Great Aunt Grace’s Six Daily Rules to Live By

Quote of the Week

“One simple change in your daily self-care practices has the power to change everything – even your destiny. Without deliberate ongoing practice, nothing changes.”
Sandy Davis

Great Aunt Grace’s Six Daily Rules to Live By

by Alexander M. (Sandy) Davis

Becky Tracy, a longstanding friend and fellow musician, recently came across the six daily rules by which her Great Aunt Grace lived. Knowing that I would resonate with them, she kindly sent them to me. With her permission, I would like to share them with you. Here they are:

Great Aunt Grace’s Six Daily Rules to Live By:

  1. Do something for someone else
  2. Do something for myself
  3. Do something I don’t want to do but needs doing
  4. Do a physical exercise
  5. Do a mental exercise
  6. Do an original prayer that always includes counting my blessings

Great Aunt Grace’s motto was: “Bloom where you are planted.” Becky tells me that “her other gem” was a recipe for a bath soak which included the instructions to “lie in the bath with the eyes closed and do not think while soaking.” She lived to the age of 103.


Becky was correct that I feel a strong connection with her Great Aunt Grace. I find it remarkable that Grace’s six daily rules so closely parallel my “modern day” prescription for taking great care of your body, your mind, and your spirit. In order to nourish these three aspects of her being, Grace framed up her own simple set of daily self-care practices. The ones she chose for herself are virtually the same as the ones I have found to work so reliably and consistently.

For the benefit of her mind, she did a “mental exercise” every day, and also intentionally stopped “thinking” while soaking in the tub. I call that a “daily centering practice.”

For the benefit of her body, she made it a practice to do physical exercise every day. I concur that this is a vital daily practice.

And for the benefit of her spirit, she had a daily practice of praying every day-but with an inspiring twist. She held herself accountable to “do an original prayer” every day. She understood the value of continuously tapping into her own creativity so as to keep herself moving forward, discovering, and growing. I call that a “daily creative practice.”

The combination of Rules #1 and #2 suggests that Great Aunt Grace also understood the interdependency of taking good care of yourself and taking good care of others. Because you cannot give what you do not have, you must start with yourself. (I call this “Pay yourself first so that you can then pay it forward.”)

Rule #3 suggests that Grace espoused the value of not making any excuses. In challenging herself to do something every day that she didn’t want to do “but needed doing,” she set herself up to “just do it” day-in and day-out. No excuses.

I find it noteworthy that all six of Grace’s daily rules start with the verb to “do.” She understood that in order to create the results you want to create, you have to take action. She knew that there are no shortcuts, and that it was her own choice and her own responsibility to live by the Six Daily Rules she had set for herself.

My gift to you during these year-end holidays is to “pay forward” the gift that Becky just gave to me. Great Aunt Grace’s Six Daily Rules have re-inspired me to continue to honor my own commitments to daily self-care, and to leading a life in which I touch countless others in positive ways. May Great Aunt Grace inspire (or re-inspire) you, as well, to take great care of yourself every single day, and to lead a healthy, productive, and meaningful life until you’re at least 100.

Time now for me to go draw a bath and soak for a while-without thinking. You can, too.

Copyright © 2010 Alexander M. (Sandy) Davis. To find out more about Sandy Davis and the resilience-related manuals and services he offers, visit To subscribe to his free monthly e-newsletter, send an e-mail to FYI, he’s “The Resilience Guy.”
Coaching Call to Action

Self-care action for the week: Take a bath! Really! When was the last time you took a bath? Prior to reading Sandy’s article, it was 4 years for me! Showers, sure, but baths – nope. (I had to take baths in 2005 because I couldn’t stand up and balance for showers. I had broken my ankle when I was out running with my dogs. But that’s a whole other story.) I find that taking a bath warms your enitre body, is wonderfully relaxing and helps you to sleep through the night. Try it.

Ideas and Information

The Resilience Manual: How to Thrive in Stressful Times by Sandy Davis

The subtitle is: “Seven Simple Self-Care Structures that Increase Your Ability to Prosper Come What May.” If you are interested in learning more about Sandy’s work, this simple and clearly written manual presents his straightforward methodology for developing and sustaining your own personal resilience. The manual presents precisely what you need to know so that you can immediately start to take better care of yourself, become more “resilient-ready,” and enjoy life a whole lot more. To learn more go to