2-Wife, 3-Children, 4-Family, 5-Friends, 6-Church, 7-Community Luckily God rarely expects me to do anything that would interfere with my wife, kids, or family…

    • cb

      Thank you for sharing.

      Wishing you continued great health,


  • Really great food for thought. We become and do what we practice so practicing good habits makes for a more complete life. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Thank you for sharing! it has enlightened me and made me wonder what’s my own to live by daily too! I appreciate it 🙂

  • First of all, congratulations on your newly assigned gig Craig! I have a special recipe for problem solving that has been passed on by my dad . . . it’s simple, you have to identify the following three questions:

    1. Condition
    2. Cause
    3. Effect

    When using this simple recipe, it helps to break down (in writing) what the condition is (poor health, lack of financial security, so on and so forth), then identify what is the cause of this condition, and finally, what effect is it having on your life as you know it.
    Looking forward to reading your future writings ~ thanks for taking the time!
    Warm regards,
    Teri McCarthy

    • cb


      Very well said. And I appreciate the kind words, thank you.


  • mike

    1. People are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
    2. The QUALITY of your friends and contacts is much more important than the Quantity.
    3. The members of your inner circle need to be inspirational
    4. Connect with the right people
    5. You want people who help push you forward, not hold you back
    6. Do not spend any more time with people who do not make you better
    7. Quit enabling the dysfunctional people in your life
    8. Get away from energy drainers
    9. Get rid of toxic relationships
    10. If people wish to treat you like you have the plague, its THEIR loss.
    11. Don’t cast your gifts among the swine…..
    12. Peoples negative influence will hold you back
    13. It’s OK to say NO, walk away or show people the door

    1 is the story of life…..
    2 through 5 are IMPORTANT to have IN your life
    6 through 13 are IMPORTANT to make sure these type of people get OUT of your life

  • Wayne R. Grim

    Welcome aboard Craig. It seems like you know how to fill these big shoes left for you. My only problem is you come across as if you support Vegetarianism. I hope not because when my brother died in 1999 at the age of 54 from a massive heart attack I explored the vegetarian regiment. I lasted 2 weeks when I decided I needed to research this. Just the basics tell me it is a religion and not a healthy way to live. # 1 reason is that I have searched for over 5 years and cannot find a life-long American vegetarian over the age of 70! Not a miss-print. The age of 70! Please do your own research from the other point of view: statistical. I want to see you around for a long time.


  • Ron

    Wow! Thank you! I am 60+ but you have struck a resonating chord with me.Of course I wish I had adopted some sort of “rules to live my life by” much sooner but I can start from today and put my own rules in writing so I can accomplish more in my golden years than I have in all the previous decades.

    This isn’t to say that I haven’t achieved much already but they were more haphazard hit or miss accomplishments. Now they can be targeted.

    I look forward to a long relationship with you and ETR.


    Ron Angus

  • To be honest, I had not expected a successor of Mike Masterson with such a profound life-philosophy. Because of my past, my focus of helping others is different, emphasizing top health. And to do so most effectively, I decided on publishing a free newsletter on rejuvenation. I plan to incorporate my latest research results (I happen to be a scientist by training and experience).
    I wish you, Craig, the very best,

    • cb

      Thank you George, greatly appreciated.


  • Teufellj

    When I get angry at another person bad thoughts or verbal comments follow.
    I say to myself…”Any mean thoughts or verbal comments that I gave to the
    offender I want converted into something good for that person.”

  • Mike Ball

    Thanks for a terrific article. I have never thought to actually write down rules in my life to live by but I love the idea of doing so. You are right, our lives are made up by the decisions we make and my life is the way it is because of my actions or lack thereof. I appreciate the way you spelled that out.

  • Kathi Frank

    Perfectly stated!

    At least 8 out of 12 of these personal philosophies are PERFECTLY aligned with my own. I have learned that the statement “What you think of me is none of my business.” works for me and normally does not offend people who share my attitude toward life.

    Thanks for being clear in your position and motivating the rest of us to be bold in claiming our own.

  • Kevin

    Hi Craig:

    I follow you daily on Men’s Health as well, and am excited to find that you are taking over ETR. I post many of your daily motivational sayings at work as what I call “Thought for the Day”. People look forward to reading them.

    Welcome and good luck with the new venture.

  • bob r

    Congratulations to Craig and Mat.
    I myself usually start out the morning with Tai Chi. After that I think of what good I can do for the day and then I night I recall what good I have done during the day. Best of time

  • Bill

    One of my main personal philosophies is simple: Always leave a place better than you found it. I always try to leave a place cleaner than I found it. And, I always try to leave the people I meet in any place I venture into happier than they were prior to my arrival. I am trying to instill this philosophy in my 11 and 13 year old children. There is a big sign in each of their bedrooms that reads “Always leave a place better than you found it.”

  • Larry

    I like your philosophy of life. They are rules for happiness! Thanks for sharing.

  • joyce

    God morning to everyone..thank you caraig for the 12 rules in life its very effective when applying our daily is important to have rule in our life to follow to make our life better living and to improve our personal philosophy..and i love that all 12 rules..because my life without direction i dont know how to follow, and to do..

  • Jonny

    Excellent stuff! With this one post you demonstrate that Masterson has nominated a very worthy successor.

  • jerry

    My Mission Statement


    To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind
    To make all your friends see that there is something in them
    To look at the funny side of everythins and make your optimism come true
    To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best
    To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own
    To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future
    To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile
    To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others
    To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear; and too happy to permit the presence of trouble
    To think well of yourself and to proclaim this face to the world, not in loud words but in great deeds
    To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

  • nicole

    In Dutch the say:

    Het is geen schand om te vallen, maar schande om te vallen en niet op te staan. It is no shame to fall, but greater shame to fall and not to stand up.

    This is also great to remember. Nobody is perfect. Every learns by making mistakes.


  • Lane Campbell

    My philosophy can be boiled down to two Latin words, which also happen to be the motto of my alma mater: UT PROSIM. (That I may serve). It’s been guiding me since I graduated some 45 years ago…

  • Savannah

    Hi Craig – I was so shocked to see you picking up where Michael Masterson left off – I did not know about your writing – all I knew was that you have great abs! But, now I have seen it and I have to say I am impressed. Looking forward to following you!

  • Brenda

    You must be a very focused and strong person, I like most of your philosophy in life. Its a good idea to go to bed early enough at night to be able to get up early in the morning during the week, however some of us don’t as we have things to finish off before bed. The weekend is the time to socialise and as long as there is no work the next day then going to bed after midnight is fine, all work and no play makes for a dull life. I wish you all the best.

  • Chris

    I really appreciate this post…It really opened my eyes and is very practical..

    Thank you for sharing and continue to share info like this which if applied can truly be life changing!

    Thanks again


  • What a great first post as Editor Craig – thank you.

  • njogu

    Good rules.when does your day end to be able to start your daily reading am interested because of temptations to read any time of the day.

  • charles paul treves

    Published Anonymously—(England–circa 1850)—My guide for most of my 65 years on this earth>>>>>





  • Sally

    I enjoyed your rules. (I, too, am a 5:00 AM riser!) I was told years ago that you can learn something from everyone you meet, and I believe that is true. I would go further to say that along with listening and learning, we should always treat others like they are worthwhile, no matter what their walk of life, becuase we ALL have great worth. When we remember that, we ARE the people we want to be.

  • Rebekah VS

    Although I agree with the “list”, I recognize that I would be stressed by following my own similar expectations so closely (specifically around health habits – not relationships). I practice the 80/20 rule, which allows me to “break” agreement with myself if I need/want to – otherwise my monkey mind would take over and beat me up for not being PERFECT.

  • Mariyon

    Hello Craig,
    first I thank my friend Reggie for forwarding your post to me, then I want to thank you for such sound advice. I’m going to start my list of rules to live by and somewhere on that list will be “stop making a lengthy list of things to do.” For when I do that, I go from one thing to the other and not completing much of anything. Then at the end of the week, hardly nothing gets done. From now on, my to-do list will consist of two or three things total, until they are finished. And like Mike said,I never thought of writing down rules to live by. Thanks again

    • cb

      Happy to help.

      Consider creating a “not to do” list. Things that you shouldn’t be doing. This can also be powerful.


  • sanobar shariff

    it’s really inspiring to read these beautiful posts !! keep up the good work !!!!!

  • Coralaine DeCoe

    Wonderful, a good way to start the day.

  • Brian E. Jensen

    Brian Jensen’s response to the 12 Rules to Live by

    Brian Jensen’s response to the 12 Rules to Live by

    I would rearrange the “12 Points” into
    I am 60 and with no family to I’d say my goal is eliminated down to Creating Chemical Engineering Processes and becoming a successful chemical engineer. Few people will have this goal and everyone will have their own goal.
    RULES AND PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY. not a Christian but I think all your rules to live by can be woven into the Ten Commandments.
    Any habit that increases the probability of luck or success should be on this list, including those habits that cause happiness to others.
    Brian E. Jensen
    5825 Wooddale Ave.
    Edina, MN 55424
    (952) 926-2141

  • I my self live by your #8 post and it is so true. We are responsible for our on actions and it is the we live our life. I feel in order to get better, we must live and do better!

  • Hello, Craig—in 1985 I developed a one-day goal-setting program called “Getting Clear”. I wrote “The Getting Clear Philosophy” which appeared at the beginning of the program and was directed at the participants in the program to give them the context of the day they were about to embark upon. Eventually I came to realize it was actually my own personal philosophy, and after all these years I still stand by it. I presented the program many times; I came across the Philosophy one time in a local magazine, credited to “Anonymous”. I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or angry, but it did appear to be valued by others. So here it is in full:

    The Getting Clear Philosophy

    You are an individual living in a free society. Therefore:

    Strive for self-reliance in matters of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial well-being, while at the same time maintaining the openness, integrity and maturity to communicate and affiliate regularly with the life that goes on around you.

    Look first to yourself for answers. Determine what it is you want to accomplish. Based on your decision, create a vision to which you can bring the energy and determination to give it life during the time given to you. That will be your best opportunity to contribute effectively to the world.

    Be open to new ideas, but approach the advice from others with caution. Make your own decisions. When things go wrong, don’t shift the blame—resolve the problem. When things go right, take satisfaction in the results and have confidence in your future.

    Act, instead of reacting, because your life is a process and you will only experience it through action. Into all actions inject your own direction, interest and commitment. Recognized that it is primarily you who determines the quality of your life.

    Seek experience, for only there can you test and expand your capabilities. Believe in them and you will find you believe in yourself.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Jim, fantastic stuff.

      Personally, I think you should be flattered – at least no one else tried to take credit for it.

      And it’s good to know that your words are being spread around, because you have many powerful ideas.

      I even shared one of your tips on my Facebook page – with credit to you of course.

