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  • gretchenrubin 09:00:45 on 2019/05/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , frustration, guilt, habit, , persistence, ,   

    A Happiness Question: What Should We Do if We Feel Like We’ve Fallen Behind or Fallen Off the Wagon? 


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    When we're trying to make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative, we often find ourselves in a frustrating situation: we fall behind or we fall off the wagon.

    What to do? Here are some useful points to consider:

    1. Don't beat yourself up.

    Although some people assume that strong feelings of guilt or shame act as safeguards to help people stick to good habits, the opposite is true. People who feel less guilt and who show compassion toward themselves in the face of failure are better able to regain self-control, while people who feel deeply guilty and full of self-blame struggle more.

    Often, when we feel bad about breaking a good habit, we try to make ourselves feel better by...indulging in the bad habit! A woman told me, "I felt so bad about breaking my diet that I ate three orders of french fries." This is the cruel poetic justice of bad habits.

    2. Remember that what you do most days matters more than what you once in a while.

    If you're pretty good most days, don't get too upset if you don't have a perfect record. Don't let yourself start to think, "Gosh, I haven't exercised in ten days, what's the point of starting now?" Sure, you wish you'd exercised those ten days, but if you get back in the habit, those lost days aren't a very big deal.

    And fail small, not big. Once a good behavior is broken, we sometimes act as though it doesn’t matter whether it’s broken by a little or a lot. “I didn’t do any work this morning, so what the heck, I’ll take the rest of the week off and start on Monday.” “I missed my yoga class over spring break, so what the heck, I’ll start again in the fall.” Pick yourself back up right away!

    3. A stumble may prevent a fall.

    If you've fallen behind or fallen off the wagon, remind yourself of the valuable proverb: "A stumble may prevent a fall." Sure, you've gone through a rough patch, but you can use this experience to learn more about yourself and your challenges. Maybe you fell behind while traveling, or when you had family visiting, or when you were in a tough stretch at work. How can you use this experience to set yourself up for more success in the future?

    Let's say you were eating very healthfully, then you spent a weekend to a hotel where you ate too much of the wrong food at the all-you-can-eat buffets. So now you've learned, "I shouldn't pick the buffet option. I should order off the menu. That way, I'll know exactly what food I'll get, in a set portion." Studies show that we tend to eat more when faced with a bigger variety, and when it's self-serve, we can serve ourselves a lot! Remind yourself, "I learned this lesson the hard way. Next time, I'll make a different choice."

    4. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    When we're making resolutions, it's easy to set big ambitious goals, and sometimes it's tough to meet them. We plan to train for a 5K, or get the basement cleared out, or write a rough draft of a novel by the end of the year. Then, we fail to make progress, it's easy to get discouraged and accuse ourselves of laziness.

    Remember, any progress is better than no progress! You may not have finished a full draft, but you have an outline of your novel. You haven't switched careers yet, but you've started thinking about next steps.

    Some people find it helpful to keep a ta-da list. A to-do list reminds you of what you need to get done; a ta-da list reminds you of all you've accomplished already. A ta-da list can be a tremendous source of energy and reassurance.

    5. Consider your Tendency.

    Often, when we fail to make progress, it's because we haven't taken our Tendency into account. For instance, if you're an Obliger, you must have outer accountability. You must! That's what works for Obligers! If you see that a particular form of outer accountability isn't working, trying a different form. If paying for a trainer doesn't get you to go to the gym, try working out with a friend who's very annoyed when you don't show up. If that doesn't work, teach a class. If that doesn't work, think of your duty to be a role model for someone else. If that doesn't work, join a group on the Better app where you tell each other, "I'm counting on you to count on me. If none of us hold each other accountable, none of us will succeed."

    If you're a Rebel, don't try to lock yourself into a to-do list or a schedule. That often doesn't work for a Rebel. Think about what you want, and how you want to live up to your identity.

    If you're a Questioner, really examine your reasons. Why are you doing this, in this way? Is it the best, most efficient way, and is it tailored to suit you specifically? When Questioners struggle, it's usually because they're fundamentally unconvinced by whatever they're trying to do.

    If you don't know your Tendency—whether you're an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or Rebel—you can take the free, quick quiz here.

    6. Are you giving yourself healthy treats?

    When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves. If you're asking a lot of yourself these days, make sure you're helping yourself feel energized and cared for by giving yourself healthy treats, whatever that might be for you. For me, it's reading children's literature.

    But make sure these are healthy treats. You don't want to try to make yourself feel better by indulging in something (wine, impulse purchases, sweets, messiness) that will make you feel worse in the end.

