Tagged: Energy Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • gretchenrubin 14:00:04 on 2017/08/23 Permalink
    Tags: Energy, , ,   

    Podcast 131: Do 10 Jumping Jacks, an Easy Way to Stay Off Your Device–and Life Is High School. 

    Happier with Gretchen Rubin

    Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 19 days.

    I’m looking forward to heading to Los Angeles, and many other cities, on my book tour. Info here if you’d like to come to an event.

    To thank readers who pre-order, I worked with a terrific production team to create a series of videos about the Four Tendencies. After the book goes on sale, I’ll charge for these videos, but until then, you can get access to them for free if you pre-order. Find all the info here. There’s an overview video, then subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.

    It was great to hear everyone’s suggestions for anti-perfectionism mantras. Wonderful.

    If you want to check out Chris Guillebeau’s brilliant podcastSide Hustle School,” for ideas about how to start your own side hustle, learn more here.

    Try This at Home: Do ten jumping jacks. It will boost your mood and increase your energy.

    If you want to listen to the Happier 911 playlist on Spotify, it’s here. Such a terrific collection of songs.

    Happiness Hack: As a way to cut down device addiction, Eric suggests that by forcing yourself to type in a long password to open your phone–rather than using a 6-digit password or fingerprint–you make it more inconvenient to open your phone and therefore easier to stay off it.

    I talk about this strategy, the Strategy of Inconvenience, in Better Than Before.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: When you feel like you’re in high school, all over again. The thing is, life is high school.

    1pixHappier with Gretchen RubinListener Question: Bethleen asks, “What should I do with my dead mother’s wedding dress?” As promised, I include a photo of Kristen in her vintage wedding dress.

    Gretchen’s Demerit: I gave myself a prospective demerit, as a way to do a “pre-mortem” to anticipate reasons for failure. Doing a pre-mortem helps identify ways to help a project to succeed. This is an exercise that really works!

    To learn more about doing a pre-mortem, read Gary Klein’s piece “Peforming a Project Premortem” in the Harvard Business Review.

    I did a pre-mortem by thinking, “My book fizzled. What did I do wrong?” and got very fired up to promote my book more. For instance, here’s the link to the pre-order bonus videos.

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gave a gold star to her friend Jessica who entered — and won! — a Beverly Hills Pie-Baking Contest.


    Free Resources:

    1. Want to join my group of Super-Fans? From time to time, I’ll offer you a little bonus, or ask for a small favor (nothing onerous, I promise). Sign up here. Super-Fans, I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm.
    2. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at happiercast.com/4tbonus. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    As I mentioned above, I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Check out Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 131: Do 10 Jumping Jacks, an Easy Way to Stay Off Your Device–and Life Is High School. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 19:40:07 on 2017/05/03 Permalink
    Tags: Energy, , , , , ,   

    Podcast 115: Boost Your Energy and a Deep Dive into Loneliness. 

    Update: We heard from many people on the issues of “textiquette.”

    Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches on May 18! Also, my book The Four Tendencies is now available for pre-order. (If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order.)

    Try This at Home: Boost your energy. As I describe in my book The Happiness Project, when I did my own happiness project, I made January the month of “energy,” because when we have more energy, everything is easier.

    Some long-term energy solutions: get enough sleep, get some exercise.

    Some quick energy fixes: doing ten jumping jacks, listening to upbeat music (try our Happier 911 list on Spotify), tackle a nagging task, listen to a high-energy podcast, have a mantra.

    Happiness Hack: Our listener Elizabeth suggests that during times of romantic heartache, listen to music in foreign languages, so the lyrics of love songs won’t affect your mood.

    Deep Dive into Loneliness: We got such a big response to our Very Special Episode 110, about loneliness, that we wanted to go deeper into the subject. People had such thoughtful responses.

    Demerit: I give myself a demerit for not staying up late at a bar.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to Adam’s aunt, who hosts an annual Easter party.

