Finding Your Joy: 5 Rules to a Better Life

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

You may call me an optimist but I love that quote from FDR. And I truly believe the promise of a better life is what keeps many of us going. Whether it’s financial  security, job satisfaction, or relationship harmony, I think that many of us feel like there is a promise of a better life out there.

But a promise is often times nothing more than empty words. You can’t just sit around and hope that the promise is magically fulfilled. No. I believe that you have to do your part to achieve that better life that you seek. And here are 5 Rules that will help you on your journey to a better life.

Rule 1: Love Yourself

This is probably the hardest Rule of them all. That’s why I start with it. Because once you learn to love yourself then the rest of the Rules will fall into place.  I know that in the past I have really struggled with this. And I truly believe that is a big part of why I allowed myself to gain so much weight and to be out of shape for so long. I didn’t love myself. And I didn’t believe that I was worthy of happiness.

 The inability to love yourself may stem from long ago. Or from certain events that happened in your past. And once you get on that downward spiral of feeling that you’re a “bad” person, or “unworthy”, it’s easy to continue down that path. But that is a path filled with lies. And it’s time for you to take a new direction.

You worthy of having a better life. Everyone has made mistakes.  And everyone, at one time or another, has struggled with who they are. But you need to change those old ways of thinking. Start by speaking positive affirmations to yourself. Then identify the things that you might like to change about yourself. Set small goals and work toward making those changes. Once you start reaching those goals you’ll feel empowered. And you’ll start thinking of yourself in a different light. It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it.

Love yourself. You are worthy.

Rule 2: Love Others

This Rule can be equally difficult for many. I know that it was for me for some time. But once you truly learn to love and respect others you will find a joy in life that is beyond explanation.

I think one of the key ways to do this is to learn to focus on others. Our days are filled with communications with others – e-mails, phone calls, text messages, etc. It can be overwhelming. It’s a give and take. But I’ve learned that in order to truly learn to love people you have to learn to listen to them. And that means learning to be quiet. Once you learn to listen to others you will develop a better understanding of them and their situations which will lead you to learning compassion for them.

Love others as you love yourself.

Rule 3: Learn to Let Go

For many years I held on to a lot of things from my past. Mistakes, failures, bad decisions, missed opportunities, relationships. Holding onto these types of things from your past can only rob you of the present.

I read an interesting story the other day. A philosophy professor walked into her class one day with a glass of water that was half full. Many of the students thought they were going to get the age-old questions “Is the glass half full or half empty.” But instead the teacher asked them “How much does this glass weigh?”

    Answers began to fly out from across the room. The professor eventually smiled and said, “the weight is relative to the amount of time that I hold it”. She then went on to explain that if she held the glass for just a few moments, it really wasn’t that heavy. But if she were to hold it for an hour her arm would become sore and it would be difficult to hold. If she held it for the entire day her arm would most likely be paralyzed from the weight.

The professor then went on to explain that our past is like that glass of water. If we hold onto it for just a moment, it won’t have an impact. But when we continue to hold onto it we become paralyzed by it.

Learn to Let Go.

Rule 4: Get Involved.

One of the greatest joys that I have in my life is serving others through community involvement.

For me, I found that by joining organizations that served the community I was able to look beyond my own needs and to really start focusing on others. Once that happened, I realized that my life was much better than what I many times thought it was. And as I spend time around other people in need I started to develop a compassion for them that I lacked for many years.

Get involved.

Rule 5: Find Your Purpose

Years ago, I read Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life”. The book is designed to be read over 40 days and over that time you really learn to analyze your life and what is important to you. It helped me to find my purpose in life which is to serve others.

If you’ve not found your purpose in life I strongly encourage you to pick up his book and spend the 40 days to read it. If you really follow through with it you will be amazed at what you discover about yourself.

Find your purpose.


I strongly encourage you to incorporate them into your daily life. As FDR said, there is a better life out there. You just need to do your part to make it your reality.

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