    7. Remember, it's easier to keep up than to catch up.

    Sometimes, when we're creating a healthy habit or practice, we need to catch up. We need to clear out a lot of clutter before we can maintain good order. We need to adjust to life without the morning doughnut. This is hard, but remember that once we're caught up or accustomed to a new way, it gets easier. It may take a few tries to get over the initial hurdle, but remember that the situation will get easier once it's more ingrained.

     

    Stay the course! Don't give up! My book Better Than Before examines the 21 strategies that we can use to make or break our habits, and one of the most helpful strategies is the Strategy of Safeguards. It's all about how to anticipate challenges, and how to deal with it when we run into trouble.

    It's a very common frustration.

    Have you found any great ways to stay on course, even when you feel as if you're falling behind?

     
  • feedwordpress 20:12:25 on 2016/10/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , event, , habit, , , , , , , , Seattle, , teachers, , , ,   

    Podcast 87: Live From Seattle! Pick Your “Happiness 911” Song, Deep Dive into Manifestos, an Interview with Chris Guillebeau, and More on the Four Tendencies. 


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    Happier with Gretchen LIVE in Seattle

    It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.1pix

    This episode was recorded live! Elizabeth and I were at Town Hall in Seattle on October 13. We had such a great time. Thanks to everyone who came.  Elizabeth and I had fun doing a live video on Facebook before the show. If you want to see what everything looked like, watch here.

    Elizabeth mentions the Seattle-based  novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.

    podcastliveeventseattleegkristenTry This at Home: Identify your “Happiness 911” song. Please send us your Happiness 911 song! Email your choice here. We’re making a Spotify playlist, so we can all listen to everyone’s choices. You can find the Spotify list here or on your smart-phone app, you can find the playlist by searching “happierwithgretchenrubin” (one word).

    Deep Dive: We take a closer look at manifestos. We talked about this in episode 76, and we’ve received so many great ones. (By the way, Adam loved Elizabeth’s Marriage Manifesto.)

    podcastliveeventseattleegchrisInterview: Chris Guillebeau. His latest book is Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do.

     

    Happiness Stumbling Blocks for the Four Tendencies. If you want to take a quiz for the Four Tendencies, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

    If you want to know when my new book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves, sign up here.

    Happiness Hack Speed Round: We took happiness hacks from the audience. So many great ideas packed into a short time — thanks, everyone.

    coloringbookhappinessprojectrubinIf you’d like to get my coloring book, you can pre-order one here. One of our audience members mentions the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth started using Candy Crush again.

    Gretchen’s  Gold Star: Contact lenses!

    Click here to get the Wedding Readings PDF now

    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 about the podcast. 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, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 25% off window treatments and a free in-home design consultation.

    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 toHappier 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 87: Live From Seattle! Pick Your “Happiness 911” Song, Deep Dive into Manifestos, an Interview with Chris Guillebeau, and More on the Four Tendencies. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:15:52 on 2016/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , habit, , plans, , , , , ,   

    Podcast 67: Design Your Summer, a Deep-Dive into the Emotionally Charged Issue of Thank-You Notes, and Mother-in-Law Woes. 


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    happier-podcast-mockup1

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

    Update: Elizabeth says, “Everything Sarah and I have touched in the last six months has turned to ashes.” Hollywood! It’s a tough place to work.

    Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern.

    Also, for our next Very Special Episode, let us know: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? For work, love, parenting, life…what really made the difference? Email us at podcast @ gretchenrubin .com, comment below, or best of all, call us. We’d love to hear your voice as you tell the story.  (77 HAPPY 336).

    Try This at Home: Design your summer.  I’m so excited about my plans for the summer!

    Deep Dive/Deluge: Back to the emotionally charged issue of…thank-you notes! We talked about this issue in episode 63. (What name do you like better?) If you want to see my stationery watch this Facebook Live video, around minute 3:45, where I show it off.

    Listener Questioner: Anna asks how to deal with a mother-in-law who wants to spend too much time with her and her husband.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth did the dreaded “partial move.” We’ve all done it!1pix

     calendaronfridgeGretchen’s Gold Star: I give myself a gold star for making a count-down calendar for Eliza, as she sprints toward the finish line of her junior year — and Eleanor liked it so much, we made one for her, too.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

    And check out BlueApron.comWish you cooked more? Get all the delicious, fresh ingredients you need to make great meals, delivered to your front door. Check out BlueApron.com/happier to get your first two meals free.

    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 toHappier 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 67: Design Your Summer, a Deep-Dive into the Emotionally Charged Issue of Thank-You Notes, and Mother-in-Law Woes. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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