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  • gretchenrubin 18:33:46 on 2017/07/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , Health, fitness, and weight, , perfectionism,   

    Podcast 126: Look for an Under-Used Area of Your Home, Dealing with Perfectionism, and Clear Instructions about How to Rate and Review a Podcast. 

    Happier Podcast Gretchen Rubin

    Update:  Congratulations to Elizabeth and Sarah, who are about to hit a milestone for their podcast “Happier in Hollywood” — tomorrow is their tenth episode. Teaser: in that episode, they interview the brilliant host of “Side Hustle School,Chris Guillebeau. Who is a Rebel, if you’re curious.

    Try This at Home: Look for an under-used area of your home. Create your own “nook” like my daughter Eleanor or a “Cozy Club” like Elizabeth and Emilie. We mention the try-this-at-home tip from episode 72, of having room of your own.

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    gretchen rubin

    **Stay tuned for the promised photos of the Cozy Corner — I thought our mother had the photo, but in her own recent efforts to clear space, she sent the photo to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth needs to find it. So hope to update with that soon!

    Happiness Hack: When listener Korrine realized that she often cut her laps short when she was walking a one-mile loop, she switched to walking around a lake in a 2.7 mile circuit — no way to cut it short. She’s using several of the habit-formation strategies that I discuss in Better Than Before.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: Perfectionism — a very common stumbling block.

    If you want to read more about satisficers and maximizers, read here.

    Send in your anti-perfectionist mantras! Here are some good ones:

    • “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
    • “Sometimes there are many right choices.”
    • “Don’t get it perfect, get it going.”
    • “There’s no wrong answer here.”
    • “Don’t spend your time rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
    • “Enjoy the fun of failure.” (I write about this last one in The Happiness Project.)

     

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth gives herself a demerit for not rating or reviewing other podcasts — even though we ask for people to rate and review our podcast all the time. She (and I) simply didn’t know how to do it. Turns out that it’s easy! For written directions, scroll down here.

    1pixgretchen rubin recording podcast

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: In related news, I give a gold star to all the listeners who have so generously rated and reviewed us already. We so appreciate it — it really does help new listeners discover the show.


    Three 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 these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.
    2. I’ve announced my book tour schedule, and I’d love to see a lot of “Happier” listeners at events. Info here.
    3. If you want to pre-order my book The Four Tendencies (and it’s a big help to me, if you do), go here.

    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 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.

    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 Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 126: Look for an Under-Used Area of Your Home, Dealing with Perfectionism, and Clear Instructions about How to Rate and Review a Podcast. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:27:09 on 2017/07/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Health, fitness, and weight, , rebel,   

    How a Health Coach Harnessed Her Rebel Tendency to Lose 40 Pounds and Boost Her Energy. 

    I love hearing how people put the Four Tendencies framework to work — whether by using knowledge of their Tendency to improve their own lives, or to work more effectively with other people.

    Recently, I got an email from Nagina Abdullah, health coach and founder of MasalaBody.com. She listens to the “Happier” podcast, and she told me about how she was able to eat more healthfully, lose weight, and boost her energy by harnessing the strengths of her Rebel Tendency.

    This story was particularly interesting to me, because — as Rebels themselves often point out — the strategies that work for other Tendencies often don’t work for Rebels.

    So I was fascinated to hear her story, and she wrote an account of it to share — which is below, with my comments in brackets.

    Nagina writes:

    When I was a kid, I got sent to the principal’s office on a weekly basis. While my teachers would ask the students to be quiet and obedient, I would end up in laughing fits and get sent to the principals’ office to get disciplined.

    I struggled with following expectations for my whole life. As a child, I resisted my teachers’ rules. As I got older, I resisted being healthier.

    See, I love food. I love sweets, fried food, food trucks, BBQs – everything that isn’t good for my waistline. I ALSO resist following the rules of having to be strict to get healthy.

    My tendencies finally made sense when I took Gretchen’s Four Tendencies Quiz. I wanted to see if I was an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or Rebel.

    I wasn’t surprised when I scored as a “Rebel.” Rebels resist outer and inner expectations.

