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Close friends who have known me since my early college days often comment when I do one (or more) of the Success Habits that I have learned the hard way to always follow. Sometimes they say things like, “Oh, that’s rule number 3!” or “Ha! I just saw you do #6!” and they’re right. What’s in it for you? Committing to these Nine Drunk and Stoned Success Habits means that you can party “pretty hard” and still have some peace of mind (well, what’s left of your mind anyway). Obviously, you really do have to do them EVERY TIME for that peace of mind to be real; but, the effort to always be consistent truly works and it pays off. 1. Before you sign, the card ALWAYS goes into your billfold or wallet first. Whenever you are paying with your credit or debit card, first ALLWAYS put the card back into your wallet – then sign the receipt. If they give you a receipt before the card, tell them you want your card then you’ll sign their receipt. Why? The bar tender, cashier, or waiter may not notice that you left your card on the counter or table but they will notice if you did not sign the charge ticket. This is part of “make them think for you” concept, especially when your thinking isn’t as clear late at night. This Success Habit means that as you are driving down the road you will always know that you already have your card with you, instead of having a dreaded thought such as “Did I pick up my card?!” By-the-way, the card AND the billfold always goes into the same pocket in your pants or purse. You don’t have to look for it and you know where it is. Style is one thing, but when you are shopping for new pants or purse choose only ones that help you keep your wallet safe – the same goes with your car keys. 2. Your keys ALWAYS go in the same place. While this seems obvious, it amazes me how often folks waste time hunting for their keys. Of course, nobody took the keys from them (except when you could be dangerous driving- then have a friend take your keys but remember who your friend is). No, some squirrel didn’t randomly ran through the house grabbing the keys either and don’t blame the dog. Instead, dedicate the same pocket location and ALWAYS use it. Nothing else goes in the pocket either. By always doing this, then you can unobtrusively slide your hand over the outside of your pants or feel the outside of your purse and confirm the keys are still there. Peace of mind, right? If you take them out inside your house, always put them in the same location. Take the extra 12 steps to walk to the hallway or kitchen to put them down or pick them up. “Where’s my keys?” is a real-world intelligence test and if you have to ask it, you aren’t passing. If you have young kids or teenagers, train them to do the same thing. “The keys have a home too” you could tell them. 3. Lock everything! Well, at least lock your car and house. This mainly applies to your car and/or your house, but it could be applied to anything that you would miss if it wasn’t there. Of course, this Success Habit can obviously be modified for your lifestyle so that it fits your environment, especially if you have young children or are out camping –but even camping, simply locking the two tent zippers together will help stifle the convenience theft where someone just casually walks by and notices that no one is around and looks to see what they might quickly pick up. I have a friend who locks his propane tanks to his trailer. He said one time he came back after a long hike only to find that someone had swapped his two full tanks for two empty ones, a hassle easily avoided. It is consistently applying this habit that matters, not whether the car is in the driveway, the parking lot, or at a friend’s house. If you can’t immediately see your car, then lock it. This way, you won’t worry while having a great time simply because you know that “Well, if I can’t see the car; then it must be locked because I always lock it.” Remember that old saying about an ounce of prevention? There may be other ounces that you need to worry about. 4. Eyeglasses and sun glasses NEVER go where people can sit or walk – or even on your dash. Okay, I have worn glasses since I was in the first grade. Did you ever know a kid that had white tape wrapped around the bridge part? The part that goes across your nose? I had so much white tape holding my glasses together people could see me coming in the fog! Merely sitting on a part of glasses breaks them and the bigger the butt – well anyway you get the idea. I think there is some Law Of Physics that says, “Glasses put at risk, stays broke” or something like that. You can always tell someone who doesn’t understand this Law by where they put them. And did I say put them consistently in the same place? I know someone that has six pairs of reading glasses for four tables. Two pairs invariably get broken in bed at least once a month. I can’t see why. 5. ALWAYS use turn signals. There may be times when even you need to be reminded of what it is you are doing. “Oh, the light turned green, my left turn signal is blinking, so I must be turning left. Now where again am I going?” Maybe you haven’t had that experience but maybe the car coming towards you thinks “Oh, that car ahead is going to turn left, so maybe I better watch out.” ALWAYS use turn signals – give yourself and others a warning. For some people a blinking turn signal is a request; while for others, it is a demand – “I’m turning, you slow down!” or something like that. I sometimes, out of habit, even use the turn signal in my driveway when turning into the garage. It’s silly but it did startle a squirrel that was going to run between the car and the house. The blinking light kept the car, squirrel, and house all safe. 6. When closing doors ALWAYS use the door handle or door knob – and look at your fingers as the door closes. You might consider this as a slow motion yoga move: turn your eyes, turn your head, turn your upper body in the direction of the door – pay attention to where your fingers are! I have a big truck I take camping and it has big, heavy doors. It amazes me that some folks will get out of the truck, be talking away, and never look at their fingers placed right at the edge of the door as they push it closed. DO they know how long it would take to get to a hospital? Even in your own back yard or in your house, why put the possibly of cut or bruised fingers into your life? Is it just laziness? Obviously, badly bruised fingers haven’t happened to them yet, but why take the chance? The more distracted you may be, the more likely that just this one time … well some lessons really hurt. 7. Never ever put anything burnable on the eyes of a stove – even if you know it is off or cold. This applies even if you just got up for breakfast and all you are making is toast in the toaster next to the stove. If you always train yourself to see the potential for a house fire, then maybe when you are not fully awake, or distracted for some other reason, a mental alert might still fire off in your head as a “what’s wrong with this picture?” thought. 8. Before standing, ALWAYS look at your feet. Sometimes you never know where your feet have been, such as when crossed underneath your legs, or that something unnoticed has moved under your feet like the cat has decided that your warm feet is perfect for warming its tail, or that a scorpion is about to crawl up your leg – no wait, that’s for the camping article. Anyway, always looking at your feet before you put your total body weight on them is a good idea. Sometimes, you might find money on the floor or your friend’s glasses (Rule #4) or their car keys (#2). Or, you might just stomp on the scorpion or spider just because. I have watched people sit on bar stools and then stand up only to have their feet slide out from under them because of spilled beer, peanut shells, or a lipstick tube that had rolled under them unnoticed. Generally, you know where your hips, shoulders, and head is located so just taking a quick inventory of your fingers and toes starts to prepare your entire body for safely walking out the door or crossing the street. 9. Whenever available, ALWAYS use the restroom and wash your hands. The only worthwhile sentence in ”The Autobiography of Richard Nixon” was his statement that once he became President, he realized he should “never pass up the opportunity to use the restroom”. You just never know when heavy traffic may delay your next stop or when the next opportunity may be available. Rather than holding up every one at the end of a dinner or party, go to the restroom before others think of it. Then, you can comfortably sit in the back of the car and watch others squirm. It may take a little while to form these Nine Success Habits but the effort is worth it – you will know where the important things are, you won’t be injured, and you will be more comfortable. It all makes for a successful , happy experience and peace of mind.