      Thanks again,



  • Craig

    You are taking right off where Michael Masterson left off. This is GREAT!! My takeaway from this article is to start doing more activity earlier in the day. I know I am more productive at the start of the day than at the end. Starting today I will go to bed a little earlier and wake up 30 minutes earlier until I can reach the 5am mark.

    During this early morning I will write articles for my site and work on my retirement planning book.

    Thanks again Craig. Michael Masterson made an excellent choice in having you continue his work

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Teddy, I really appreciate it. Great to hear you are putting your plan into action.


  • Suisanne

    1. Be true to myself if nothing else.
    2. Eat healthy, exercise
    3. Love and play with my children
    4. Do not let life get the best of me, this is done by staying healthy and being confident and positive.
    5. Be grateful for what I do have.
    6. Never judge anyone.
    7. It is important to have friendships, be sure and have a couple or at least one.
    8. Never write anything on paper that may later come back to cause some grief.
    9. Anytime someone needs help, I help them if I can.
    10. Have a Mantra. ” I will always be good”.
    11. People treat you the way you treat yourself.
    12. When you want a dream to come true, all you have to do is picture the full picture in your mind and accept it and then be thankful for it and it happens.

  • Craig,
    Good stuff!
    I agree with the point you make about writing first thing in the morning before checking e-mail – it’s the clearest, most productive writing of the day.
    Also, I agree with not getting into arguments. If anyone yells at me in an e-mail, I just don’t respond. It’s a policy that’s worked well for me for 10 years.
    You’re doing a great job – keep up the good work!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Stephanie, greatly appreciated.


  • Love it! While there’s probably more rules I live by unconciously, here’s a few I can think of right now,

    1) Treat others the way you want to be treated. What you give out comes back.
    2) Aim to give more than you take. We want to make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren
    3) Always tell the truth in love. Sometimes, doing this may cause resentment or hurt, but the end goal ( i.e. growth of another person – should they choose to accept what you’re saying) is always worthwhile.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well said Rodwell. Appreciate the feedback.


  • Christine Muleme

    Craig this was great. What an inspiration!! I must say, I fell in love with Early to Rise from the first time I landed the site miraculously when I was leisurely surfing. I am happy to say that ETR is great inspiration. Thanks Craig

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Christine, greatly appreciated.


  • Hey, I really enjoy reading your site, I’ve made it my home page :)! Cheers, Jane

  • This is a great post. I haven’t really put down into writing all my personal philosophies. I don’t know even know if it’s 7 or 12. That really puts it into perspective and this stimulates me to write down my own philosophies in life.

    Thanks, Craig.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Ronald, greatly appreciated, and happy to help.

  • Alexander

    I have just signed up. Your 12 rules look something like mine.One thing I add is CDs by Igor Ledochowski (The Money in Your Mind). One CD on relaxed concentration relaxses my body in a way I have never experienced before.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you, appreciate the feedback and recommendation.


  • Arnab Roy

    I started reading this post and realized that I am reading a reflection of what my life goals are. I especially enjoyed the drive of helping at least 1 million people. Hopefully we will both succeed and others will join with the same goal and change the world for the better.

    Thanks again for boosting my motivation.

  • Craig,
    really great to see committed in print a way of life that makes no apology, that has individuality, strength of character and simple common sense. Why is itwe all cannot achieve this ability, I wonder?

    Clarity, desire and practise, with a little more practise thrown in.

    What is the saying about inspiration and perspiration, and Pareto’s to mix metaphors?

    loved your work, Martin

  • Bridget

    Fantastic rules to live by! I appreciate your honesty. I feel that life is intentional….live with god intent and action and good things happen. Keep up the inspiring work!

  • Bridget

    Oops, meant to say “good” in my reply. I’m all thumbs when using my phone. 🙂

  • You are a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing your secrets to success and how to live a values-based life.

  • Marie

    Thanks for living in an inspiring way and giving us a powerful model to follow!

  • Joehassin Cordero

    Outstanding, concise advise. Plan your play, practice and playing your plan will be lots easier. Truly love the content and application. I will begin my own daily “thanksgiving ” journal. It will help us realize how blessed we are in the efforts we put forth. Be meaningful in everything you do…

  • “what’s holding them back is not a lack of knowledge … it is decision making.” Absolutely. And you inspire me to “bare my soul” in my writing. How can I ever expect to help people if I am not completely honest and share what I have been through (put myself through). If I even help one person then the whole thing will be worth it. You are the BEST and I’m not repelled. Keep writing because this girl is listening.

  • Prawin

    thanks for the secrets that u have shared. Really i would like to say today is the day where i need such friend who will show the path. and these 12 rules will help me through out my life

  • Dear Craig,

    Absolutely fantastic post ! I heard you once in yanik’s underground i think. I did not pay much attention to you then but since i have been reading Early to rise newsletters i am finding that you have amazing insights into human psychology and more importantly you care for your audience.. I recently ran a paid program “How great people form great habits” and if you permit me i want to put you one of the paid videos on the illusion of time…It is a 13 minute video and the last seven minutes will save you atleast 12yrs of frurstation. I guess your readers will surely enjoy it. love Vish

  • Hi Craig !!
    Just read your list of 12 rules. They were totally inspiring. It will help me improve my own.

    Mission of my life is ” To inspire,motivate & guide 30 million people in my life time through my work ”

    My working Philosophy :
    Eat to get Energylling
    Sleep to get realaxed
    Get up & Act

    My Guiding Values:

    In profession :
    Genuine Concern for My Customers
    Continous Learning for Personal Improvement
    Excellence in Dealing

    In Personal Life:
    Positive Contribution

    Craig, keep doing great work.
    I will inculcate the habit of daily writing (30 mins) – for book/articles beside creating new contents for my training programs.

    With love & regards,
    Gursharan Singh

  • Amresh

    Your articles are short,incisive and very thought provoking.
    Colonel Amresh Bhatnagar
    A Gunner Officer from Indian Army

  • Hey Craig,
    Thanks for that. It’s funny how the right message comes at the right time. Was feeling a bit discouraged and it helped me refocus for my “work”. You are doing your hearts work and it’s helping others too. Yay! Enjoy your day! 🙂

  • Great tips to keep our lives simple and smart and not be so entangled in all kinds of different things that we THINK we should be doing, but don’t accomplish anything. Thanks!!

  • I love this site and love working on those kinds of questions about life. It is so easy to just be on auto pilot! These are great questions and I look forward to working on them more! I already do this kind of work but know I can do more. To be conscious of our thoughts, actions all the time takes attention and focus. Thank you for your messages! Denyse

  • antonio

    Thanks a lot. Wonderful advice for living and I totally agree. The challenge for me is to live it all the time cos my temper gets the better of me.

  • Craig, I have been receiving ETR for years and truly was concerned when you took it over. Want you to know, though, how much I love it now! Your sincerity shines through. I feel that I am a motivated and diciplined person but you have inspired me to write out my 12 rules.
    Thanks so much for your work and dedication!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Chris, greatly appreciated.


  • I particularly enjoyed this article and will put it into practice promptly. I also work in the health field in a volunteer capacity, however, I would like to put it to use in a website later and make money. I had a creed from the bible that I adopted and modernized.
    I’ll share my version:
    1 I have a higher source to tap into and be guided by.
    2 I will do my responsibilities.
    3 I will live a quiet life in thought, word and deed.
    4 I will mind/tend to my own business/life.
    anytime I’ve had problems was when I broke one of these.

  • Dear Mr. Craig Ballantyne,
    I am from India and a Hindu, now in USA. I like all 12 points except the telling moderation in alcohol. Why not avoid that too. I am hurt that you give coins to the beggars. It is a wrong practice. This is never considered by a religious or spiritual person. They only advise you to offer food to them, (always keep ready-made food in your car) or help them stand on their foot with your service.
    Finally, please visit your nearest Sri Satya Sai Seva Samithi and observe their activities in USA, and help them. You can know the spiritual practices which you can practice and actually feel nearness to God. I wish you all the Best. With Regards,
    YUours Sincerely,
    Dr.K.S. Ananda Kumar
    Yours Sincerely,

    Having said this, please visit

  • Fay

    I am so impressed. My 12 rules would be the same as yours, just not so well written or so well thought out. Would you allow me to put this article on my site (with full credit of course and even a link here) I do not have a lot of readers yet (the site has only been working a couple of months) but there are a few who would appreciate this. Part of me is considering just putting up a link to here and then shutting my site down because you are already doing what I was trying to do. Mine may be redundant.Great Job.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Fay, that would be fine to link back to this article. Greatly appreciated.


  • J

    Hi Craig, My son and I have secretly hijacked you into our inner circle. We follow Internet Independance, Turbulence Training and now have found Early to Rise. You are incredibly disciplined, albeit that is a clear ringer as to why you are so successful. What I find amazing and inspiring is your unbelievable honesty and attention to your fellow man. We have ‘Groked’so many pearls from you , the 12 steps, and your last article on Steve Jobbs are just perfect examples of the value you share.
    Loved your recent 4 videos on the American Dream. Thanks for all you do!

  • Very inspirational, realistict and to the point. Love it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Vstaryder

    A good read, thank you. I agree that arguing online is pointless. No one ever seems to want to learn, change, our even bend. However, I find it hard to try to help people as most like to complain about their situation but in reality do not want to change it. This often results in conflict. To walk away means you are not helping but you are not helping by continuing either. I end up focusing on myself instead and that defeats the point.

    Thanks again.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, thanks.


  • Susan Thorn

    Thank you so much for that, powerful reminders of the powers we posses to influence our journey!

  • Hi Craig,

    My name is Mzi from South Africa, I’ve subscribed to Early to Rise news letter for a few years now since university days. Its a great news letter but I never paid much attention then. One day not long ago I saw a really catchy topic, after reading I realized that Craig Ballantyne is the new editor! This was a nice surprise because I was also already receiving your turbulance training news letter at the time. I thought “Hmm this guy has a lot more to say beyond swinging kettle bells and eating right” lol Ever since then I’ve paid closer attention and I must say that every morning I look forward to what you have to say and people that you feature. Amazing stuff! I now have something clever to say when I hang out with my friends or colleagues at lunch time, yes do always give you credit. Your articles have led me to re-evaluate my relationships, health, wellbeing etc Lately the burning question in my mind is “Why am I here?” because I know for sure that each one of us isn’t born by chance, we all have a purpose on this earth. I’m obsessive of researching info on health, fitness, healthy foods, unhealthy foods, new discoveries and break throughs on the above topics. I’m fascinated by the psychology behind how people relate with health&fitness topic and food. My current profession is a chemical analyst, pretty much entry level. I have a strong feeling that I need to move towards what I’ve discussed above because I really enjoy researching it and talking about it. Not sure where to start though as there’s tons of courses and info out there. Keep up the good work!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Mzi, greatly appreciated.