    Two Resources:

    1. Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out Side Hustle School and Radical Candor.
    2. In episode 98, we interviewed Gary Taubes about his book The Case Against Sugar. If you’d like the transcript of a longer interview I did with him, just email me to request it.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Also check out Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

    Also check out Little Passports. Check out “Science Expeditions” — the new educational subscription with a science theme that kids and parents will love. To save 40% on your first month’s subscription, go to littlepassports.com/happier, and enter the coupon code HAPPY.

     

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 115: Boost Your Energy and a Deep Dive into Loneliness. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 15:50:15 on 2017/04/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Energy, , , , , , , , ,   

    Observations from Marie Kondo about the Life-Changing Magic of Creating Good Habits. 

    Marie Kondo

    Interview: Marie Kondo.

    It’s hard to exaggerate the influence that Marie Kondo has wrought with her blockbuster books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. The latter book takes its name, of course, from the question she urges us to ask ourselves, “Does this possession spark joy?”

    Her ideas about how to create order and fight clutter have helped countless people to give themselves more energy and peace. (You might ask, “How does something paradoxically give you more energy and give you more peace?” and I would say, “That is exactly the effect of clutter-clearing.“)

    The New York Times called her “perhaps the world’s only decluttering celebrity.” Absolutely!

    Even I don’t agree with everything that Marie Kondo prescribes (as I write about here), I’m a huge fan of her work. It’s practical, thought-provoking, and often surprising. For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm, and her “KonMari method” resonates with many, many people.

    One thing I love is that alongside detailed instructions for how to fold a t-shirt, Marie Kondo makes observations like this: “Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature.” Profound.

    In my books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home (can’t resist mentioning–both bestsellers), I write a lot about the role of possessions in building a happy life. It’s a fascinating area.

    I was thrilled to get the chance to ask Marie Kondo questions about happiness and good habits.

    Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

    In terms of tidying, I’m definitely an Upholder. I stay tidy because I feel that the effects ground me and allow my home to spark joy for my family and me.  However, I’m not sure if I qualify as an Upholder in other aspects, as I’ll procrastinate submitting written work or sometimes show up late to get-togethers with friends or colleagues!

    Perhaps this makes me a Questioner, as I’ll only do things if, when I ask myself: “Does it spark joy?” and the answer is “yes.” My very profession is centered on encouraging others to ask themselves: “Does it spark joy?” This must qualify me as a Questioner! [Yes, that sounds Questioner to me.]

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits?

    I usually go to bed early and wake up early with my kids, who are 18 and 5 months old. However, because I travel frequently for work, I’ll sometimes get jet-lagged. This can disrupt my sleep pattern for a couple of days after! When this happens, I get a little anxious that I am getting behind on work or missing out on time spent with my daughters while I try to catch up on rest.

    Simply having children can interfere with healthy habits!  For instance, before bed, I usually like to stretch and release any tension that may have developed over the course of the day. However, if one of my daughters cries or calls out for me, I’ll tend to them and, by the time they’re calmed down, I’m tempted to pass on stretching and head straight to bed.

    Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you changed a major habit very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    When I was 15, I would continually tidy my room, only to have it become cluttered again shortly after.  This cycle contributed to so much stress that one day, I fainted. This breaking point made me realize that I was approaching tidying the wrong way.  Instead of focusing on discarding things and approaching tidying as the removal of negativity, I realized that I needed to focus on finding and keeping things that spark joy.

    Do you embrace habits or resist them?

    For daily life, I try to keep to routines, but for work, I prefer variety. For example, I get new ideas by traveling and exposing myself to other countries’ cultures. I enjoy giving talks in a variety of locations, because it allows me to interact with different people and learn from their diverse perspectives.

    Has another person ever had a big influence on your habits?

    My grandmother taught me the importance of tidying up even those places you don’t openly see, such as the insides of drawers and bureaus.  She recognized the intrinsic beauty in belongings and took pride in their presentation in her home.  When she dressed and accessorized, she applied the same philosophy to her personal appearance – everything mattered.  I developed my initial respect for my belongings as a result of her influence.

    The post Observations from Marie Kondo about the Life-Changing Magic of Creating Good Habits. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:00:59 on 2017/04/09 Permalink
    Tags: , Energy, , , , spring,   

    Like Me, Do You Get the Urge to Do Spring Cleaning? Here Are Some Areas I Plan to Tackle. 