    After decades of being addicted to sugar and feeling unable to control my cravings, I embraced my Rebel tendencies. As result, I lost 40 pounds, skyrocketed my energy and started wearing the clothes I had dreamed of wearing.

    Before and after - Story of a Rebel mom

    The “Healthy Rules” I Did Not Want to Follow

    After having two kids and working 60+ hour weeks, I felt exhausted and overweight, more than ever before. I needed to get healthier to feel better and have more energy for my kids.

    I didn’t want to deprive myself of food I loved and I didn’t have time to spend hours in the gym.

    Here are the rules to getting healthier I would regularly hear:

    • “You have to count calories, points, crumbs, licks, and drops”
    • “You must exercise 3+ days a week”
    • “No eating cupcakes, donuts, and everything else you love”

    Even though I wanted to get healthier, I resisted restrictive rules like these.

    This led to a lot of internal frustration, yo-yo dieting, announcing “It isn’t worth it!” and “Why is this so hard for ME?” [Rebels often get frustrated when they try to use the same techniques that work for other Tendencies.]

    Even if I wanted to be healthier, I couldn’t even follow my OWN rules.  [Rebels resist outer and inner expectations.]

    Would I ever change my habits to get healthier when I kept rebelling against the rules?

    I finally got my dream body when (only when) I broke the rules.

    Here’s how I broke the rules to lose 40 pounds and keep it off for now over six years.

    Above All I Wanted to Be a “Rebel Mom”

    Being a mom is the greatest gift, but I feared I would be overweight, exhausted and put myself last in the name of my kids, which is the stereotype of a mom I held.

    That’s when I decided to be a REBEL MOM and break through the stereotype.

    Here’s my vision of being the mom I wanted to be:

    • Feel confident in a bathing suit so I could swim and play in the sand with my kids
    • Run 5k’s with my kids and set healthy examples for them
    • Feel sexy around my husband
    • Go rollerblading, biking, ice skating, roller skating, skiing, snowboarding and more with my family and feel strong and agile as I am doing it

     

    Having a goal of a “Rebel Mom” inspired me to be healthier.  [Rebels want to express their identity; they want to live in accordance with their authentic self; they can do anything they choose to do, in order to be the kind of person they choose to be.]

    3 Rules I Broke to Get My Dream Body

    I started by eating healthy, because I found that it is the most impactful thing to do. But I needed to make eating healthy enjoyable and realistic for my life and family, and that’s when I realized there were three rules I had to break. [Rebels do well to focus on enjoyment. They also often enjoy breaking rules or achieving aims in unconventional ways.]

    Rule 1: “You need to eat healthy every day to lose weight.”

    How I break Rule 1:

    I have one “Cheat Day” a week where I eat everything I want, so I always get a “break” from the rules and have something to look forward to. A Cheat Day is KEY to losing weight if you hate following those strict diet rules. [As an Upholder and an Abstainer and a very low-carb eater, this would not work for me — but it works for Nagina.]

    Rule 2: “You have to eat boring food in tiny portions so you feel like you are starving to lose even 5 pounds.”

    How I break Rule 2:

    Instead of making my food flavorful with heavy sauces and creams, I use spices and herbs that pack in the flavor and have natural health benefits (like anti-inflammation and reduced water retention). I feel like I’m “cheating” and indulging even though I’m actually eating healthy.

    I love to add a pinch of cinnamon (lowers your blood sugar) in my morning coffee because it tastes so delicious. [Again, the focus on pleasure and choice.]

    Rule 3: “You are “supposed” to eat healthy.”

    How I break Rule 3:

    Remember the last time you were at an airport? Temptations at every turn, with most people indulging in them? It’s HARDER to eat healthy than not!

    As a result of eating healthy, I feel in control of myself, and feel like I’m rebelling against the “norms” of society. [Rebels often benefit from reminding themselves, “I’m not going to be trapped by a sugar addiction. These big companies can’t control me with their fancy marketing campaigns and crinkly packages. I’m strong, they can’t make me eat their junk.” Rebels also often love a challenge: “Most people can’t resist the goodies in an airport, mall, or store, but for me, it’s not a problem.”]