  • Hey ~ Just listened to you on the ‘I Love Marketing’ Podcast – great tips and advice. I really like your 12 Rules to Live By and agree that discipline is the key to success!

  • Nice one Craig. Always so nice to read from you. I just wonder what makes it difficult for humans to tune to what they accept works for them and costs nothing. Is it because it costs nothing or because change is so un-natural?

  • theshark071

    Thank you for your kind remarks today Craig. It’s nice to see that i am not alone out here and that someone else thinks similarly like me. Keep up the good work Craig and thank you again for renewing my faith in people.


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, stay strong.


  • Great post Craig. I met you back in 2008. I think it was at a seminar fast track to fitness millions in New Jersey. The entire seminar was definitely influential in the development of a new mindset that guides my actions in business and life on a daily basis. I just heard your podcast on I love marketing. I immediately went home and made a blog post of my life. Awesome information!

  • Boris

    Is there any path to understand and find own way? It is hard to say,but I am 47y.o. I`d read a lot of book trying to understand how to create own life.But I still not know what to do. Excuse me for grammar I am just study English.Thank You.

  • Love the list Craig. Reading it the first time compelled me to create my own list and I now read it every morning, along with a couple other things, to start my day on the right foot.

    Things like this put everything you do in perspective and are an absolute MUST for anyone striving to be bigger, better and achieve more.

  • Thanks for this great article Craig.
    I have principles that I live by, but I’ve never written them down. There’s so much more clarity and focus when you have firm principles written down on paper. I’ll probably get an article like this up on my site as well. This got me thinking, and I’m sure a lot of other people could benefit from this.

    Just reposted it on twitter and Facebook.

    Hope all is well my friend. Thanks again,


  • aman


    “Craig Ballantyne says:
    12/9/2011 at 8:19 am

    Happy to help, stay strong.


    Does this not apply to rule 3.I do not check email before 9am?

    Not trying to offend, just thought it would be a good laugh…

  • Ken Smith

    I like the 12!
    When I left home at 13 I said “I want to meet every walk of life and learn something from each so that I can pass it along to the next”. That was 55 years ago (Nov 1, 1956). I was just a kid and what did I know? Well, I am still a kid and I still like it. I think I will add it to Craig’s 12 though.

  • magaji mohammed

    Iam a regualar reader of the early to rise. The articles have all been very educative and creative. It has assisted a lot. Many grease to your elbow. Please continue your good work !


    so inspiring.
    thank you for sharing this with me. i know it will go a long way to shape my life for the better

  • I enjoyed reading your twelve rules and, like other feedback posts, I operate from a similar list. I have my gratitude calendar on my desk and I save the pages and go back through them from time to time. If you don’t have an attitude of gratitude, what is the point of getting out of bed? Unfortunately, those who are closest to us – spouse, family members, etc. – are often the ones who try to change the conversation from gratitude to some negative garble. I do a good bit of walking in the other direction. What are your thoughts on dealing with negativity in your own family?

  • I have read something the other day, saying with discipline you can achieve everything. No idea who said it.
    This is so true when sticking to your Rules to Live By!
    Wishing You Enough!

  • Craig,

    It has come in right time as i’m lost a bit and struggling with money, business, work etc.

    Responsibility is the thing……… i always blame others, recently my wife for the thing i said etc………… my time wasted on worrying about things, not doing them.

    What i’m putting in now, rules to live by:
    1. Take 100% responsibilty for everything
    2. Being in action all time
    3. Yes alcohol……… not after 9pm anymore
    4. Go to bed by 10pm and wake up 5.30am
    5. Transforming the world wherever i can

    and i’m putting up more ……. will be putting up time next two days to write down rules to live by atleast 10…

    many thanks
    Sri Lanka

  • William Patterson

    I read your ETR nearly every day and gain lots of inspiration from it. About your current 12 Rules, they are very similar to mine. I am retired now and my doctor says I have another 30 years to look forward to, so having rules to live by is a big part of my life. Please keep up the good work and writings. I look forward to them everyday. Thanks!
    Have a GREAT and PROSPEROUS New Year!

  • Craig,
    Once again this is a very timely post! How did you get into my mind…?
    These 12 rules are inspiring and I believe paint a bigger picture then what see and do every day.

    Warmest Regards

  • not caring what others think resonates here – you may appreciate this:

  • Doug Sheets

    Graig, I have taken your inspiation and developed my plan and journal this morning, and I can honestly say I will adheare to my 13 philosophies for the rest of my life. After being unemployed for the last 16 months I have found work and have started to be more of what I really want to be. Oh, and it is success is 1% inpiration and 99% perspiration. Appretiate what you do for others because one of my rules each day is to help at least one person each day feel good about themselves. Thanks again! Douglas

  • Sell, Craig, I truly appreciate your 12 points. I shall compare them with my own list to possibly improve mine (updated last in June of 2009). My most demanding point is “I am thinking big, helping two billion people and more by 2013”. How? Working on the basic principles to eliminate human diseases. The indicated website was only opened early this month and designed to explain the facts in simple terms. I cite some of my recent and most critical scientific papers in selected issues of my newsletter.
    Thank you, Craig, for communicating your 12 points.
    And all my wishes for more success in 2012.

  • Jack Turnbull


    Your rules and your life are inspiring.

    All the best,

    Jack Turnbull

  • I am going to forward this on to my most forward-thinking and progressive clients and friends. Excellent advice! Great timing!

  • YK

    Thanks be to the One Above, I’ve already got rules to live by. He’s provided me, through organized religion, with better rules than I could ever come up with myself.

  • Anita Johnson

    Thank you! I am going to start putting mine Goals together today!

  • Dr. Chandran Peechulli

    Everyone, have their own lifestyle, depending upon their own workstyle. Humans are social animal, we need to live along, with all the people without differences to caste, creed and religion.Whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, smoker or non-smoker, alcoholic or nonalcoholic, mutually adjusting to their likes and dislikes. Though I wish to go to bed and jump out of bed by time it is not feasible because I do not like to go to bed and call for sleep instead go to bed when I desire to sleep.Avoid drugs and alcohol. Avoid addiction to anything but for spending time wisely and knowledgeably, being of help to others and be helpful to self.

  • Fabulous timing as I will add this to my planning for 2012! Although I’ve had my own rules that I live by, I’ve not taken the time to put them into writing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • margaret

    There is alot to think about in your article. You are right – we have to stop living lives in relation to what other people think about us. I am determined to do this from this day forward. Thank you so much.

  • Craig,
    I believe that everyone can benefit from a Code of Behaviour. Thank you for being bold enough to share yours with us as an excellent template to work from.
    You are correct in that decision making is the key to a great life.
    Take care.

  • derek williams

    i certainly use this as a cognitive paradigm applicable as desired, and adjusted to meet my purpose. thanx

  • Scott Jamieson

    Great stuff! Reminds me of some of the stuff my idol Rick Houcek dishes. Good reminder to improve mine.

  • stephanie elise j

    Bar no. 2, this is basically how I choose to live my life. I use that first hour to work through a litre of rain water and do yoga, go for a run or lift weights – physical activity in the early hours really sets me up well for a productive day.

    I would probably add in that I always choose to do what works for me personally, rather then chasing something which does not serve my body, mind + spirit. And thus I never expect other people to do something that doesn’t sit right with them.

    Thanks Craig – Glad to hear someone other then myself chooses to wake up at 5!

  • Ruth Lawler

    As a Christian I must have God and Christ as the center of my life. Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” I start with a daily attitude of gratitude directed heavenward. This attitude and His love in me are then directed outward to my fellow man. There is no greater joy than that found in the giving of yourself from the abundant resources of God in you.

  • Craig,

    I (as always) impressed by your clarity of thought and insight. I have been working on most of the 12 points – and hope to make progress on *all* of them in 2012!

    The world *needs* this stuff – keep spreading this enlightend view!

    In gratitude,


  • Ray B

    I think it more important to find the beliefs you know is possible to achieve. Small steps then gradually improving them. You always need to to keep an open mind for change if certain beliefs do not work for you.The rest is logical just not easy for everyone to constantly apply. Such as healthy sleep habits, nutrition and thoughts. But this also falls in line with proper time management to get these things done and not let those very same beliefs become a burden.I believe more in the quality of your work as opposed to the time in which it takes to perform the same tasks.But what keeps that belief in check is also the belief that I should be able to accomplish my goal within a normal work day. More time does not equal better results. You have to be able to master your beliefs not just live by them.

    Thank You & to a productive, healthy 2012 for everyone.


  • Umesh Marathe

    Dear $ir,
    It’s really, mind blowing article which can helps to everyone to stay connected with our own personal goal. I’ll definitely try for it…
    I’ll be see you with my personal commitment to this article…

  • Danielle

    Wow, I couldn’t agree more! For so many years i have carried with me so much hurt, dissapointment and negativity that I allowed it to consume me! once I am able to let go of it and not look back I will be able to find peace and happiness within myself as well as others. You have inspired me to take control of my life and my actions, and stop making excuses. Its is not until I begin to live positively that positive things will come my way! Thank you!

    Have a happy and healthy 2012!!!

    Danielle G.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Danielle, happy to help. Happy New Year

  • Thanks for sharing your list Craig. It has inspired me to make my own list because I can see how it would help you live a much happier and joyful life.

  • Yolanda Wiliams

    I rise early 7 days per week (5am) no matter what.
    I associate myself with men and women of great consciousness and good quality as I esteem my own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company’.

    “A lady always knows when to leave”: You may not be called to everybody, but you are called to somebody. Even Jesus said, And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick…(Mark 6:5). Everyone is not going to accept, celebrate, and like you. This has no influence on who you are or your gift. Know when to exit and depart.

    “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down (Proverbs 14:1)”. All activities, words, and actions should be toward advancing and building my legacy. You don’t have time for idleness and laziness.

  • this is a very humble and downs Earth post that will definitely leave an impact on anyone’s mind in “food for thought” 🙂

  • I’ve bookmarked this article so I can browse over it every so often. Seeing others lay out their framework for productivity and happiness, even though mine looks different, helps me to re-focus when I’ve gone slightly off-track.

    Thanks Craig!

  • David Onyeabo

    Thanks a lot Craig, for this piece of insightful writting on ’12 Rules For My Life’.

    You seem to have gone into the inner recesses of my mind in outlining the above rules, because I have often questioned myself if, I was making the best use of my time and resources, if I was in the best Job or environment that I should be in, amongst many other soul-searching questions at the back of my mind.

    I have come to the conclusion that I must live life by my own rules, while helping others at the same time, in other to become fully contended with life.

    Thank you so much for opening up my eyes on what ideal living really ought to be like.