    One of my great realizations about happiness (and a point oddly under-emphasized by positive psychologists) is that for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should. After all, in the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet is trivial. And yet over and over, people tell me, and I certainly find this, myself, that creating order gives a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

    So I’m a big believer in the value of clutter-clearing.

    Also, I’m a big believer in using outer milestones as a catalyst for action or change. Whether that’s New Year’s day, September (the other new year), my birthday, or a holiday, I think it’s helpful to be reminded that I might want to make changes in my life. (Yes, Questioners, I know you think that January 1 is an arbitrary date. Noted.)

    So spring, for me, is a reminder to think about spring clutter-clearing. I’m not inspired to do deep cleaning like window-washing, carpet-cleaning, or anything like that. Spring reminds me to tackle nagging clutter build-ups.

    I look for places where I tend to stick things and forget about them. Do you have this problem? For me, I’m looking at these areas:

    My Spring Cleaning areas to tackle:

    Closet shelves

    Are any items jammed in? Can I see the clothes that are stored there, at a glance? Are piles teetering precariously? Can I easily reach the things I want? Is there plenty of room to put things away? I need to tackle the shelf in our main coat closet.

    Dump zones

    Where do I tend to “collect and neglect?” It’s time to dig out those piles and make decisions about where things should have a permanent home. Or if they don’t deserve a permanent home, where will they go? Speaking of which…

    Thrift-store pile

    I need to make a few trips to the thrift store to drop off the books, clothes, and other things we’ve collected to give away. They’re still clutter until they’re out of the apartment.

    Bedside drawer

    I recently thought I’d lost my passport, and  I was in an utter panic until I realized what had happened. We keep our passports in the drawer of my husband’s bedside table (not sure why, but that’s what we do), and his drawer was so jammed with stuff that my passport had been pushed out the back of the drawer into the space behind it. Fortunately I realized pretty quickly what had happened, and was able to wiggle it out. Time to clear out that drawer — and my bedside table drawer is just as bad.

    File holders

    I have two file holders in my office. In theory, I use them for active files that I need to be able to get my hands on quickly. In practice, I often put materials there when I’m not sure what else to do with them, and then they languish. So I’m going to see what I’ve got there, and figure out a permanent place for those files. If they’re so important that they have to be at my fingertips, why don’t I ever look at them?

    If you’re interested in reading more about spring cleaning and clutter clearing, check out…

     

    The great thing about clutter-clearing — and the thing that surprises me every time — is how energizing and satisfying it is, once completed. A month ago, I tackled my giant messy pile of past-their-prime white t-shirts, and I still get a thrill of pleasure when I see my short, neat stack of acceptable t-shirts.

    Creating outer order can give a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

    Click to tweet

    What areas are you planning to tackle for spring cleaning? Any hints about effective strategies for solving — or better, avoiding — clutter?

    The post Like Me, Do You Get the Urge to Do Spring Cleaning? Here Are Some Areas I Plan to Tackle. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:35 on 2017/03/30 Permalink
    Tags: architecture, , , Energy, , John Freeman Gill, , , , The Gargoyle Hunters, , ,   

    “Deciding to Write Consistently and Actually Doing So for 5 Years Are Very Different Things.” 

    John Freeman Gill

    Interview: John Freeman Gill.

    I’ve been friends with briliant writer John Gill since the first months of our freshman year at Yale — the days are long, but the years are short!

    He’s been a New York Times contributor for many years, and writes for many other publications as well. He has just published his debut novel, The Gargoyle Hunters, and it is so good. I was thrilled to have the chance to write a blurb for the cover, and here’s what I said:

    John Freeman Gill’s The Gargoyle Hunters is a brilliant evocation of many things: the world of a thirteen-year-old boy, with its mixture of thoughtless destructiveness and wrenching emotion; a son’s relationship with a charismatic, architecture-loving, thieving father; the endless changes to timeless Manhattan during the crumbling, tumultuous 1970s. Funny, heartbreaking, elegiac, unforgettable—David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green meets E. B. White’s Here Is New York.

