1. Get up early (five o’clock)
2. Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock)
3. Eat little and avoid sweets
4. Try to do everything by yourself
5. Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for evry minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
6. Keep away from women
7. Kill desire by work
8. Be good, but try to let no one know it
9. Always live less expensively than you might
10. Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer
After leaving university and travelling back to Yasnaya Polyana in 1847, Tolstoy wrote a set of rules which he tried to live by. They read as follows:
1) To study the whole course of law necessary for my final examination at the university.
2) To study practical medicine and some theoretical medicine.
3) To study languages: French, Russian, German, English, Italian and Latin.
4) To study agriculture, both theoretical and practical.
5) To study history, geography and geography (?).
6) To study mathematics, the grammar-school course.
7) To write a dissertation.
8) To attain a degree of perfection in music and painting.
9) To write down rules.
10) To acquire some knowledge of the natural sciences.
11) To write essays on all the subjects that I shall study
He was still giving himself instructions in his diaries half a dozen years later: “Abandon yourself entirely to everything you undertake,” he wrote, for example, and “Overcome depression by work, not by distractions.” Having by then tasted success as a writer, he was also composing rules about how he should work. “When you criticize your work, always put yourself in the position of the most limited reader, who is looking only for entertainment in a book,” he wrote. “The most interesting books are those in which the author pretends to hide his own opinion and yet remains faithful to it.”