  • Serley Khaxas

    Hi there, this has truly inspired me afresh. I always encourage people to take it easy… you are just a fantastic philosopher..
    Thank you…

  • Michelle

    Love this post and there are a lot of same rules I live by as well, especially 5,8,10. Now I want to create my own 1,2,3,4 and start to live by 12! Thanks for sharing and keep going!

  • If you intended to make your readers do some thinking and reflecting, then you have succeeded with me! I am a little awestruck by how clear and dedicated you are to your “12 rules.” I think the thing I like best is that living these rules puts you completely in control of your life and your decisions. (No getting caught up in any “if this” or “unless this” or “as long as he/she does/doesn’t”) Now, I’m going to start thinking and working on a list of my own rules. Thank you for the post.

  • This was such a great post. Now I want to set aside some time to come up with my own framework of rules to live by. Thank you so much for this thought provoking post.

  • Derrick

    Great inspiration and a disciplined plan for life.

  • Didi

    Very timely advise and will definitely start adopting this. Spent too many years dealing with the negativity of Corp America that does not care about their people or their customers. Then got the big C which is a wake up call to change my life. Scary to venture out on my own but hope this will guide me to success. Thank you for all your wisdom you share with us. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

  • Parvez

    This Article I Very Fine

  • Bron

    I came across ’12 Rules’ randomly about 2 months ago and not having time to read and ponder, I thought I would come back another time. But I failed to note down the url….. and all my searches of ’emails before 9′ (one that caught my eye) came to naught!
    Until today – I found it on a search of ‘set of rules for my life’ …. Fantastic! Inspiring! Time to draft my own. Thank You!

  • Sal Perez

    A plan to follow based on people’s values and goals seems to be always at the heart of their success in life. I’ve tried to create a plan to discipline myself and set objectives, but I’ve never done it. I need to find out what I want in life to go get it. Unfortunately life goes by very fast and being in my fifties I better do it soon since time is not on my side. Your 12 rules are inspiring. Thank you for caring.

  • michael

    Craig, amazing. when the student is ready the teacher will appear. i am ready and here you are. thank you

  • lori

    While I was reading your post, I realized that I also live by rules and it made me reflect on visiting them with more specific intention. Thanks for the post as it created lovely insight!

  • Jason

    Wonderful. Exactly what I was needing right now.

  • Maggie Calabros

    Absolutely FINE for people who need rules, rules, rules…then there are those who have built-in, natural discipline, which allows them to stay up late (and still function the next day), to check email at 7 am (and maybe not again until 4 pm), to chuck all the plans and regs and rules and take a day to do nothing beyond filling their inner well of being.

    Yes, we’re the “other” kind. We inculcate a lot, if not all, of the principles you espouse, we just don’t feel the need to be so r-i-g-i-d about them!

    Continued success to you, and remember to allow for other ways to the same goals. Peace out!

  • Gurdev Singh

    Do hard and honest work, live an honest life, share earning with other human beings are three things which will bring happiness in one’s life. To use these in practical life is very difficult but practicing people would the best of all.

  • George E Mills

    I love those rules. I wish I could follow them more closely. Thank you for sharing them with me.

  • Steven Viens


  • Great article.

    I love the philosophy and am writing up my own (just slightly modiified from yours) list.

    Mahalo nui loa!

  • Gary

    Thank a lot for re-encouraging

  • Angie

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Your article meant more to me than you’ll ever know. You have a gift!

  • great write up! thank you for sharing and will definitely start to incorporate some of these rules to live by…

  • Scott Johnson

    Hey Craig,

    Great post man! Extremely inspiring! If you had to choose 1 thing/rule which drives your motivation, which enables you to really hit your goals, which 1 thing/rule would you choose?

    All the best!

    Scott Johnson

  • Good start, but you didn’t mention anything about being there for you friends. In my world, friends are pretty important.

  • Thank you for your life skills insight. We work in a very demanding, high performance environment and although we all love what we do, we use a set of guidelines to help keep us focused and grounded. We have found that in the office at least, these guidelines help make us happier, more creative and more realistic.

  • jeremiah

    thank you i will start my own instantly…

  • Jocinda

    Hello, I liked what u had to say in ur 12 Rules I LIVE By. I certainly haven’t reached that level of responsibility, but I can certainly appreciate someone who has. I totally agree with EVERYTHING you said & realize I need to adapt at least some of these actions into my own life. It isn’t as if I didn’t HAVE that data; it’s more like I haven’t bothered to implement them. So I think I need to thank you for the reminder of what I already knew & start DOING it instead of just knowing it. So……….THANK YOU!!!!! 😀

  • Mary Ann

    This is great to get a kick start on moving forward… You mentioned daily readings. Question, do you include your daily readings on your day before to do list? Or do you have a set list you always read each evening?

    I find that I have a stack of magazines, articles, websie posts that I mark but never have an “organized” way of getting through them. Any suggestions are welcome.

  • Mackenze

    What are your daily readings?

  • Steve Kaderli

    I have to admit that I need to stop being so hard on myself and stop helping out all those people that are not really trying to help themselves. Primarily, I am speaking on a financial level especially when it seems to hold me back from other things that I should be doing. Your philosophy is for the most part something I agree with and although I get tired of people, I merely think its just because its the worng kinds of people who want to just sit and dwell on how bad everything is.

    Been there done that but now I need to focus on moving on in life

    Thank you for your inspirational words


  • Love these. Really thoughtful article. I also make it a point to write first thing in the morning, and it has become my favorite time of day. Coffee, listening to the owls hooting back and forth, the quiet before the dawn… I’ve grown to love it. I accomplish more before daylight than I ever dreamed possible. And it has catapulted my blog into high gear!

  • Ron

    I love it! Clarity! Honesty! I don’t think I’d change one thing about what you just wrote. Very powerful stuff. Everything you just articulated I know to be true. It sure makes a difference seeing it in black and white, and I’m sure it makes a huge difference writing your own code of conduct and deciding to live by them daily, not occasionally.

    Good Stuff, and I’m hooked!

    Thank you for your commitment to my success.

    Ron Hartman

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Ron, greatly appreciated.


  • royston marples

    Hey Craig, just had to say thanks for all your useful information. I’m attracted to your goal of helping people’s ideas. Personally i’m seeking sponsorship or partnership or merge with others to build the future for W U N.
    W U N is described in the “CEREUS” video on my facebook page.
    How should we proceed ?
    Thanks kindly Craig.

  • These are powerful tenets to follow daily – thank you for sharing. I don’t know how you manage to get to sleep by 9 pm though! But, maybe you’ve learned to become super effective and efficient and that’s how you do it. I get up very early too.

    Many thanks,

    Laura V. Rodriguez
    Silver Spring, MD 20910

  • Coty

    I loved this article. I spent my early years worrying about a lot of what you had said. Needless to say, I was a person with a bad attitude. Now I worry about me and my family and that is it. My life has been less stressful and more enjoyable since I stopped worrying about the things I can’t control.

    Great Post!

  • Your disciplined life has served you well as evidenced by your concise writing and positive mentoring of others. You inspire by being true to yourself. We all want that as our legacy. Thank you for sharing your simple formula.

  • Zoe Routh

    Craig, you continue to be more & more awesome. Your authenticity (and your Canadianness) keeps me riveted. One of my life rules is to ask, “what would widom & compassion do on this situation?” and another- the self first principle – looking after yourself in an extraordinary way means there is more than enough for others later.

  • Priti

    Craig, you are doing a wonderful job of changing lives! The amount of satisfaction that comes from getting peace of so many individuals is incredible! I know what are you chasing for?. I also believe in the fact that only person you can change in thought is yourself. Rest world you can just educate!

    Best of luck for your mission.

  • Craig, u have a great set of philosophy to live by, I love ’em all, dude!!

    I have my own n here r a few:

    1. Life is sweeter when you live by your style and your design
    2. Live an honest life by first being true to yourself.
    3. Eat foods to energize your body
    4. Expend your good energy where it is most deserving
    5. If someone angers you, look deep within and correct yourself first
    6. No one is jumping in my grave, hence I dance to my own drums
    7. Live fully . Love openly . Make a difference in this world
    8. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a right to their opinion
    9. We’re all here for the experience, not the thing itself
    10. God is a way of life, not a religion
    11. Stay clear from toxic people, they have a strange way of infiltrating
    12. Feed your mind n your body will follow
    13. Be, do, have as you desire but dare not hurt another soul
    … etc ….

  • Mike Widar

    My rule #1, Iwill never say anything bad about anyone at any time for any reason.

  • Ken

    Thank you for posting these guidelines. They were truly a “wake-up call” for me this morning and I fully plan on instituting a version of them in my everyday life. Once again, I thank you and keep up the great work!

  • Peggy

    Craig, your 12 rules I live by are a great inspiration to me. These 12 rules are a good sample for me so I can set up 12 conducive to suit my personality and goals.

  • Gayle

    Craig- I love your wisdom,”I refuse to let anything or anyone drag me into a negative confrontation!”
    My words of wisdom I try and live by is ” do less explaining and more positive
    Be congruent in words and deeds.
    always be kind!

    on another note, do you have a forum to interact with your readers and us to one another?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Gayle,

      Only our Virtual Mastermind members have access to an interactive forum.



  • Craig,

    Thank you for reposting this article. I found it inspiring and plan to make my own rules to live by. I love what you do, please keep it coming.


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Judith, really appreciate the feedback.

  • Craig,

    I have never realized the power of writing out and verbalising my rules. I had rules, but they were vague and as a result some of them were compromised, leaving me guilty and less productive. Thank you for the email, it’s an inspiration. I am writing out my rules immediately after I click the “submit” button. I will have less guilt, more energy, and more productivity. I will bring value to this world. Glad to have you as a role model Craig!


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Jake, happy to help.

  • Anastasia

    Hi Craig:
    That is awesome wisdom. The title “EARLY TO RISE” reminds me of my dad who was a farmer. He would wake up religiously every morning at 5:00am and will be out of the house by 6:00am. He would wake everyone in the household at the same time and his famous words were “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. So thank you!! It is encouraging to know that someone has embraced such wisdom and is sharing it with the world.

  • 12 great steps Craig….hmm somewhat like AA only different! Lots of good points here and I especially took from it to really help you focus on what’s important and how to help yourself to be much more productive. The internet can be such a cesspool of time wasting and it can be so hard to focus on one thing. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  • Phil Sandahl

    Hey Craig,
    This was a great exercise. Thank you for the model and the suggestion. I’ve edited these a couple of times this week. When I read them I realize there is a way that they can sound like aspiration rather than conviction. They also sound a bit like affirmations. The truth is in the behavior then. In any case, the exercise helped give me clarity about my commitments.

    Rule #1: Choose life.
    It will mean something different in different contexts, but it is a reminder that life is a gift made complete by the choices I make.