    The novel is getting tremendous buzz and praise. Among other things, The Gargoyle Hunters was named one of Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection for Spring 2017. And if you’d like to read a (terrific) review, check out “‘The Gargoyle Hunters’: A Love Letter to New York City.

    I’m going to do a Facebook Live interview with John on Friday, March 31, at 3:00 pm Eastern — we’re going to do the interview on the steps of the townhouse where the novel is set. How great is that!

    John has been working on this novel for a long time, and I was curious to learn how his habits helped (or hurt) the process.

    GRETCHEN: Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you changed a major habit very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, etc.?

    JOHN: Yes, but to explain I’ll first need to give a bit of background. I’ve wanted to be a novelist ever since fifth grade, when I wrote a series of waggish short stories about a raffish British private detective named Anthony Bristol. My tastes became more literary as I grew up, and ever since high school, my favorite novel has been The Horse’s Mouth, by the Anglo-Irish writer Joyce Cary. The book is a hilarious and irresistible 1944 tale about a winningly irreverent old London painter named Gulley Jimson, who begs, borrows, steals, and cons his way through life, shoving all else aside in a relentless drive to finish a gigantic modern painting that has seized his imagination and won’t let go.

    When I was in my twenties, I attended an MFA program in creative writing, and in 1995, the first week after I graduated and was on my own, I sat down in a fever and banged out 15 pages of a novel. I liked those pages, but life took me in another direction (screenwriting), and then another (journalism). Over the next two decades, despite writing no new fiction, I read literary novels nonstop and never stopped seeing myself as a novelist who just happened to be writing other kinds of stories. But somehow I never quite took the plunge and committed myself to writing a novel.

    Then, a few years ago, I was walking around in Park Slope, Brooklyn, not far from my home, and I stumbled upon a cardboard box full of discarded books in front of an old brownstone. One of the books was a crumbling, yellowed paperback copy of The Horse’s Mouth, a 1957 edition with a tattered purple cover. The serendipity of that moment really did feel like a lightning bolt. I’d forgotten how much I loved Gulley and his relentless artistic drive, and I’d forgotten how much I needed to write fiction. That old paperback book, its spine broken and its pages falling out, reminded me. I gathered up the pages and began to read as I walked home, so engrossed that I nearly got hit by a car in a crosswalk. The novel is narrated in the first person by Gulley himself, and one sentence in particular resonated with me. “And I perceived I hadn’t time to waste on pleasure,” Gulley writes on the very first page. “A man of my age has to get on with the job.”

    “The job,” of course, is the making of art. And I, in my forties at the time, decided that Gulley had it exactly right. The time for procrastination was past. I began writing my novel the next morning and didn’t stop until I finished it five years later. It’s called The Gargoyle Hunters, and Knopf is publishing it.

    So it sounds like you managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—writing fiction consistently—that had eluded you for ages. How did you do it?

    It’s a fair question. Because, of course, deciding to write consistently and actually doing so for five years are very different things. The new habit that I think proved most important was that I began keeping a daily log of how many hours I wrote. This kept me from lying to myself with all kinds of rationalizations about how hard I was working if I wasn’t really buckling down.

    When you’re writing a novel, see, you don’t have a boss either to pat you on the head or kick you in the ass. All you have is your own constantly fluctuating sense of how good a day’s work you just performed and how the novel is going over all. So I felt it was necessary to superimpose an overarching structure on the writing process, to simulate having a boss who would take me to task if I was underachieving. And for me, the best way to ensure steady progress was to monitor the time spent at my desk. For me, time equals writing. Some writers talk about how many words they write each day, and I’ve always admired authors who can crank out page after page in a single sitting. But for me, that measurement is pretty meaningless. I’m a very slow, methodical writer who labors over the language, so for me, word count is sort of beside the point. I mean, the idea is to write the right words, not just a lot of them, isn’t it? So by logging the number of hours I write, rather than the number of words, I free myself from the tyranny of quantity and permit myself to take as long as I need to get every sentence and paragraph into a form I’m happy with.