     What you can do to get healthier:

    If you resist outer and/or inner expectations (Rebels resist both, and Questioners and Obligers resist one or the other), and/or you have found it challenging to get healthier, try to BREAK some of the traditional rules by using one of the methods that worked for me:

    1. What’s a stereotype you would break by getting healthier? Embrace that and make it your goal.
    2. Include one cheat day a week and eat whatever you want on those days, while staying healthy on the other days. [Very effective for some people! Not effective for others! Know yourself.]
    3. Add herbs and spices to your foods to make it taste indulgent without the extra calories.
    4. Resist the unhealthy temptations around you and feel in control of yourself.

    To help you, I have a special gift for Gretchen Rubin readers. I would like to send you my three spiced late-night snacks to banish your sugar cravings forever AND a bonus recipe e-book, “7 Spicy Recipes to Help You Lose Your First 7 Pounds.” You can get these here.


    What I love about Nagina’s account is how carefully she examined what works for her, what she wants, and figured out her own way to get there.

    By embracing her Rebel Tendency, she was able to get the benefit of its enormous strengths. By contrast, when Rebels think they “should” be able to use techniques like to-do lists, scheduling, monitoring, or accountability, they often get very frustrated with themselves.

    There’s no one “right” way, no one “best” way — only what works for you.

    The post How a Health Coach Harnessed Her Rebel Tendency to Lose 40 Pounds and Boost Her Energy. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:08:33 on 2017/06/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Health, fitness, and weight, , ,   

    A Fitness Trainer Explains How She Uses the Four Tendencies to Help Her Clients to Succeed. 

    My book The Four Tendencies is coming out in September, and I’m very excited to have my full theory of this personality framework out into the world.

    Of course, I’ve been writing and talking about it (perhaps obsessively?) ever since Better Than Before came out.

    I love to see how other people apply the Four Tendencies in different contexts, so I was thrilled to read this post “Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies…and Fitness!” by Rachel Trotta  on her blog, where she writes about managing nutrition, exercise, and general health. She’s a personal trainer in New York City whose main focus is helping women reach an optimal weight, build strength, and develop a healthier relationship with food.

    Given her area of expertise, I was fascinated and thrilled to see that the Four Tendencies works well for her clients. I have my theories about how to use the Four Tendencies, but the true test is how the theory works when it’s actually put into practice by other people.

    (Don’t know anything about the Four Tendencies? Read a quick overview and take the quiz here, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.)

    I found her post so interesting that I asked her permission to re-post the whole thing:

    Rachel writes:

    Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies… and Fitness!

    The Four Tendencies

    Do you make fitness resolutions over and over, only to see your efforts fizzle out? 

    Do you buy tons of tupperware for meal prep, but never cook the meals? 

    Do you struggle with weight loss setbacks like vacations or special occasions? 

    Do you feel motivated, but your behavior doesn’t match your intentions? 

    As a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, I often have to ask myself the same questions about my clients – why do some people thrive and see amazing results, while others stall out and have difficulty getting ahead?

    Several months ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before, and immediately some of my questions were answered. She describes the “Four Tendencies” as being the way that people respond to inner and outer expectations. As she says on her website, “Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.” I wholeheartedly agree.

    Her “Four Tendencies” are:

    • Upholder – meets BOTH inner and outer expectations
    • Obliger – meets outer expectations but RESISTS inner expectations
    • Rebel – resists BOTH inner and outer expectations
    • Questioner – meets inner expectations but RESISTS outer expectations

    You can take the quiz (and see a helpful visual graphic) to figure out your tendency HERE, on Gretchen Rubin’s website!

    Why did this book change my perspective so much, and why do I recommend it to my clients now? 

    Understanding how you are motivated will give you the key to unlock your personal fitness journey, because different things work for different people. We’re all motivated in unique ways. Using the “Four Tendencies” as a framework in my professional work has helped me to treat clients as individuals driven by varying internal and external forces, as well as to develop more empathy for people who struggle to make positive changes.

    Now, I understand much better why some clients struggle to see progress, and I know better how to provide the specific structure that they need to succeed.