    In practical terms:
    2. I go to bed by 9:30; wake up at 4:30 – except for special occasions. I am a morning person; this is my best time of the day. Healthy nutrition: no caffeine, no wine except special occasions, no fatty/salty snacks, stay hydrated (2 qts or more each day). Start the day right with breakfast. Avoid bread and gluten in general.

    3. Commitment to be fit and strong. I exercise 30 min or more 4 or more days a week. I focus on both aerobic fitness and core strength.

    4. I meditate and journal daily; I am on a path of spiritual, personal growth.

    5. I stay on course. My project list is up to date; I check it several times a week; I create a daily to-do plan. I am disciplined.

    6. I live from generosity; be gracious; be curious. Be discerning but judgment-free.

    7. I take personal responsibility. Be accountable.

    8. I have nothing to prove.

    9. Do it now. You’ll be glad you did.

    10. Create order. End the day with a little more beauty, love and order than was there at the beginning.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Fantastic, well done Phil.

  • Jason

    Thanks for the tips but a quick question…how successful financially are you? Waking at 5pm is brillaint but sleeping at 9pm doesnt even sound practical or profitable. There are going to be times when clients want to take you to dinner or time spent with the kids, loved ones right? I have been wanting to wake early but have trouble reconciling the sleep bit hence i like to know how successful that makes people.


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Jason, Please remember that my rules aren’t your rules. I don’t run a business that requires me to attend client dinners.

      Before I wrote this list I had one 7-figure business. Since writing this list, I have increased that to two, and things are going well in all of them. So my rules work for me.

      The point was that everyone needs their own rules, not that they need my rules.

  • This is the leadership rule I live by:

    When my team fails, I accept full responsibility!

    When my team succeeds, I give all the credit to the team!

    As a leader of teams of varying sizes over the past 20 years I have always practiced this rule and never varied from it. When sharing it with other leaders I found few would buy in. But my teams are always the best. They respond positively and excel when a philosophy like this is consistently applied. Especially when we face a mighty challenge!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Brent, thank you, really appreciate your feedback. Well said.

    • Perry

      Did you steal that idea from me? lol I have also managed teams ranging in size from 2 to over 200 in the past 30 years and your philosophy is the same one I have always followed. And my teams are always the best also. Hopefully, more leaders will buy in.

  • Judy

    Wow, I loved the 12 rules, but what I LOVED MOST was the comment,
    What’s holding you back, NOT lack of knowledge. I also think I need to know more and more and always feel a lack of something I don’t know….then you went on to say it’s DECISION MAKING….how true. Things have been going better for me when I just plain take Action,,,,any action is better than none. So as I go along I am learning what I need as I need it…I LOVE EARLY to RISE. When it hits my email and stop and read it. so much of value. Thanks , I’m going to sit down schedule time for me to come up with my own rules, and READ and act on them daily.

  • Elaina

    Hi Craig I really enjoyed what you wrote! I also write fluently and it has been my passion for quite sometime. It is so awesome to meet people with such positive outlooks in a world where most can’t find their way. I am so in love with the passion to help others also! Thanks for the e-mail and I am continuing to read the rest of your material:) Elaina

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Elaina.

  • Dave


    Love your comment from 8/20 that everyone needs their own rules and not yours (or anyone else’s). One area (among several) I struggle with is looking outside myself to get answers/rules, etc. Thanks for the reminder that we have it within each of us.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you so much, Dave. Appreciate the feedback.

  • Craig,
    You are awesome and I can see you are on right track to change many lives,since you are a young guy I am sure you will acomplish your goal of changing million lives in your lifetime,great goal.You are full of wisdom for a
    man of your age,and even a 66 year “young” guy like me can learn a lot from
    you.And as my late friend and author of old time self help classic “A Touch of Greatness” 90 year “young” Frank Tibolt,once said: To be inspired is good thing,
    but just inspiration seldom start action,ACTION,and DOING things, always start inspiration.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Ivan, greatly appreciated.

  • Larry

    I can’t put it in a better way!! I’m printing this out and drafting my personal philosophies right now.

  • Hey Craig, it’s nice to meet you! The rules you live by are awesome man. I pretty much live by the same or similar rules except a couple maybe. Your first rule sounds like something my dad would tell me. I have been trying to work Sunday-thursday without more then a couple hours of sleep a day. I can go a couple days without sleep, but when I can’t focus anymore I take a nap. The last two days of the week I rest and try an recover for another week. Sometimes I just want to loose track of time.

    Best Wishes,
    William Veasley

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks William, greatly appreciate the feedback.


  • Delia

    I am blown away by your article! My husband and I have had four long years of financial hardship because of the down real estate market and no matter what we do or try we cannot catch a break and we have assets that if they sold would put us on solid ground again. Literally, we are stuck. In reading your article we realize that there are people who actually care about others, you are one of them and it is wonderful to know that. We would be helping our family if they were in our situation,but our family who claims to “love” us, does not. It’s like saying to a man who is hungry, living in the street, “have a nice day”, knowing he is suffering. I don’t mean to evoke sympathy with saying all this, I am just complimenting you for your beliefs! It is admirable because you don’t pat yourself on the back, you just help. Want you to know that your article truly did “help” and I will implement a lot of what you said to help me forgive those who did not help me when I desperately need it and it gives me the courage to keep trying against the odds. We are trying new horizons to get financially solid again, we have always paid our bills and now find ourselves struggling and frustrated and on the verge of giving up. Thank you for inspiration, I guess I was supposed to read this and I’m glad I did.
    God bless!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Della, stay strong and remain positive.


  • This is a very inspiring post. I personally find I get far more work done when I plan out my day beforehand, and I stick to it. Setting out rules for yourself, regardless of whether it involves a schedule or just a level of integrity that you live by, will really benefit every aspect of our lives.

  • nazanin

    thanks alot,mostly practical but some not’ like nothing matters’but thanks again.

  • Jack Peterson

    I use this to keep focused on what matters

  • Tayler

    Thank you so much for this free book and your introduction video. I just discovered your website (it was referred to me by someone I met this weekend at a financial seminar), and am glad I’ve taken the time to click on the link and review a few things from it.

    Although I haven’t read a lot here yet, what I found especially interesting so far is that several things you’ve mentioned or written remind me of the work I do as an addictions counselor at a long-term rehab facility. The residents I work with are learning, among other things, how to (i) accept responsibility for their actions; (ii) be grateful for what they have and who they are; and (3) set goals for their lives as sober productive members of society. I’m glad I found this site and I appreciate what you’re freely giving to others who drop by. Thank you!

  • Follow your Passion NOT your Pension..Motivation is Still The Key..Without
    Action there is little or No Results. If you are NOT living on the Edge you
    are Taking up too Much room! Not everyone can change the World, BUT
    Every Person has been richly endowed by a Generous Creator, they can
    and do have te Pwer to change Themselves. Press on Craig!

  • mick wilde

    kindness is all you need

  • Olu

    Wonderful write up!This has help my self discovery.You know you need to discover before you can recover!The set of rules has really open my eyes to behold golden truth to propel my life achievements!Thank you and keep up the good work!Regards.

  • Terri Loveland

    Thank you so much for “putting yourself out there.” I love to think for myself but I also like having a model to get me started thinking. I will come up with my own rules and let you know at some point what I come up with.

  • Frank

    Great article Craig that is relatively simple to implement.
    I am one of the million that you are helping and for that I have nothing but gratitude for you and your staff. Your selfless sense of giving an enormity of wonderful content has taught me a great deal in a minimal amount of time. Although my daily rituals are not 100% complete, the time spent reading and writing before sun up has increased my productivity three fold.
    Equipped with the coordinates that Early To Rise outlines with vigor, my desire to give to others and accomplish future success is inevitable.


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Frank, happy to help!

  • Gabriela

    Thank you so much !!! I will implement my 12 rules. I realy need some motivation!!

  • biby

    tss….what a boring life.

  • sharon williams

    Thanx for sharing Craig. I agree with loosening ties with negative people, situations etc. I have had to do this with certain members of my family as it has caused me too much pain in the past. My philosophy on life… Keep it simple. Don’t take things to heart. Let your heart take you :))))) RIDE THE WAVE! And be happy!

  • I really appreciate you exposing your rules to the ETR community. They inspired me to formally ink my own life rules. It is certainly a great document to have handy. It really makes decision making easy.


  • kathleen kwan

    Dear Craig,

    Thanks for sharing your rules to live by. My top 12 rules are:
    1. Always surround myself with things who make me happy, content and positive. A pet photo, inspiring quotes and a good song will help!
    2. Steer clear of whiny, complaining and negative people. This is too easy because everyone usually will!
    3. Visit the sick in a nearby hospital. This always makes me grateful how healthy and strong I am.
    4. Visit the aged in a nearby nursing home. This always makes me remember to spend more time with my loved ones.
    5. Always remember I came into this world naked and will leave this world the same way. The legacy I leave behind is more important than things I buy.
    6. Visit a dog park or children playground. This always makes me remember how simple and fun everyday life should be.
    7. Learn a new thing under 30 minutes everyday – it can be a new kitchen recipe, a new song lyric, a new chapter in a book, a new phrase in a foreign language, a new exercise routine – anything!
    8. Visit a place I have not been in my own city – I am always surprised by how many neighborhoods I have not been to!
    9. Text a simple hello everyday to at least 1 friend I have not seen for a while.
    10. Always have the courage to say no to anyone or anything even when everyone around me says yes.
    11. If I fail, it just means I discovered another aspect of myself which I was not aware of before. The more I learn my strengths and weaknesses, the closer I am to my goals.
    12. Keep company with people who care and are passionate about what they do. People who care will always do the right thing.

    • Love your rules as well as Craig’s, Kathleen. Pursuing these admirable guideliness is contagious, right?

  • I loved this post! I follow similar guidelines for my own life! One thing I am looking into at the moment is finding a business coach, but I am not really sure on what specific things to look for in a coach. Do you have any tips or do you know of any that you recommend? I live in the Tampa Bay area and have been looking for one for quite a while. Thanks for the posts and the motivation you share with us all!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      I don’t know of any business coaches in person in Tampa, sorry. But you should join the ETR Virtual Mastermind. It’s better than any business coach you’ll find. Thanks!

  • Nyada

    Iv’e noticed you’ve answered to many comments above, and it would be an honour to me if you respond to my feedback too.
    First of all, I am a fourteen year old who is in love with this site. I recently discovered this site the day before yesterday. I was just wondering if it was normal if people talked to themselves, i personally talk to myself almost 3/4th of my day. I decided to google about how many people actually speak to themselves and if this was normal, then somehow i landed on this site and read the article by Sir Harvey Mackey, ‘People Who Talk To Themselves Have A Captive Audience’, that really helped me understand why i talk to myself.
    This is the second article that i’ve read, and i loved it, it is very inspirational and i will try to set up rules for myself and with full confidence i’m sure that i’ll be living a way better life than i am right now.