    Do you have any habits that continually get in the way of your happiness?

    I’m terrible at going to bed. I just won’t do it. I’m a sleep idiot. I stay up too late, which saps my energy and keeps me from ever becoming that well-organized fellow of lore who leaps out of bed each morning, carpe-ing the diem and immediately penning reams of deathless prose.

    Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    I think the most important newish habit I have is swimming. I have no fear of the water—I grew up in the ocean at Fire Island, exultantly body-surfing hours a day—but I’ve never been a strong swimmer; for most of my life I was never good enough to do more than three or four frantic, exhausted laps at a time. My wife’s parents have a beautiful pool up in the Berkshires, though, and two summers ago I basically taught myself to swim. I’m sure I’m doing it all wrong—I’m just going on memory from the lessons I was given as a child—but by taking it slowly and breaking down the elements of what my body was doing in the water, I taught myself to breathe properly, and now I can basically swim laps indefinitely. I belong to a gym that has an Olympic-size pool, and it’s just half a block from my house in Brooklyn, so anytime I’m feeling stressed or just need to escape my own mind, I go swim until I’ve got my zonk on. Immersing yourself in the world of a novel for several years is so consuming that it’s hard to turn your mind off at the end of the work day. Your brain wants to keep rehashing those creative issues you’ve been grappling with all day. And that’s just really destructive and counter-productive. So I’ve found that the best way to make a clean break from the day’s mental efforts is to swim myself to exhaustion. When I do that, I get out of the pool happily devoid of thoughts. Part of the secret to writing, it turns out, is to learn how not to write.

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits?

    The Internet is the enemy. And lunch. I know from experience that if I ever meet someone for lunch, I never refocus on my work again properly that day. So I solve that problem simply by never having lunch with anyone. I meet someone for lunch maybe five times a year.

    The Internet is even more insidious. There’s simply no way to do serious creative work if you keep interrupting yourself to check e-mail or read online articles that fuel your righteous indignation about the state of our national politics. I used to belong to a writers room here in New York, and I found it very enlightening and motivating. On the one hand, there are writers—usually women in their fifties or sixties, I’ve found—who are hardcore: banging away at the keyboard as if they can barely type fast enough to keep up with the rapid-fire verbiage their Muse is shouting in their ear. On the other hand, though, you wouldn’t believe how many people spend their writing days reading about celebrity Scientologists or shopping for shoes. News flash: You can’t write fiction while checking out sparkly high-tops on Zappos.

    The truth is, though, I don’t have particularly good self-control myself. So I installed a great piece of software on my laptop called Freedom, which you can program to lock you out of the Internet for whatever period of time you like. It’s a life-changer. I think of it as prosthetic will-power.

    The post “Deciding to Write Consistently and Actually Doing So for 5 Years Are Very Different Things.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:16 on 2017/03/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Energy, , , , , , , Paleo, Robb Wolf,   

    “I Wish My 18-Year-Old Self Had Realized That Incrementalism Is ‘OK.’” 

    Robb Wolf

    Interview: Robb Wolf.

    I often write about how I eat a low-carb, high-fat diet. As I describe in Better Than Before, I experienced the “Strategy of the Lightning Bolt” after reading Gary Taubes’s book Why We Get Fat, which convinced me of the health benefits of avoiding carbohydrates — I changed practically everything about the way I ate, overnight, after reading that book. (If you’d like to listen to the podcast interview with Gary Taubes, about his new book The Case Against Sugar, it’s here.)

    Because of my interest in eating low carb, I got to know Robb Wolf. Robb comes at the issues of diet, eating, and nutrition from the Paleo perspective. It’s a different philosophy of eating, but in the end, we eat mostly the same way, so it’s interesting for me to hear about it.

    Robb has a popular podcast, The Paleo Solution, and he has new book that just hit the shelves called Wired to Eat: Turn Off the Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods that Work for You.

    Wired to Eat emphasizes that it’s important to figure out how to eat in the way that works for you. It also discusses the importance of things like sleep and movement in trying to eat more healthfully.