    The Importance of Adherence

    The reason that knowing your Tendency is so crucial is that adherence is the primary driver of results, especially when it comes to health and fitness practices.

    The same practical biology applies to all people in developing athletic goals. Weight loss, for example, boils down to a calories-in-calories-out endeavor, regardless of your personality or metabolism. Running your first half-marathon requires a structured training plan that is pretty much the same for everyone, most of the time. Lowering your blood sugar levels only happens by improving your diet, regardless of whether you are Paleo or vegan.

    The magic, however, of any diet or exercise plan is sticking with it. Otherwise, no matter how excellent or sensible the plan is, you won’t see results. Going low-carb or “slow-carb,” for example, only works if you actually implement the diet over a very long period of time.

    Adherence is the biggest obstacle to fitness goals for most people, including my clients. Understanding your personality and your “Tendency” – whether you are an “Upholder,” “Obliger,” “Rebel,” or “Questioner” – can help you choose wellness strategies that fit your motivational framework and improve your chances of adherence. Remember, adherence equals results. If you are a “Rebel” and you pick a mode of fitness that would better fit an “Obliger,” you are setting yourself up for failure, because you will have difficulty adhering!

    I’m going to go through each “Tendency” individually, and discuss my interpretation of the fitness implications of each personality type. I will include weaknesses, strengths, and suggested strategies for tweaking your routines to increase the likelihood of success! If you haven’t taken Gretchen Rubin’s quiz, take it now!

    Upholder

    For my few “Upholder” clients, literally any plan or structure works. These clients often quickly wean off of in-person training to become remote clients, because all they need (after a few months of improving form) is the instructions via e-mail. Once their workout is in a Google Sheet and they can track their own progress with periodic check-ins from me, they’re good to go! The intrinsic motivation is so powerful and their response to outer expectations is so strong, that they can accomplish amazing feats apparently all on their own, with just a little guidance.

    One of my clients recovered from a broken foot and ran a fast half marathon in four months with only a few in-person meetings – the rest of her sessions were completed on her own, using a Google Sheet as structure for the training plan. Since then, she has run three more half marathons with no in-person meetings at all. She is now training for the New York City Marathon. She is a classic “Upholder,” and meets both inner and outer expectations easily. When she participated in one of my nutrition coaching groups, she – unsurprisingly – had very good results and lost some extra weight with no problem.

    The strength of the “Upholder” is independence and self-efficacy. “Upholders” are also very good at sticking to a plan exactly as written and following instructions perfectly, which is also a recipe for good results. While “Upholders” are not exempt from the normal problems of motivation (they still benefit from group support and cues like leaving their gym clothes out for the morning), they respond excellently to a sense of internal drive as well, and can seem to have very good willpower.

    The weakness of the “Upholder” can be a perfectionistic attitude and overly-high expectations. If you are an “Upholder,” I recommend that your first tactic be developing “unconditional positive regard” for yourself. Then, focus more on actions than on outcomes. Keep doing the work, without getting caught up in the future or the past. Finally, take advantage of your ability to handle a lot of information, and make sure you have a structured workout plan! There are plenty that you can download online, and I also recommend getting a friend or trainer to work out with you, just for that outward nudge of external expectations.

    Obliger

    I read Better than Before during one of my first nutrition coaching groups, and I was so intrigued by the idea of the “Four Tendencies” that I immediately e-mailed several of my clients to get their thoughts on their own “Tendency.”

    I sent one of my clients the visual representation of the “Four Tendencies,” and she immediately e-mailed me back a two-sentence e-mail: “Obliger! 100%.” This fit my impression of her, because she had had great difficulty in losing weight in her 30’s, and nothing had ever worked for her… until she joined my nutrition coaching group. The constant e-mails, the Facebook group where support could be shared, and the one-on-one nutritional coaching finally represented the external expectations that she truly needed to adhere to a plan, and she lost weight.

    Even though she wanted to lose weight, and was motivated to get healthier, she simply could not do it on her own. This is a key component of “Obligers,” in my opinion – they want it. Desperately. It is not an issue of motivation – it is a question of meeting expectations. And until someone else provides the expectations and support, the “Obliger” will not stick to a plan or make progress independently, because they do not respond to their own internal motivation. 

