The 12 Rules That Changed My Life

It is not so much about finding happiness, but about removing everything that holds us back.

Mans 12 rules of life and how they changed over the span of his life Fran | Unsplash, ChristianChan | Canva

Throughout our lives, everyone is searching for happiness in one way or another. While happiness looks different for everyone — for some, it means building a family, for others, reaching the top of their career — some rules can help anyone live a truly fulfilling life. 

Here are the 12 rules that changed my life:

1. Chose to be happy

No matter what, no matter where or when, choose to be happy. Take everything with humor in your heart, regardless of what it is.


My 12 Rules Of Life & How They Changed Over My Life Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

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2. Don’t overthink things

Sit down, think about a possible solution, and if you cannot come up with one in 10 minutes, then just act on the first best thing! Acting beats thinking nine out of ten times.


3. Act with your mouth shut

Instead of saying you’re sorry, exclaiming your resolutions to the heavens, and proclaiming everything you want to do, just do it. Don’t tell the world what you will do, show it.

4. Give it your all, always

There is nothing you gain by living small. Either you give it 100% or you might as well not do it and change. Respect your time enough to give every moment everything you have.

5. Be honest, especially with yourself

Lying serves no purpose other than getting you into the life of another person. Being honest sucks at times, sure, but it will always lead to a better life.

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6. Choose your path

This is your life and in the end, it’s you who has to come to terms with how you lived. Don’t like what someone else is selling? Then don’t buy into it.

7. Show massive responsibility

You said you wanted to do something. Then do it! Words are meaningless unless they are followed by action. It’s your life, which makes it your responsibility. No one else is liable for the way you live your life but you.

8. Be you

If you do not know what means, figure it out.


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9. Drop the nonsense

You know what you are and are not doing. You know when you are lying to yourself, kidding yourself, and not doing what you set out to do. Cut out all the crap and focus on what matters.

10. Never surrender on what truly matters to you

Whenever you do find something worth fighting for, fight for it with all you’ve got. Yes, you will fall. Yes, you will fail. Stand back up. The fight is only over when you stay on the ground.

11. Never stop improving

When you stop improving yourself you will fall below your potential and receive a life less than what you are capable of having. Work your hardest. Always.


12. Enjoy 

You have one life, one chance, and one opportunity to make this life worth something, so make it count. Love your life, learn to enjoy yourself, laugh heartily, and, most importantly, make the mark you want to make on the world. Whether or not you lived a life worth living in the end is up to you.

These have changed a lot over the years, although they were always present in some way. The first rule is by far the most important rule, for the goal of everything, in some form or another is happiness. Happiness stands at the pinnacle of life, and it is only when we hold ourselves back or put restrictions on ourselves that we miss out on that.

Overthinking, talking too much, giving it less of what we can, lying to oneself, not making active choices, avoiding responsibility, trying to be someone else, holding onto things that do not matter anymore, giving up, slowing down, and worrying are all things that hold us back from happiness.

It is not so much about finding happiness, but about removing everything that holds us back. Over the years I realized this more and more. I used to chase joy and happiness, only to find that with fewer restrictions, and expectations and with more commitment to the moments that are, not what I want to be, my happiness increased a lot. Or, simply put: The more I allowed myself to be the child I felt I was inside, the easier it was for me to find happiness.


Every rule of my life is to support that idea, but they weren’t always that way. I started out trying way too hard to make life work for me, having rules about productivity, success, grinding, getting up early, and doing all sorts of “work harder” things.

I worked so hard and went so overboard with that that I completely crashed and burned out in college, and took the complete opposite rules after that. Letting go of everything, enjoying the moment, being spontaneous, loving everyone and everything, not trying, not taking responsibility, and just going with the flow.

This lead my life to slowly, but surely, spiral out of control differently. It gave me joy, but no progress, and, given enough time, made me feel like I fell behind where I wanted to be. I could have been happy with this path, but it wouldn’t have been the life I wanted.


That is when I looked again at the rules of my life and began to craft a set of rules that focused on the one thing that mattered. Rather than focusing on the grinding path to success, or the esoteric path to peace of mind, I focused on the path that both of those paths were supposed to lead to. With the true end in mind, the rules changed again, and I understood that I needed a little bit of both, a little bit of hard work and responsibility, and a little bit of letting go and enjoying the moment, to get the most out of life.

Happiness is what matters most, we just all get there in a different way. The question is: What rules have you gotten there before? What makes you happier now? Under what circumstances do you lead your best life?

Follow those questions, keep in mind that all the progress you are making is eventually supposed to lead to happiness, and try to set up your rules to make that journey easier. Do that, and you will live a happy life worth living.

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Lukas Schwekendiek is a life coach who's helped hundreds of people lead a life worth living. He is a writer with over 5000 articles published and has been featured on multiple sites like Time, The Huffington Post, Medical Daily, Apple News,, and more.