Rules To Live By: Tangible Ways To Improve Your Life

Updated March 13, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Day to day life can be difficult to get a grip on for just about everyone. Between work, school, family, friends, relationships and an onslaught of concerning world and national news, it can be hard to know if you are focusing on the right things. 

It is not uncommon for many to feel that they are simply surviving, rather than living life to the fullest. This could be the result of personal matters, financial issues, relationship trouble, health concerns and many more. No matter who you are, it is likely you are navigating a number of individual struggles on a daily basis. 

While there is unfortunately no rule book that tells us just how to live a good life, there are few tangible steps you can take toward self-improvement that could be helpful in improving your life overall. 

In this article, we will explore ten tangible rules to live by that could help to improve your frame of mind and daily overall life. 

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Rules To Live By

When exploring self-improvement methods, many resources tend to focus on abstract concepts rather than tangible action items. While different things work for different people, it can be helpful to try a handful of self-improvement actions to find what works for you. Consider trying your hand at these ten suggestions. 

  1. Keep Consistent With Physical Activity, Nutrition And Exposure To Nature.

    While it seems to be a fairly redundant suggestion when it comes to the nature of self-improvement tactics, this is due to the fact that it is an extremely important one. Studies show that maintaining a consistent level of physical activity and exposure to nature is proven to relieve symptoms of clinical depression.

    Additionally, research has found that an overall healthy diet is linked to mental well-being. Implementing more physical activity and healthier foods into your day to day life does not have to be done perfectly or in a certain fashion to lead to positive results. Simply adding more fruits or vegetables to your current diet can be a fantastic way to introduce better nutrition.

    When it comes to physical activity and nature exposure, a great way to introduce more into your day to day life is by getting a dog. If you are in the position to adopt a pet, a dog can serve as motivation to go outside and get active.

  2. Implement The Use Of “The 2 Minutes Rule”.

    “If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.” This strategy, coined by author and productivity consultant David Allen, encourages you to complete small tasks immediately as they come up to prevent them from taking space in your mind.

    For example, if you receive a bill in the mail, pay it immediately. The 2 minute rule can be extremely helpful in decluttering your mind and tends to lead to more productivity overall. 

  3. Make Your Space Clean And Comfortable.

    You may have heard folks refer to the act of “making your bedroom your sanctuary”. This rule can apply to any space that you spend the bulk of your time in at home, whether it be your living room, home office or bedroom.

    Creating a clean, comfortable space for ourselves tends to make us more productive and happy overall. Taking the time to declutter and organize your space is a great first step.

    Pro-tip: If you are someone who has trouble letting objects go, it can be helpful to take a photo before getting rid of the item.

  4. Write Down Your Thoughts And Feelings More Frequently.

    Journaling or simply writing down the happenings of your day to day life can be an extremely helpful way to release pent up emotions as well as track your general mood and progress.

    Journaling can be done in a number of ways. You can try using prompts, making bulleted lists or simply freewriting. Freewriting, or stream-of-conscious writing is a method that consists of simply writing or typing exactly what comes to mind as you go. This method can be helpful in uncovering deep seated worries, fears or insecurities.

    Utilizing prompts can be another helpful journaling method. For example, if something bad has happened to you recently, such as losing a job or opportunity, try writing about how this instance could actually turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to you. This particular prompt can help with reframing negative thoughts.

  5. Participate In Hobbies And Activities You Enjoy.

    Having hobbies or activities that take you out of the daily grind can be extremely important when it comes to emotional well-being. While our modern society tends to place quite an emphasis on constant productivity, a person’s quality of life can be severely lowered without the presence of fun.

    Taking time to do things you enjoy whether it be sports, video games, music or art can be vital when it comes to feeling happy and fulfilled in your day to day life.

  6. Build And Maintain A Support System. 

    Studies have shown time and time again that, just like many animals, humans are inherently social creatures. Building and maintaining supportive relationships with people you enjoy being around can improve a person’s life tremendously.

    Though social media seems to have opened endless opportunities to socialize, sadly recent studies show that young Americans report feeling lonelier than ever before. While it has been crucial to take additional precautions in the face of a global pandemic, spending time safely with friends or loved ones in person can be instrumental in the matters of self-improvement. Even a phone call can serve as a fantastic way to connect.

  7. Take The Time To Learn About Yourself. 

    Just like yourself, every person you meet is dealing with their own individual issues and challenges. Sometimes, we may find ourselves facing challenges we cannot even seem to define.

    If you find yourself wondering why you seem to run into the same problems repeatedly, it may be helpful to take the time to reflect and learn about yourself. This can be done through independent research if you believe you are living with mental illness, or through self-inventory such as journaling or daily reflection.

  8. Try Morning Meditation Or Positive Affirmations.

    The Dalai Lama was quoted saying, “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” For many, this has proven to be true. Starting your day with a five minute meditation or a positive affirmation as simple as, “I am going to have a good day” can often set you off on the right foot towards a better life.

  9. Give Yourself Time To Rest And Relax. 

    “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” This was said by ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi. To put it simply, overdoing things or putting too much pressure on yourself will likely leave you exhausted or burnt out.

    Giving yourself the room to change and grow at your own speed can often lead to higher quality and more lasting improvements in the long run. If you are someone who tends to put a lot on their plate, consider scheduling a certain amount of time each day to dedicate to relaxing in whatever way you prefer.

  10. Attend Regular Therapy Or Counseling.

    No matter who you are or where you come from, it is perfectly normal to face periods of difficulty in life. Even outside of tough situations, a journey towards self-improvement can often be benefited by professional guidance.

    Reaching out to a therapist or counselor can be a great place to begin your own personal journey toward self-improvement and help you find a set of rules to live by that works best for you.  

Benefits Of Online Therapy

While there are many tangible steps you can take toward improving your life overall, help from a therapist or counselor can serve as a powerful tool for just about anyone. Since the implementation of self-improvement methods such as exercise and journaling take time, online therapy can serve as a more easily accessible and time-saving method of working with a therapist.  

Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

Having a licensed professional to report self-improvement progress to on a weekly or bi-weekly basis can be extremely helpful in keeping someone on track with a variety of goals. Online therapy is often a cost-effective option, making payment easy and removing one more barrier to living life to the fullest, resulting in a healthier and happier life. Additionally, research shows that online therapy is equally as effective as in-person therapy in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

You can hear from other users who have worked toward making their life happier and healthier with BetterHelp counselors below:

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“I like Laticia’s pragmatic and supportive style, her input helps me stay focused on what I can control and keeps me from letting the negativity of my situation drive my choices.”


When embarking on a journey of self-improvement it can be important to remember that different methods work for different people. While the aforementioned rules to live by have helped many, a therapist or mental health professional can often help you find exactly what you need to work toward for a more pleasant, happy life. 

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