    As I’ve written and spoken to people about their happiness and habits, the issue of “wanting to eat healthier” comes up again and again as a habit that people struggle with; they’d know they’d be happier and healthier if they ate healthier, but they find it tough. (Sound familiar?)

    So I was curious to hear what Robb had to say.

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What’s the most significant thing you’ve concluded on the subject of habits?

    Robb: This may seem a bit far afield to your readers but one of the best insights into habits and human behavior came to me when I started looking at this topic from the perspective of evolutionary biology. If we think about the environment that forged our genetics, we can get a sense of some important “hard wiring” that may seem to defy logic in the modern world. Let’s consider healthy eating as an example. It’s easy to vilify overeating, to make this tendency some kind of character flaw, but in our not so distant past it made good sense to eat anything one could find and then to REST. All organisms that move to eat follow a process called “Optimum Foraging Strategy” which is just a fancy way of looking at the energy accounting an organism must maintain to go on living. If a given critter (in this case let’s say us) consistently burns more energy than it finds in the environment…it dies. So, humans are literally wired to “eat more, move less.” This is a completely normal and even healthy state of affairs when living in an ancestral environment, but with modern culture and technology we can order a nearly infinite variety of foods to our door, and barely expend any energy at all. It is now incredibly easy to overeat and we experience a host of health problems as a consequence. This evolutionary biology perspective can help with habits in that if we are not starting a process from a perspective of guilt or shame (which is common when folks are contemplating diet and lifestyle changes) we stand a much better chance of making that process of change stick.

    What’s a simple habit that consistently makes you happier?

    When I start feeling cranky and like life is working against me I have found that a few minutes of gratitude goes a long way towards making me feel better. I do this every night before bed and it is incredibly calming and also keeps me grounded in all the good things I have in my life.

    What’s something you know now about forming healthy habits that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Something I wish my 18-year-old self had been aware of is that incrementalism is “ok.” For much of my life I tackled things with a perfectionist attitude and what this did is set me up for failure in anything that I was not inherently good at. If I struggled a bit at something I’d get self-conscious and default back to those things I’m good at. Not a great way to add new habits and skills to one’s life!

    Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

    I’m pretty strongly a Questioner. I love seeking out information from folks that are better versed in a topic than I am but I tend to run their advice or teaching through the following filter: Does it make sense? When I implement the recommendations, does the process work? I rarely, if ever, dismiss something out of hand, but I will stress-test the concept and see if it holds up to scrutiny. I’m also always looking for ways to improve upon the original teaching or advice.

    The post “I Wish My 18-Year-Old Self Had Realized That Incrementalism Is ‘OK.’” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 20:57:49 on 2017/03/17 Permalink
    Tags: Energy, , , , , , self-command, , ,   

    What Healthy Treats Do You Give Yourself? (Note the “Healthy.”) 

    healthy treats

    In my book Better Than Before, I describe the many strategies that we can use to change our habits. We all have our favorite strategies — but I think most of us would agree that the Strategy of Treats is the most fun strategy.

    “Treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role.

    When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command—and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.

    Studies show that people who got a little treat, in the form of receiving a surprise gift or watching a funny video, gained in self-control. It’s a Secret of Adulthood: If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

    If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

    Click to tweet

    When we don’t get any treats, we begin to feel burned-out, depleted, and resentful.  We start to feel deprived — and feeling deprived is a very bad frame of mind for good habits.

    When we feel deprived, we feel entitled to put ourselves back in balance. We say, “I’ve earned this,” “I need this,” “I deserve this” and feel entitled to break our good habits.

    So we need treats.

    But it’s crucial to give ourselves healthy treats, because unhealthy treats are often bad for us. We don’t want to give ourselves something to feel better that just makes us ending up feeling worse. Like a costly splurge, an extra glass of wine, a big brownie.

    All of us should have a long list of potential healthy treats. That way, when we think, “I need a treat,” we have ideas.

    For something to be a treat, we have to think of it as a treat; we make something a treat by calling it a “treat.” When we notice our pleasure, and relish it, the experience becomes much more of a treat. Even something as humble as herbal tea or a box of freshly sharpened pencils can qualify as a treat.