    “Obligers” need workout buddies, personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other external motivators. They need someone holding them accountable in real-time. Their strength is that once they have the slight pressure of an external source of expectation, most “Obligers” do a marvelous job of adhering to a program. They are loyal, flexible, consistent, supportive of others, and often learn to genuinely love practicing sound exercise and nutrition principles (even though they may not be able to do it on their own consistently).

    The weakness of the “Obliger” is vacations, business trips, and family pressure – in other words, any time the external pressure to exercise or eat well is removed (or replaced by a less positive influence). My “Obliger” clients often experience setbacks on holidays or trips, because they lack an internal compass of self-powered adherence. This is especially pronounced in situations where there may be negative social pressure to overeat or be sedentary – they are almost helpless to resist the influence of others, and need continued support (check-ins, e-mails, Skype sessions, etc.) while on trips or on holidays.

    If you are an “Obliger,” I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a personal trainer, joining a fitness or weight loss challenge at your gym, or participating in a nutrition support group like Weight Watchers or one of my nutrition coaching groups. Any support at all will help you access the love for exercise and eating well that you truly have deep inside!

    Rebel

    Ah, the Rebel. This is often the hardest type of client to identify, as far as I’m concerned. Why? When you hear the word “Rebel,” you picture someone really, really tough, with rough edges and an attitude. However, “Rebels” – in the sense of the “Four Tendencies” – aren’t usually wearing leather jackets or nose rings.

    Instead, “Rebels” often present as “Obligers” – they are discouraged, have “tried everything,” never sees results, and need help.  However, the difference between “Rebels” and “Obligers” rises quickly to the surface, because an “Obliger” will follow an exercise or nutrition plan pretty accurately if you support, while a “Rebel” will inexplicably – and frequently – fall off the wagon, even if you support them.

    This is because “Rebels” resist both inner and outer expectations. They not only lack internal motivation – they also do not respond to your coaching, and check-ins may actually irritate them. My experience as a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist is also that “Rebels” rarely have access to that important, inherent love of healthy habits that “Obligers” can eventually stir up through consistency and habit.

    What I have learned over time is that “Rebels” thrive on novelty, unconventionality, extremes, and anti-orthodoxy. “Rebels” who don’t love exercise do love powerlifting (or long-distance running, or hot yoga, or kettlebell training). “Rebels” who hate dieting love – and can stick to – raw veganism (or the Paleo method, or the ketogenic diet, or intermittent fasting). They love the ideas that run counter to traditional health and fitness wisdom, and they thrive on practices that set them apart from others. One of my classic “Rebel” clients was a whole-foods-only, vegan, ketogenic diet adherent. I did not impose this diet on her, and I cannot imagine that it was easy to maintain, but she thrived on the unconventionality and creativity of this lifestyle.

    The potential challenge of “Rebels” is (1) finding something that works before you get so discouraged that you completely give up, and (2) not spinning your wheels with absurd or counterproductive – but trendy – diet protocols. If you work with a “Rebel” client, I want to share the main concept that I have learned: you, the coach, need to let go of your pre-conceived notions about “what works” and help the “Rebel” stick with what works for them. They may, ironically, resist your coaching, and it’s your responsibility to help steer and guide them into a plan that they can adhere to long-term, and the only time you should curb their tendencies to anti-orthodoxy is when their diet or exercise plan is truly harmful.

    If you are a “Rebel,” all I can say is this: find something you love and that makes you feel good, and don’t let other people pressure you. Be your unique, creative, and unorthodox self in the world of fitness and health, and you will be an inspiration to other “Rebels” around you!

    Questioner

    Questioners” respond well to inner expectations but tend to resist outer expectations – that means that a diet or exercise plan needs to (1) make sense to them, (2) be fundamentally in alignment with their principles and intuition, and (3) be sufficiently flexible that they can control it and modify it themselves.

    A “Questioner” may present like an “Upholder,” because of how independent they can be, but the main difference that I have experienced with both clients and myself (I am definitely a “Questioner”) is that “Upholders” are fantastic at following instructions down to the tiniest detail, while “Questioners” are extremely consistent overall while taking liberties with small adjustments and tweaks. They are confident in their personal goals, ask a lot of questions if they work with a trainer, but are not motivated to work on things that are not central to their goals. This can be frustrating for personal trainers.