    P.s: I love the way you write.

    Looking forward to your reply 🙂
    thank you!

  • Craig Ballantyne

    Hi Nyada,

    Can you resubmit your question. I don’t see it. Thanks!

    • Nyada

      yay! you wrote back.! 😀
      I had no qn, all i wanted is that you write back to me.
      I know i said ‘looking forward to your reply’ at the end that probably means that i had a qn, my apologies, i meant ‘looking forward to your response’ (or something like that) 😛
      Basically, i just wanted you to know that I really like what your doing by writting articles and helping people improve their lives.

      You are someone that i take inspirations from, by the way i read another article written by you, ‘7 steps to success’, every article of yours makes me fall in love deeper with your writting 🙂
      Sorry if i wasted your time 🙁

  • Nice list. I like 2,4 & 9. The rest are good too but these ones stick out a little more. Thank you for sharing and good luck with number 9.

  • Your video says you are going to help 1million people and your written list says 10 million people. Which is it?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      I’ve upgraded my goal to 10 million! Thanks Jason!

  • Melissa Tinker

    Inspiring Craig. Had to revisit and watch again!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you!


    Its GREAT CRAIG!!! I am a regular viewer of Early To Rise posts. Today, I just find this great post when I am simply browising through my mail and its links. Its really an INSPIRATIONAL and MOTIVATIONAL post. Though I am following some of my own rules, your post today has inspired me to SET MY OWN RULES FOR MY LIFE.
    Thank YOU… CRAIG..

    • Craig Ballantyne


  • Joost van der Laan

    Thanks for your post. Your rules 4 and 6 not only made me think hard about my sometimes confrontational behavior (when I am right!), but also about my business approach. I started to publish favorable marketing letters about services of prospects, instead of sending aquisition mailings referring to shortcomings in their Internet Marketing. It is nice work and the response is fantastic. Not only from my prospects I write about but also from competing businesses, suppliers and clients. So your Life Rules inspired me to find a new? business model. Thanks again. Joost van der Laan, Netherlands.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      great to hear!

  • Natualdude

    which million people u gonna help? and in what way? Dude chill out and stop setting up yourself for stress in your years to come.

  • kodemore

    nice and very inspiring. just a little technical note on your youtube videos, volume is a bit low on speakers, try to boost all your videos up at least 1.5 db. keep it up

  • Jaime

    Very interesting, inspiring but not so easy to follow, However if you stick to your rules, every following day will be easier to make it the philosophy of your life. Thanks for sahring that with everybody.

  • Andy Murphy

    I cannot understand on what basis anyone would take offense with what you’ve shared. This is an example worthy of consideration. You rightly imply that we are the authority in our lives who are capable of making such decisions to guide ourselves. Granted, we may have to craft some of those decisions to accommodate the reality that we have, for the most part, chosen for ourselves (if not physically, at least mentally – in terms of the meaning and significance with which we decide by default or design to imbue it).

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Andy!

  • Carol

    Wait a minute are you a fitness guru or??? I’m confused i get double doses of your emails daily for different things?

    • Craig Ballantyne
    • Scott

      Carol he’s an everything guru – he’s one of those few people who will get up every single day and take action on things that will benefit other people. I’d stay on every list of his you’re on. If you do, and take action on what he talks about, you’ll end up a person of greater happiness, health, wealth, and consequence in this world. Trust me – don’t try and put him in just one category.

      • Craig Ballantyne

        Thank you Scott!

        And yes, it’s all about taking ACTION!

        Keep on pushing,

        Craig Ballantyne

  • Elizabeth Petersen

    Thank you, Craig. I have been struggling with a bit oif a crazed menopausal brain, and I am causing emotional harm to my loved ones. I think writing out my own Rules to Live By and reading them every day, in addition to getting back to a fitness routine, will go a long way to helping me through this time in my life. I greatly appreciate your work.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you!

    • Colin

      Yes Liz…the fitness is very important. Find something that you like/love. Communication about your menopausal situation and lots of humility will go a long way.

      Best wishes


  • Windward Islands Business Supp

    Thank you Craig for this advice, I have been struggling with this. I say yes to easily and then worry that I cannot fullfill my promises. And especially I get all stressed out when I cannot fininshed the project putting unnecessary enormous stress on myself. Many many thanks again. I love your articles, always very helpful and a total blessings.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, thank you.

    • ttcert

      Thank you!

  • Colin


    I hope you don’t stick to those rules too rigidly or you’ll remain a single guy forever (8pm bedtime!)…LOL. Nice reminder though on the need to think about values and what is important.

  • Yulia

    Thank you for sharing this video. I liked it very much. But I didn’t understand two points. 1. Why do you quote Ted Nicholas but don’t quote Solomon? 2. How do you celebrate Christmas, New Year, birthdays of friends going to bed at 8? Or you make exceptions? Thanks!

    • ttcert

      Yulia – 1) Not sure, sorry. 2) You don’t have to stay up past 8 to celebrate anything, but yes, I do make exceptions. Sticking to the wake-up is more important.

  • Deborah Lew

    Craig you are probably an INTJ. Anyway. I cover sales for a few countries for my job, fly around a lot and unable to keep to a structured schedule. With time and practice I am enjoying the flexibility, fluidity and even uncertainty of what’s coming up next. My 3 rules are (1) do something that my future self will be grateful for, (2) be a better version of myself today than yesterday, (3) journaling everyday (this rule has become a habit too just like flossing, can’t sleep if I don’t do it!).

  • Irene

    Thanks for this video. It is always a pleasure reading your posts as they motivate me into action as I am the greatest procrastinator. It is now 2:00 pm and my day is becoming non productive – for all the reasons you stated, addiction to the web first thing in the morning, cannot say “no” to people who seem to repeat their requests, phone calls interrupting my trend of thought, setting limits and most of all knowing how to focus on my goals. I am now working on my “Not To Do” list which is the greatest idea I’ve come across.

    Thanks Craig for your continued inspiration.

    • ttcert

      You can improve, you can change! Keep on pushing, Irene. Make small improvements every day.

  • ttcert

    Wonderful rules, stay strong!

  • Melissa Tinker

    Every now and then I go back and read your 12 Rules again. It always inspires me to be better! Thank you Craig!

    • ttcert

      Wonderful, thank you Melissa!

  • Chip Walsh

    Powerful stuff! Thank you.

    • ttcert

      Yes, thank you!

  • Renee

    Your 12 Rules is inspiring. My number one rule is to “not complain.” About anything. Period. Number 2 is zero-tolerance to negativity of any shape or form; any kind of negativity is just not allowed in my life. I truly believe these two things have lifted me to my higher self.

    • ttcert

      Awesome Renee. Complaining is one I struggle with, but if I can conquer swearing, I can beat complaining, too. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  • Susan Lucy

    Thank you – you inspire me daily!

    • ttcert

      Thank you Susan!

  • Joanette D. Clemons

    This is an awesome article and the rules are not only selfless, but they are are focused on selfless actions and accomplishments. They are indeed thought provoking and spiritual. Great article.

    • ttcert

      Thanks Joanette, that is very kind of you.

  • Thank you for the inspiration Craig. I read this post a few years back,still struggle a bit,do to inconsistency,but blame no one but myself,no excuse. Time for tiny small changes in my character. Thanks again.

    • ttcert

      Keep on pushing on, Lanre! Small changes every day!

  • Ascension

    To me, it is much simpler, is this worth my life or death? Rarely, if ever, anything is worth either of those. I laugh when I see people pride themselves on not “dealing” with some fill in the blank thing or tolerating some fill in the blank thing or “can’t deal with” fill in the blank thing. We have been blessed with great gifts, perfect gifts, that we either practice and master or withhold them or let them decay. We will work our way to a great life, or we will accept that we can make every day great and build a great life.

  • Robert Haas

    I agree a lot with this idea of how to balance work and life.I must say I think the video is well thought out,important, engaging and helping to understand the lack of the feelings we sometimes all feel when trying to place the pieces of the puzzle with it all.
    My story: Over aggressive Director of IT. I’m an analyst who my manager was fired in early 2014. I meet with my Director weekly,, He is known to “micro manage” his managers. Well his staff too now. We have a new Mgr.. But he/she was a SD manager. So.. sharing responsibilities until he/she can fully take on the job.
    It gets better… Female peer of mine, good looking… but to me is a disgusting individual. Has taken the two “not so looking” guys I work with along side. She locks out calendar invites with the two of them. Their is one other woman in our group too that she locks out. And I guess me not being the most social person at work. I and the female locked out should start to lock out calendars. But I see no reason why. I just work with these folks. And if they don’t like me so be it. But they provided ugly feedback to my Director who held it against me with no raise… Go figure.. Ya I fought it and refused to sign off. So we are all still together. I need to get the F out. Right?

  • Patricia Davies

    Good morning, first I want to say thank you for sharing!!!
    Well I do go to bed and get up the same time everyday, I work out 6 days a week( using your work outs, again thank you!)
    I’m learning to be more consistent in writing in my gratitude journal. Working on discovering and strengthening my purpose here! Lol, not sure what it is.
    I’m passionate about music, fitness, traveling. Lol,now to fine tune one at a time!
    I’m a work in progress everyday and am grateful that I am finding people, like yourself for guidance and support.
    I love your 12 and will use most of them to better guide myself.

  • bluidevil

    While I enjoy reading how others may conduct a structured life as shown; it
    may be ‘new school’ only. Having 40+ years of travel,meetings,sales calls, you could never do 1/2 of that listed and be effective. Nights at the bar,jokes both clean and not so,long hours, telephone calls at all hours and going out of your way and catering to clients would never permit puritanical ways.
    Ditto, for a house full of kids and every day happenings. Life is to be lived not hide from, it makes one far more experienced and understanding .
    Maybe I’m a fossil, but it was the corporate world I thrived in .

    • ttcert

      My rules are NOT your rules. You make your own. You live your life your way.

      • bluidevil

        No problem, these rules just didn’t apply 40+
        years ago. do as you please youngster.

      • ttcert

        I’m still not explaining myself properly. I apologize. It is not the specific rules to focus on, but the idea of creating rules for our life. Yes, they will change from generation to generation and from person to person. But regardless of the situation, we don’t make excuses, we make the right rules for our lives.

      • bluidevil

        Understand fully, came up thru very ‘old school rules” 5 kids, long nights, having to play with the big boys and run hard weekends included. My mentors were all WWII vets and older, as well as clients. Anyway stayed extremely fit,raised kids,made friends learned all about people ,pros & cons. As earlier posted we fossils earned our stripes by playing with the rules that were accepted at the time.
        Good luck, it’s a tough business world to prosper 42 years in and still stay competitive and liked as of this writing.

  • Gerardo Ramos

    Thank you for sharing. Made my own list based on yours. Got 11 Rules only. Starting to live them today, July 1st. Greetings from Guadalajara, Mexico

    • ttcert

      Great to hear!