    For instance, once I realized how much I love beautiful smells, a whole new world of treats opened up to me. If I need a treat, I visit my “collection of smells” in my apartment or I stop by a perfume counter.

    At the same time, it’s important not to call something a “treat” if it’s not really a treat. It may be good for you, and it may even feel good, but it’s not a treat if you don’t look forward to it with pleasure. So a yoga class could be a treat for someone, but it’s not a treat for me. I do it, and I’m glad I do it, but I don’t think, “Oh, yay, time for yoga!”

    Sometimes, treats don’t look like treats. For example, to my surprise, many people consider ironing a “treat.”

    Here are some other treats I’ve heard about:

    • crossword puzzles
    • looking at art books
    • shopping at a very expensive store (no possibility of buying, so just enjoy looking)
    • translating Latin
    • breaking codes
    • manicure (I never get manicures and dread them; the opposite of a treat for me)
    • visiting camping stores
    • online shopping (I heard from many people who enjoy online shopping with no plan to buy–they have fun filling their cart, then abandon it)
    • choosing plants and seed for the garden
    • video games and phone games
    • getting a massage
    • taking a bath, especially if with special bath salts
    • buying yourself flowers
    • visiting a special place (a park, sculpture, or museum)

     

    If you want to hear me and Elizabeth talk about why you should treat yourself, listen to this episode of the Happier podcast.

    And if you want to hear Donna and Tom of Parks and Recreation talk about their annual Treat Yo’ Self day, watch the hilarious clip here.

    What healthy treats are on your list?

    The post What Healthy Treats Do You Give Yourself? (Note the “Healthy.”) appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 15:11:29 on 2017/03/15 Permalink
    Tags: Before Sunrise, , , Energy, , , , movie, , , , , shower, , , , ,   

    Podcast 108: Use Your Shower as a “Happiness Booth,” Use Your Smart-Phone as a Magnifier, and a Question from the Movie “Before Sunrise.” 

    Happier with Gretchen Rubin

    It’s time for the next installment of Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    Update: Along with her writing partner Sarah Fain, Elizabeth is busy getting ready to launch her new podcast Happier in Hollywood. And by the way, if you love listening to podcasts, this is the month of “#Trypod,” when we’re all helping people discover new podcasts or help show them how to listen to podcasts. So encourage people to #Trypod.

    Try This at Home: We got this idea from our listener Rebecca: Use your shower as a “happiness booth.”

    If you want to hear our interview with Rosanne Cash in episode 22, and hear a clip from “When the Master Calls the Roll,” listen here.

    Happiness Hack: You can use the camera on your smart-phone as a magnifying glass. Who knew?

    Know Yourself Better: Inspired by the 1995 movie Before Sunrise, we discuss the question: Do you feel more like Celine, who feels like an old woman looking back on her life, or more like Jesse, who feels like a kid pretending to be a grown-up?

    If you’re interested in this idea of “anticipatory nostalgia,” I talk about it at the conclusion of my book Happier at Home.

    Here’s my one-minute video, The Years Are Short.

    Listener Question: Our listener Cindy likes to go for a walk by herself during lunch, but now her boss wants to join her. How does she maintain her solo walk?

    Demerit: Elizabeth has the habit of falling asleep when she’s putting Jack to bed at night, taking a nap, and then staying up for another few hours.

    Gold Star: I give gold star to our mother and father related to signing up for exercise training sessions.

     

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

    And check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 108: Use Your Shower as a “Happiness Booth,” Use Your Smart-Phone as a Magnifier, and a Question from the Movie “Before Sunrise.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:30:11 on 2017/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , Energy, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Do You Hate to Rush? 11 Tips for Getting Ready Faster in the Morning. 

    One small but annoying daily challenge? Getting ready each morning.

    I very much dislike rushing or feeling pressed for time, and fervently agree with Thoreau, who wrote in Walden, “I love a broad margin to my life.”

    By figuring out easy, quick ways to make it faster to head out the door, we can give ourselves a bigger margin of time.

    Need some ideas? Here are eleven simple morning-related habits that may make your life easier.