    My “Questioner” clients, for example, can have a bumpy road to weight loss goals, because they don’t follow instructions about nutrition if they do not perceive nutrition to be an important component of weight loss. However, once they have “locked on” to the importance of moderating their eating, they experience fantastic success.

    One of my clients was very motivated by running in particular (and was training for her first half marathon), and did not need check-ins or external help in completing running assignments on her own outside of sessions. She also was excellent at making slight changes in her lifestyle to prioritize and accommodate running. However, she resisted moderating her diet for quite some time. She did not (would not, in fact) consistently track food, and did not realize the importance of diet until she had difficulty zipping up her jeans a month or two into our program together. At that point, it “clicked” that long-distance running alone would not help her manage her weight. Although she did not ever transition to tracking her food or following specific nutritional plans, she did become more aware of a few key eating principles and transformed her diet in a way that made sense to her.

    If you are a “Questioner,” this is my word of caution: don’t get too caught up in finding the “right” plan for you. Pick something, stick with it, and make the modifications you need, but remember that adherence is key!

    Universal Truths

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by figuring out your “Tendency,” keep it simple and remember that the following maxims apply to most people:

    • Consistency is better than intensity
    • Almost anything works if you stick with it

    Self-understanding can simply help you along the path.

    Rachel’s insights are terrific. I love learning about how different people interpret and apply the Four Tendencies, so if you have examples from your own experience (as a professor, doctor, sweetheart, sibling, employee, etc.), let me know!

    The post A Fitness Trainer Explains How She Uses the Four Tendencies to Help Her Clients to Succeed. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 18:11:20 on 2017/06/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Health, fitness, and weight, , , ,   

    Podcast 122: Tackle a “Power Day,” People Who Question Your Good Habits, and What’s Your Advice about College-Bound Children? 

    Update: The September book tour for The Four Tendencies is set! I’ll be going to New York City (obviously), Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  I hope to see you there — please come, bring friends. Info is here.

    Try This at Home: Tackle a “Power Day.” In episode 6, we discussed a “Power Hour.”

    Are you wondering if you’re a Rebel? Take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Happiness Hack: Jen explains why having a two-person book group has made her happy. (I love one of their reading choices, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.)

     Happiness Stumbling Block: Kelly’s in-laws discourage her from eating the way she likes to eat.

    I mention several strategies of habit change from my book Better Than Before.

    If you’d like to know what a low-carb zealot like me eats every day, here’s the post.

    Listener Question: This week, I have a question for listeners. My daughter Eliza is starting college in the fall, and I would love insights, suggestions, experiences, and advice about dealing with a child going off to college. This is a big transition, so I would love to hear people’s ideas.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth gives herself a demerit for lamenting the end of the first grade for Jack.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: How I love the waterfall in the ravine of the North Woods of Central Park.

    Two Resources:

    1. Follow me on LinkedIn — just go to happiercast.com/linkedin.

    2. In just 21 days, you really can take steps to make your life happier—without spending a lot of time, energy, or money. I’ve created four premium 21 Day Happiness Projects for you to follow, if you want to tackle one of these common happiness challenges. Or buy the Omnibus, to get them all. Find out more by clicking on the links below.

     

    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.

     

    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 Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 122: Tackle a “Power Day,” People Who Question Your Good Habits, and What’s Your Advice about College-Bound Children? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 18:07:04 on 2017/06/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Health, fitness, and weight, , , , ,   

    Podcast 120: Very Special Episode of Listener Questions about the Four Tendencies. 

    Update: Congratulations to our beloved producer, Kristen Meinzer — her hilarious, addictive podcast By the Book got picked up! She and her co-host comedian Jolenta Greenberg choose a different popular self-help book and report what it’s like to live “by the book” — for their pilot, they lived by The Secret, next up, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Check it out, subscribe!

    Every tenth episode, we do a “Very Special Episode” that’s different from our usual structure. For this VSE, we discuss listener questions about the Four Tendencies.