  • Gerardo Ramos

    Craig, I would like to share you BY EMAIL TO YOU the challenges I got starting the following day I wrote my 12 rules (there are 12 now) and what I have learned after a week of applying them.

  • Laura L. Smith

    I live by similar rules and find my life is quite peaceful and balanced plus I don’t attract or allow negative people within my realm. I also can attest to the fact that sticking to a diet works as I am still thin and have no health issues. I also have a strong faith in allowing my angels to help me achieve my goals–works beautifully.

    • ttcert

      Thank you Laura, great feedback!

    • cara


  • Dan

    Hi Craig,

    Love your work. I’m just wondering how did you come to having just 12 rules? I’ve been working on my own rules and I’ve nearly 30, which I feel is a bit excessive. Can you offer any advice on how I can reduce the number of rules? Should I have 1 definitive major rule for each area of my life or for each of my goals?

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    • ttcert

      I would check for redundancies. There is likely a lot of overlap. I can’t remember how I came up with exactly 12. Sorry!

  • BridgetJane

    Hi Craig 🙂
    Just curious…I read an article just a sec ago that said you eat dinner late, 8-9pm, but here you say you go to bed at 8pm..? So Im curious….8pm seems very early and very dedicated. I too love being up at 4 am but also like to stay up until 10pm… Anywho! Just an observation and curiosity 🙂 Thank you

    • ttcert

      I no longer eat the late dinner. I’m done now by 6pm to meet the 8pm bedtime. Much better off this way!

  • Christine

    Great idea, I came up with 16 personal philosophies.

  • Susana G


    • zeus 41

      ma’am I am not married but single

  • Mimi

    See rule 6 & 7! And join Alanon (or similar organizations) for support and practical guidelines

  • I believe Craig Ballantyne is brilliant. I’ve been reading his blogs for two years and have benefited so much by incorporating his advice into my life. His self-discipline is admirable and he’s absolutely correct about the importance of having guiding principles in order to live a richer, less stressful life. I’m not one who praises gratuitously, but I have to say Craig is right up there with Covey (but as yet not nearly as recognized) as one of the outstanding thinkers and information marketers of today.

  • Chief K

    Great idea

  • Vincent

    That is really good advice. I think I save about 2 hours everyday and put that 2 hours into good use.

  • Ashish

    Thank you for your opinions and insights. Really helpful

  • zeus 41

    I have my own rules but I have to share it with myself I think it’s time to put them online

  • zeus 41

    susana g I am not married

  • James

    You do not confront anyone… How do you handle someone wronging you in a way that absolutely needs to stop… How do you stop them without confrontation? Honest Question.

    • I don’t know. I haven’t had to deal with that yet, in my opinion. No one has wronged me in that way. Good question, thank you.

    • Christa Coetser

      Being quiet, I found, is a very effective way to deal with shouters and by that I don’t mean just keeping your mouth closed.

      It is a calm assertiveness. Finding a way that your body language communicate “you cannot intimidate me…I don’t fear you…I love myself enough that this has to end”

      An aggresive person is nothing different from an agressive dog…with respect…nobody likes being ignored.

      If you give attention to bad behaviour…it will continue, but if you ignore bad behaviour and give good behaviour attention…you might be able to win him or her over to be his or her better self.

      It has something to do with what you believe about that person…not easy, but possible…I saw this with a few people very close to me.

  • GeriNunes

    How does your sleep time 7x per week impact your social life? Dinners, events, evtl sports games or other hobbies which can be time bound later in the day..

    I get the benefit from sleeping and getting up early, its cosiderable “cost” what do you get in exchange? + i assume ur a rather introvert as that compromises your people time just a bit..

    I admire your bouhdries though yet the sleep thing semms strange even after reading the book daily rituals.. even tge very great had more relaxed schedules..

    • I stay up late about twice per week and have an extra nap the next day.

  • Rule #10 really got to me, since I have a tendency towards “lazy emotions” – and
    I so much dislike them! But the temptations are never far…..gotta lot of work to do Thanks much for the prod!

  • Latunde Dada Idowu


  • Adam Straseske

    Thank you, Craig. This has inspired me to be more intentional and create a personal list.

  • Christa Coetser

    Hi, Craig,

    This is why I read and write…read to know I am not alone and write to get things off my chest. No one…except God accept me better than the “person” I’m writing to.

    I truly love your rules. I have had these in my mind too and it helps me save time and me focused on my goals.

    Other rules I have:

    Doing homework (cleaning) makes me think creatively…there is something “spiritual” in the mundane.

    Life is a marathon and therefore one has to find ways to rest…from stress and pain by embracing grace and truth.

    A good sense of humor goes a long way.

    Dealing with fear: Things are darkest just before the dawn…that dragon could be trained to become a friend…not fear itself, but the things I’m afraid of…and not harm, but fear of failure…fear of not being “good” enough…

    It is not about how much I love others or others loving me…it is about how well we all are loved.

    Living healthy has countless benefits from which I believe the greatest is: Health improves the way I view the world significantly.

    • Thank You Christa, that is wonderful!

  • Nicely done. I respect that a lot about you.

  • Joan

    Craig… you changed things for me, and thanks is not quite enough. Your experience speaks a thousand words. I am going to pass on this information to my friends. I implemented the Gratitude and Achievement Journal (my version) although the ETR you offer is excellent. In addition, I changed my rules… three days ago, what a difference!

    I am indeed grateful to you for being an example – I was one of those wish-focused persons, so I changed that into being reality based and started analyzing my own success, the success of others, and learning from it.

    One day I would like to write for Early To Rise.

    • Thank you Joan, looking forward to your article submissions!

  • Hristo

    Hei, Craid thank you for the article, I have red it many times, but I think that is time not only to read! Probably it is time for action and I MUST do it! I have some idea what I want in life, but never set aside time to write it down my vision. Thank you for your dedication to transform people lives I really enjoy your articles and admire you!
    Greetings from sunny Bulgaria (Probably you have never been here 😉 )

    • Thank you Hristo, keep on pushing!

  • I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m a mother of two, working a full time day job and freelancing at night. I’m always pushing, always exhausted and never seem to have enough hours in the day. This is a really good wake up call for me to look at how I schedule my time so that I can remain productive yet happy at the same time 🙂

  • Sky

    Those were very interesting thoughts . I most definitely going to use some of them and make some changes in my life . I’m so glad we have people who want to help and are not afraid to share.
    Loved those rules 🙂 However, it is easy to make the rules but difficult to follow 🙂 …I need to work more on following them 🙂 ))))
    Thank you though for inspiration !

  • laura

    I finally feel like I’ve found ‘kin, and what you have done here being so open and truthful and to the point. In doing so have affected in a positive way – my whole life. Thank you for doing what you do! Words are not nearly enough for my gratitude, my smile if you saw it – is beaming. Keep up your life’s work Craig! – Laura M

    • Thank you Laura, and thank for the kind words you sent to Jason Ferruggia!

      • laura

        SO glad you received it…. my pleasure.

  • Enjo

    Thank you for writing this piece. I want to incorporate many of the principles on your list but I was wondering about the one where you do not get into confrontations? Can you talk more about this? do you just avoid people who are upsetting you? What do you do if you need to address a situation with someone. Doesn’t that mean you need to confront them in order to correct something in the relationship or their work etc? What do you do with people who leave you feeling sad and upset? Do you persevere with them or start avoiding? What about if you are married and your partner is doing things you don’t like? Can you flesh out more how you go about not wasting time and energy confronting and what to do instead?

    • It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.” – Epictetus Read this =>

      • Enjo

        Thank you very much for replying! Wow! Incredible info. If I am understanding correctly then you don’t confront because either you accept a situation, adapt to it or change whatever is within your control whether that is your thinking about an event or person or situation or your options. Where you have no ability or control to choose to take action one way or the other then you work on changing your reaction or thinking about it. Also, you try to take a moment before making choices or reactions and see the big picture. So, talking to someone about a situation falls under choosing to take action based on what you control but not just reacting off the bat. In other words, if you approach someone in order to take some action ,you have considered regarding a situation then you do not consider this as confrontation but a choice you have under your control that you have considered. Is this right?

      • In most cases, it’s simply: What’s the point of arguing or What’s the point of getting angry? Apply that to every situation first, take your time, think about how to make the situation win-win, and go forward. Most conflicts are not worth it or they resolve themselves.

  • Arif

    Living healthy has countless benefits from which I believe the greatest is: Health improves the way I view the world significantly

  • cowgirl20

    Excellent article, thank you, I take it to heart. I will sit down and make 12 rules for me, and follow them.

  • Fifi

    Thank you, Craig, in reading your 12 rules I find that I am not that weird after all. For example, I have an exercise rule that I live by and it is that I will not miss my exercise session no matter what happens. This has helped me stay on my program for 5 years. Another one is that I adopted the IF lifestyle and have successfully fasted for at least 2 days a week for over two years now. This is thanks to you for sending out that email about 2 years ago on Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat introduction audio recording. Just listening to that 7-minute audio on IF got me started. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sending that out. I have other rules that I live by. I know health rules are important and people should make them a priority. I do. I live a healthy lifestyle 95% of the time (I’m not perfect), and I am very healthy. I turned 57 years this past June, maintain a weight loss I had 8 years ago, and am at my ideal body weight of 116-126 lbs. at a large frame and 5’0″ tall, or short, I should say. I read here that some people have their life rules but can’t stick to them and I know why. In order to stick to your rules, you have to have a burning desire in your heart to do so. If you don’t, then you are trying to follow other people’s rules. You need to have your very own set of rules that comes out of your very own mind and heart in order to be able to stick to them; then, it is extremely easy to do so. Try it. I never miss your articles, Craig, please never stop writing them. God bless you abundantly.

    • Thank you Fifi, very kind of you, and congrats on the IF lifestyle!

    • Brianna

      Fifi, i’m impressed by what you’ve shared here. Would you mind sharing exactly what your fast consist of? Different people have different notions of what a fast is.

  • Francine

    Thanks for sharing your list! I appreciate your personalized list. I think it would be missing the point to expect to adopt the same one but was inspired that you had one and particularly inspired by #9! Have to love that level of ambition around helping people. I’m a positive psychologist and I plan to recommend this practice to my clients. Thanks again for the inspiration!

    p.s. what do you write about to start your day?

    • Thanks Francine! I write articles like this to start the day. It’s work related writing.

  • heris

    Hi Craig, thanks for sharing your personal philosophies. I agree with all of them.

  • Jackie

    I read this article a long time ago. I think when you first posted this. I had copied your gratitude journal rule. It makes a bad day suddenly better just by writing it. I had also adopted the “not engaging in confrontation” rule for one year and everything has been easy for me because of it. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about that rule just this week and I got emotional and engaged in a big confrontation with former bosses. It made me feel like a total idiot. Reading this article has made me feel that I can now move forward. Thank you!