    11 Simple Morning Habits to Make Your Life Easier

    1. Put your alarm clock across the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. No more snooze button!
    2. The night before, set an alarm to tell you that it’s time to go to bed. It’s a lot easier to get going in the morning if you’ve had enough sleep the night before. Also…
    3. Set an alarm to remind you when you’ve spent enough time in the shower.
    4. Buy several pairs of the same socks, so you never have to hunt for a mate.
    5. Decide your outfit while you brush your teeth to go to bed the night before, so you don’t have to take the time for inner debate in the morning. Or even better…
    6. Give yourself a work uniform, so you have very few choices to make when dressing. (I loved this piece by an art director,  “Why I Wear the Exact Same Thing to Work Every Day.”)
    7. Always put your keys, wallet, sunglasses, and cell phone away in the same place, so you don’t have to spend any time hunting for an important possession.  (Can’t find something? Here are 8 tips for finding misplaced objects. Bizarrely, I’ve found, these tips really do work.)
    8. The night before, gather everything you need for the next day–papers in your briefcase, exercise clothes in the gym bag, the book you’re returning to a friend at work.
    9. Always keep gas in the car.
    10. Drink the office coffee instead of stopping at a coffee place on your way to work.
    11. Convince everyone in your household to follow these same tips.

    How about you? What tips and tricks do you use, to help yourself get ready faster each morning?

    The post Do You Hate to Rush? 11 Tips for Getting Ready Faster in the Morning. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:56:40 on 2016/12/28 Permalink
    Tags: , book clubs, , , , , , Energy, , fashion, , happiness project, , , , , photos, , , , , , , ,   

    Podcast 97: Start Your Own Happiness Project, a Deep Dive into Break-Ups, and a Sweatpants Demerit. 

    Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2016-09-27 16:40:51Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

    It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    We’re coming up on our Very VERY Special Episode — Episode 100! Hard to believe. For this episode, send us questions about anything, whether related to happiness or not. For instance, if you’ve wondered, “Why don’t Gretchen and Elizabeth ever have their parents come onto the show?” or “What was the brand of Gretchen’s hard-boiled egg-maker?” you can ask! (KRUPS, by the way.) Email us or call us at 774-277-9336.

    To start the new year in a happier way, we’re doing a fun project on Instagram. Every day, for the month of January, Elizabeth and I will post a photo on Instagram of something that makes us happier (by giving us a boost, helping us stick to good habits, reminding us to feel grateful, etc.).  Join in! Use the hashtag #Happier2017 and tag us — I’m @gretchenrubin and Elizabeth is @lizcraft.

    Try This at Home: Start your own happiness project. I wrote about my own “happiness project” in my book, The Happiness Project.

    My Twelve Personal Commandments are here.

    Email me if you want to see my happiness-project chart. If you want to take a look at the The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five Year Record, it’s here.

    If you’re curious to see Eliza’s Squarespace site for her podcast Eliza Starting at 16, it’s here.

    Happiness Hack: Jane says, “To deal with unloading the dryer, I tell myself I only have to fold five items. That gets me started.”

    Deep Dive: How to survive a break-up. Our fellow podcaster, Andrea Silenzi of the great podcast Why Oh Why, is dealing with a break-up. We talked about it first in episode 93, and Andrea came onto the show to give us an update.

    Demerit: Elizabeth gives herself a demerit for wearing sweatpants every day.

    Gold Star: Our mother decorates beautifully for Christmas. It’s a lot of work, but it adds so much to the holiday, because it’s so festive.

    Don’t forget: Elizabeth’s young-adult book Flower is ready for pre-order!

    flowercraftolsen

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

    Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Squarespace. Start building your website and get your free trial today.  Go to Squarespace.com, and enter the offer code “happier” to get 10% off your first purchase.

    Also check out Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses. Pay a fraction of what you’d pay in the store, get free delivery, and returns within a 100 day period. Go to Casper.com and get $50 off a mattress purchase by using the promo code happier.

    1pix

    1pix

    1pix

    1pix

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 97: Start Your Own Happiness Project, a Deep Dive into Break-Ups, and a Sweatpants Demerit. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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