    Want to take the Quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? It’s here.

    Want to listen to the episodes dedicated to each Tendency?

    Upholder is episode 35 — “Are you like Gretchen and Hermione?”

    Questioner is episode 36 — “Do you always ask why?”

    Obliger is episode 37 — “Can you meet a work deadline, but can’t go running on your own?

    Rebel is episode 38 — “Do you hate being told what to do?” Note: we weren’t able to interview a Rebel as part of that episode; if you want to hear from a Rebel, check out this interview with the brilliant Chris Guillebeau (bestselling author and host of the podcast Side Hustle School) about his perspective as a Rebel. Start listening at 25:15.

    My book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves in September. As I mention (often!), if you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it. Pre-orders build buzz among booksellers, the media, and other readers; it makes a very big difference to the fate of a book.

    Questions we discuss in this episode:

    “How can a doctor quickly figure out someone’s Tendency?”

    “How can I as an Upholder parent better understand my Rebel child?”

    “I’m an Obliger who works for a Questioner. How can I feel less frustration?”

    “As a Rebel, how can I tell myself to eat healthfully and exercise?”

    “I’m an Obliger, and I’m resisting the new office policy that we show a badge. Is this Obliger-rebellion?”

    “An Obliger friend keeps busting through her budget — because she owes it to other people to spend. What’s up?”

    “I’ve realized that my Obliger Tendency is affecting my dating life, for instance, by being too accommodating. How do I create a balance?”

    If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies, and want to join the lively discussion on the Better app, sign up! It’s free. You can start or join an accountability group (Obligers, I know many of you want to do that), ask questions, have discussions about your own Tendency or dealing with someone else’s Tendency.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth wanted to start hiking on the weekends with friends; it hasn’t happened.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: Gold star to everyone who has provided me with their perspectives, examples, and questions about the Four Tendencies. I have a lot more insight into other people — and myself.

     

    Resources related to the FourTendencies:

    1.  Try the Better app — it’s free, fun, and informative.
    2.  Take the Quiz to learn your Tendency.
    3. Buy a Tendency mug — complete with the Tendency’s motto! So fun. (Scroll down.)

    1pix

    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 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.

    Also check out Audible. Audible has an unmatched selection of audio-books, original audio shows, news, comedy, and more. Get a free audio-book, with a thirty-day trial, by going to audible.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 Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 120: Very Special Episode of Listener Questions about the Four Tendencies. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 15:08:53 on 2017/04/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , Health, fitness, and weight, , , , , Sherry Lansing,   

    Podcast 114: Say “I’m Sorry,” an Interview with Hollywood Legend Sherry Lansing, and a Spice-Related Hack. 

    Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches on May 18! Also, I just finished first-pass pages for my book The Four Tendencies, which 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.)

    We read from Dani Shapiro’s memoir Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.

    Try This at Home: Say you’re sorry. We mention two books: Aaron Lazare’s On Apology and Gary Chapman’s The Five Languages of Apology, which argues that there are five “languages” of apology:

    • Expressing regret — “I’m sorry”
    • Accepting responsibility — “I was wrong”
    • Making restitution — “What can I do to make it right?”
    • Genuinely repenting — “I’ll try not to do that again”
    • Requesting forgiveness — “Will you please forgive me?”

     

    You can find the website SorryWatch here.

    Happiness Hack: If you want to collect a memento when traveling, buy spices. If you’re looking for the site about reading books related to travel destinations, it’s Longitude Books: Recommended Reading for Travelers.

    Interview: Sherry Lansing. Check out Stephen Galloway‘s biography, Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker. Gosh, she is really a wise person.

    In the photo, you can see me holding up the book about Sherry Lansing — also note that I’m wearing the “HAPPY” sweater that Elizabeth gave me for Christmas.

    Demerit:  Elizabeth was working at home, and she covered four miles on the treadmill on the first day — but then she didn’t exercise again.

    Gold Star: I give a gold star to Elizabeth for dealing with her blepharitis. I write about the Strategy of Convenience in my book about habits, Better Than Before.

    New feature: Each week, at the end of the podcast, I list “Two Resources for You.”

