Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep 118: Top 10 Rules for Life

October 31, 2022

This episode is just for fun, and I enjoyed creating it! I was inspired by this recent ep of The Productive Woman who noticed this trend among some YouTubers and decided it would be fun to do a list of my own. Here we go . . .

1- Control your inputs. I am not sure if I heard this somewhere or made it up, to be honest! But I really do believe in this tenet. Controlling one’s inputs is about setting thoughtful boundaries, both in the digital space and reality. It is why I limit my news consumption and no longer scroll Insta. It is also why I avoid looking at a giant goals list throughout the day!

2- Foundation habits are important. Sleeping. Eating well. Exercise. (The first two on those list I am getting an F on these past few days, but hey – it’s the big picture that counts!). When you cover your foundation habits, everything else is easier. I believe I got this idea directly from Gretchen Rubin.

3- Pay attention to routines. I credit Ashley of Routine & Things for this idea. The things we do every single day (or even most days) are worth paying a lot of attention to.

4- Always write it down. This is all about clearing mental residue AND the sad fact that even when something seems TOTALLY obvious and salient . . . it probably won’t be several hours (or minutes?) later. To me, “write it down” also includes digital capture but only if it’s going somewhere that will assuredly be looked at.

5- People are worth it. No one ever regrets time spent connecting with or helping others. Sometimes this can be hard for those of us (ahem) focused on sticking to schedules and completing goals, but it’s true.

6- YOLO / Everything is a choice. Time is finite. Possibilities are infinite. Both Oliver Burkeman and Laura Vanderkam get credit for this one!

7- Choose kindness + forgiveness (and give people the benefit of the doubt). Just like what we do with our time is a choice, so is deciding whether to hold a grudge vs forgive and move on. Or just choosing to be nice and helpful when we can vs not. Most of us all want the same things.

8- Be grateful + remember your privilege. We all have things to be grateful for and this perspective is important to keep with us always, in good times and bad.

9- Intentionally + strategically set goals — but also keep fluidity in mind and be compassionate with yourself if they end up changing. Allow yourself to dream and scheme and plan, because this will help you make the most of our limited time here (see #6!). But at the same time, remember that your goals are there to serve YOU, not the other way around.

10- Embrace what makes you happy. A beautiful planner. Baby snuggles. Training for races. Playing a complicated tabletop game. Baking the perfect cookie. No shame – take a deep dive into the things you enjoy.

WELL. I really had fun writing those! What would you add?

Additional note: Excited about those of you who expressed interest in BLPA! If you are not a newsletter subscriber, go here to sign up to get November’s edition out later this week — I will be sharing more info there first.


  • Reply Coree October 31, 2022 at 5:56 am

    One of my key ones is “assume good intentions” which really means I assume that 90% of people’s behaviour have to do with them rather than me. Unless you tell me otherwise, I’m going to assume you’re grumpy about something else, not that you secretly hate me, etc. I just find it an easier way to go through life, especially as someone who tends to notice awkward or strained social interactions.

    And one I need to be better at fully living “not my circus, not my monkeys”, I can’t fix everything and it’s not my job to.

    • Reply Kamala October 31, 2022 at 6:32 am

      Good ones 👍

    • Reply Lizzy November 1, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      Coree, absolutely love this! But … how? Did it take time for you to train yourself to think this way and now it’s somewhat automatic or is it a constant effort? Any tips for helping make this a “default” in my brain?

  • Reply Kamala October 31, 2022 at 6:31 am

    Very good 👍

  • Reply Gwinne October 31, 2022 at 7:25 am

    This is a great list. I would add something about working to sustain life, not an end goal in itself. I’m not sure which of yours I’d take out to accommodate though some might be collapsed….I’ll think more about this for myself.

  • Reply Carrie October 31, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Your job does not love you back. As in don’t put your personal value or wellness in the hands of your employer.

  • Reply Elisabeth October 31, 2022 at 9:21 am

    Love this list, especially #10. Embrace what makes you happy. This has been surprisingly hard for me. I was just reading a cookbook this weekend and thought: I know lots of people love to browse cookbooks…but I don’t!! I don’t WANT to bake a pie. But I love to look at books of home organization. So why am I reading a cookbook????

    And on priviledge/gratitude: I remember Brene Brown mentioning once that when you are thankful for what you have, you honour what I’ve lost. I often feel guilty over my many blessings (for example: my parents are alive and active in my life) because I know so many others don’t have that same priviledge…but by appreciating and being thankful for what I have, when done from a position of gratitude, it can be a mark of respect for what other’s have lost. One of my close friends was widowed in her early thirties with three small children and for years I felt very conscious when mentioning my husband. It felt…insensitive? But we had a very open discussion one day and she commented how she WANTED to know people were appreciating their spouses, because she understood how precious that relationship was, especially as her story was so deeply impacted by the tragedy of losing her spouse. It has forever changed how I think about gratitude. And also, it’s a reminder to focus on the good aspects of our life/relationships. So I try to spend time reflecting on, say, “I’m so appreciative that my husband started the car for me this morning without me having to ask”, instead of complaining about something, say, “My husband tracked mud through the house on my nice clean floors”…because, my friend would gladly take muddy footprints to have her husband alive and well!!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns October 31, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    #9 is thought-provoking for me because I am that person you describe – I don’t like to set goals I might not achieve. It comes down to being an enneagram 1 and an upholder, I think. But I seem to accomplish things without setting goals. Like just because I don’t set a bunch of goals doesn’t mean I’m not accomplishing things… so maybe goals aren’t necessary for everyone? For me, I feel like I’m being compassionate towards myself by NOT setting goals because then I am putting less pressure on myself. But it’s in my nature to be driven and to accomplish things. So it all works out in the end if that makes any sense? I might feel differently about goals when I am out of the little kid years but we’ll see. Even before having kids, I set very few goals – like 3-5/year. I see others loooooong lists of goals and it stresses me out! Ha!

    • Reply Hilary November 1, 2022 at 10:20 pm

      I am so with you! Also 1/upholder and also hesitant to set many goals!

  • Reply Sophie October 31, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    One more from Gretchen Rubin (she has so many haha), that I live by now: Choose the Bigger Life.
    Helps me to decide to take the scary option that takes courage, rather than the safe option. I apply this both in work (e.g. public speaking engagements, agreeing to take on ambitious projects) and personal/family life (choosing more ambitious personal goals, making big decisions with my family like moving states).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 31, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      Love it!!!

  • Reply Coco October 31, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    love 7 and 8 the most! my current motto is spend more time to talk/listen to my girls. they have so much to share all the time, for now. and i want to be there for them during the transition.

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