    • No worries Jackie, shrug it off, learn that lesson, and get this rule back in your life. Thanks for your note!

  • Alex Joseph

    How in the fiery blazes of hell do you completely avoid confrontation? And if you don’t hurt others when it is possible to help, does that mean you do hurt others when you can’t help them?

    • TheDawn

      Point 6 is not to completely avoid confrontation – that’s not possible – but to “not engage in confrontations”. Altogether a more reachable goal than avoidance.
      On your second point – what do you think?

    • Grace Tinsen

      To me “avoiding confrontation” means I have a choice at any moment to disengage. To engage when another is upset about something means I choose to escalate. I’m no longer under the illusion that everyone needs to see the world I do. Am I perfect? By no means…but I’m aware, so when it pops up…I get to choose.

      • Well said, great wisdom!

  • I’m gonna borrow a few of these list for a bit

    • Best to make your own Ryan, your life needs your rules, not mine!

      • I reworded 6, 7 & 10 because those speak to me and my situation. That gives me my first 3 🙂 9 more to go.

  • EzA

    How does one go about making the correct decisions? I understand it is with experience, but, if you don’t trust your own wisdom, how can one begin to trust that one’s choices are correct?

    • Start with having a discussion with a positive mentor, someone that you look up to.

      • EzA

        Thank you. Will continue to do that.
        I’ve subscribed to your YouTube channel and this site. I appreciate the strong positive and straight-forward solutions you’ve made available, here

    • Also, watch the Vision building video here –

  • Rob

    Craig, thanks for sharing your 12 Rules for living. I can appreciate the value of having a set of guiding principles. They are like the lines on a road; they help you get where you want to go and help you stay out of trouble. You have stimulated my thought process and now I am drawn to creating my own set of rules. To compliment this effort, however, I need to resolve to apply some discipline and consistency to their application. I like the point that you state, which essentially says “you need to have more structure and discipline in your life in order to have more freedom”. This dichotomy is certainly wisdom. Thanks for sharing… -Robert

    • Thank you, Rob, and here’s an even better articulation from a much more talented writer:

      “Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually
      dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos.” – Paulo Coelho

  • RethinkHappy

    Great list! I especially like #7, and I adhere to your first rule. I go to bed at 11pm and get up at 5am every day of the week. This has allowed me to maximize my awake time, and I completely avoid caffeine.

  • Paul Buckner

    1) Restful sleep is a priority. I strive to do all the things necessary for restful sleep 7 days per week.

    2) I meditate at least 20 minutes every day.

    3) Family time and leisure is important to me, but only when my work is finished.

    4) I don’t engage in conflicts or confrontations with anyone. This is a waste of energy.

    5) I don’t play video games.

    6) I am accountable for everything that happens to me, both good or bad.

    7) I always arrive early and over prepared for any appointment.

    8) I strive to only spend my money on things that I really, really need, or that I really, really, really love.

    9) I create a to do list at the beginning and end of each day.

    10) I value my time over money and things.

    11) I prioritize my work, and don’t feel guilty investing my time and energy in work.

    So long as:

    12) I prioritize work, but will only work when I know I’ll I get a return on my investment that is worthwhile. As a performer, and a creative person, I think this is critical. We live in a land of suckers. I refuse to be one. There will always be other opportunities.

  • Hey Craig! I wanted to thank you for helping adopt early to rise. I’m up everyday before 6am .. sometimes 5:15 am. I get so much more done. 4 months now running strong!

  • Louise Primeau

    Dear Craig, every day is so great with the presence of the Lord in our heart. Thank you for reminding us of this. You are truly a great man.

  • Nadine Brauer

    Came across some notes I made while cleaning up for my new office that pointed me back to this article. Boy did I need that helping hand from the universe back to this article. Thanks to you Craig and thanks to my guardian angel for pointing me in the right direction again. Many blessings to all. Take care xxx

    • Nadine, thank you. Glad you came back again!

  • BatMan Binay

    Thanks for this list Craig, I”ll make one soon, and yours will be my guide. 😀

    • Happy to help, let me know how it goes!

  • Celeste Anderson

    Excellent! So much I “want” to do and daily seem to be “unable to get done!” Downsizing my daily expectations is surely key but with better strategy I know I can manage myself better and move a bit each day toward my big goal and vision!

    • Well said and well done, Celeste!

  • These are amazing rules to live by! Thanks for sharing!

    • Happy to help, Christine, thank you!

  • Awesome. These are inspiring rules. My favorite is #10, I need to do better at #2 too.

    • Remember – My rules aren’t your rules. Make sure to create your own!

      • Uh, right… just saying I liked them, and want to do better at those two. I have my own 🙂

      • Ha, oops, sorry for the confusion. You rock Rachel, thanks so much!

  • Grace Tinsen

    really great list…it has indeed inspired my thinking to update my own list. I’ll post it when I’m satisfied with it!

  • Grace Tinsen

    Ok here is my list of 12 Rules to Live By:
    1. Live, above all else my purpose in life: to gain wisdom and compassion. Every single decision or action I take must increase one of these two.
    2. I get at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night, and awake refreshed and excited for the day.
    3. I vigilantly eat a healthy diet, get moderate exercise and learn at least one new thing every day.
    4. My days are spent creating and developing myself, and implementing master marketing skills in order to serve the world in a way that is in alignment with my values.
    5. My prime directive is to be a force for good in the world. I seek out the highest quality products to help people, and information that serves them to be healthier and happier.
    6. I relentlessly pursue integrity in all that I say and do.
    7. Time freedom is one of my highest value and every business decision must be in support of that. As I create my own freedom, I have plenty of time to invest in helping other people get what they want.
    8. I prioritize my work flow every day, so the most important things that move me forward always get done, without fail.
    9. I prioritize my family and relationships, and invest in them every day so they are nourished while I pursue my dream.
    10. I am 100% responsible and accountable for everything I have in my life: good or bad. I prosper in all things, or I learn. It is always one or the other
    11. I am a peacemaker wherever I go. I look for the win-win in every situation, and don’t stop until I find it.
    12. I make time to play: to not lose touch with my childlike joy. I find some way to be playful, to dance, to sing or be goofy every day.

  • Greg R

    Is scary to admit but I last had a coach in 2007 and wrote out 18 guidelines and laminated them next to the bathroom mirror. A year later they disappeared in a move but just found the doc. So interesting reading through them…some no longer apply and others sure do. Now in the process of revisiting them with a lot more context having read your book. (PS am a week in from going to bed past midnight and getting up whenever to a 10pm/6am regime and find it so liberating!)

    • Awesome, thanks so much for the feedback, Greg!

  • Alex Bishop

    This is the first time since we discussed naming cbathletics (which I suggested a descriptive name at the time as I recall) I think I’ve reached out….
    I was skeptical at the list, then as I started I saw the importance of having deep convictions like these.

    I thoroughly enjoyed and have given me pause in needing to create some of my own…

  • Venetia Aiken

    Hi Craig – I feel I owe you a massive ‘thank you’ and I’m so grateful for your generosity. I have just received my copy of The Perfect Day Formula which I will begin today, but having binged on your videos for the last couple of days, I would like to share ‘My Rules’ with you. (you may recognize a couple of them lol ). I believe myself to be at a major crossroads in my life right now, and your insight has given me the direction I was lacking. Thank you so very much.

    1. I am in bed by 10 pm and arise every morning at 6 am

    2. I begin each day with 20 mins. of Meditation and Visualization

    3. I am guided by the following beliefs: I become what I think about every day, therefore my focus is centered only on the life I want to create.

    Life is not happening to me, but is responding to me.

    4. I am personally responsible for everything that happens in my life – good and bad.

    5. I will not compromise my values and beliefs regardless of the circumstances.

    6. I will not be the person I don’t want to be, and will not give in to any of the petty emotions that do not serve me.

    7. What matters most to me is not how people perceive me, but what I can accomplish.

    8. I will do one thing every day that makes me happy. Laughter and joy are a part of every day.

    9. I do not consume any alcohol from Monday to Thursday.

    10. My days are spent pursuing my Major Goals, and procrastination has no room in my schedule.

    11. I write 3 things that I am grateful for every day in my Gratitude Journal

    There you have it, the Blueprint to my life. Thanks for the read, and for your invaluable insight.

    • Venetia, thank you! What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your Blueprint … and enjoy the book!

    • Mohammed Abutaleb

      Awesome, thanks for sharing

    • selma

      Hi Venetia;

      Are you still going to keep your rules? All of them are really good :9

      • Venetia Aiken

        Hi Selma. Many thanks for the note, how lovely of you to respond. I wish I could give you a resounding yes, but alas that is not the case. I recently had a horrible fall and
        it has shaken me to the core. My routine (along with my rules) have been tossed out the window. Long story short – I need to get my act together and work this out. Regardless of the obstacles facing me now. Wish me luck! xx

      • Stay strong and get well soon!!!

  • Michael Jachimczyk

    Great advice,looking forward to reading More of your material.

  • Diane Boyko Achatz

    First of all, The Perfect Day Formula is one of my all-time favorite books! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to receive it. Both my husband and I follow what you teach in that book. In addition to my own rules to live by, I have my “not to do list” as you suggested. I’ll share my own Life Rules below. Oh, and I am getting to bed earlier and rising earlier, but the time depends upon how well I am managing Fibromyalgia. I have decided to spend my first 15 minutes of the morning using my Zen 12 meditation audios.
    My Rules to Live By:

    1. I track what I eat and drink, paying special attention to carbs. I do not drink coffee after 5pm. I do not drink Ten4 after 2pm.
    2. I admit when I am wrong and I apologize if being wrong has hurt someone else.
    3. I turn off electronics an hour or more before bed.
    4. I alone determine what I think about other people. I know that the 2 things I can always control are my attitude and the words I speak. I believe in second chances.
    5. Just because I get up early in the morning does not mean I am ready to converse.
    6. I do not discuss politics.
    7. I share my Christian beliefs and try to live as a good Christian, but I respect the religious beliefs of others, even if I do not understand them. However, I have no tolerance for extremists or fanatics.
    8, God, husband, family, pets, others — in that order. I give thanks for them daily. Everything I have is by God’s grace.
    9. I treat others with the same respect I wish to receive.
    10. I try to thank the people who provide necessary services, and are treated as “invisible”. For example, the staff who work in Housekeeping are expected to keep everything clean, yet are seldom thanked by the average people who use the facilities cleaned by housekeeping. I value the work of others, and respect their time.
    11. I use “please” and “thank you” a lot; and my favorite phrase is “God is never late.”
    12. I use my online calender and Daytimer to keep track of appointments and to-do lists and for scheduling my day.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. You have a great morning routine!