    1. To get my monthly newsletter, text 66866, in the message box, enter “happier,” and when you get a text back, enter your email address. I’ll sign you up.
    2. To get the manifestos, just email me and I’ll send them off to you.

    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 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 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 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.

    Also 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.

    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 114: Say “I’m Sorry,” an Interview with Hollywood Legend Sherry Lansing, and a Spice-Related Hack. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 13:00:17 on 2017/04/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , free, , , Health, fitness, and weight, , , , , , , , , , tools, , ,   

    Big Announcement: the “Better” App Is Now Free to Use! 

    My obsession with my Four Tendencies framework is just as strong as ever.

    Ever since I first came up with the Four Tendencies framework, I’ve grown more and more interested in it — and more and more people keep asking me questions about it. (Don’t know about the framework? Don’t know if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Take the quiz here.)

    People want information about the Four Tendencies, and they also want help — they email because they’re eager to join an accountability group, they want to work with a coach who understands the Tendencies, they want to apply the framework with their medical patients or as a manager at work or with their coaching clients. And I hear from a lot of parents who want to use the Tendencies (especially parents of Rebels).

    I’m finishing up my book The Four Tendencies (sign up here to hear when it goes on sale in fall 2017), but I also wanted a way for people to exchange ideas and questions. I’ve been staggered by people’s brilliant insights, imaginative solutions, and compelling examples. Henry James couldn’t do better.

    So I created the app Better, an app to help you harness the Four Tendencies framework to create a better life. You can use it as an app on your phone, or you can use it on your desktop.

    Since launch, there has been so much fascinating, helpful discussion on the Better app. It’s exciting to see how everyone puts the Four Tendencies into action – at home, at work, in health, and in life.

    I can hardly drag myself away from reading the comments and posts.

    When it launched, there was a $9.99 monthly charge for the app, but as publication of The Four Tendencies drew nearer, I started to think about how the app experience would be better and better (sorry, couldn’t resist that) as more people contributed.

    And I knew that for some people, a fee is a barrier.

    So I decided to make the Better app free for anyone who wants to join. The more, the better, for all of us.

    If you know people who would be interested, or who would benefit from the discussions here, or want to start or join Accountability Groups, please let them know they now can join for free.

    I hope this change makes your life a little better!

    The post Big Announcement: the “Better” App Is Now Free to Use! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:16 on 2017/03/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Health, fitness, and weight, , , 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 00:19:31 on 2017/03/03 Permalink
    Tags: Alan Burdick, , , , Health, fitness, and weight, , , , , ,   

    “My Laptop Is My Friend and My Enemy.” 

    Alan Burdick

    Interview: Alan Burdick.

    I’m fascinated by time, and our perception of time. Of everything I’ve ever written, I think this one-minute video, “The days are long, but the years are short,” is the thing that resonates most with people.

    So I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Alan Burdick’s new book, Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation. It’s a fascinating, mind-blowing look at the curious qualities of time — how we understand it, how it affects our bodies, how it’s both an objective measurement and a subjective experience.

    I just started this book yesterday, and I’m racing through it — it’s just my kind of book. What happens when a person lives in a cave, cut off from any light? Why does time seem to pass more quickly, the older we get? How is it possible that many people (like Alan himself) often wake up at exactly the same minute every morning? How can the years seem so short, and the days feel so long? And so on.

    Alan is a staff writer and former senior editor at The New Yorker, and his writing has appeared in magazines from Discover to Harper’s to GQ. His book Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion was a National Book Award finalist. So he’s a great writer to tackle such an immense and thought-provoking subject.

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

    Alan: Until I began working on Why Time Flies, I hadn’t realized how deeply time is embedded in us. Each of our cells is basically a clock that beats out a firm twenty-four-hour rhythm; together these form bigger clocks — the liver, the kidneys — that also keep a twenty-four rhythm, and as group they’re responsible for running our physiology. Basically, the sum of me, and you, is a clock, and respecting its rhythm is essential to one’s health. So, for instance, I’ve stopped eating late at night, as that’s the least efficient time of day to metabolize food. And I try to get outside for at least a few minutes every morning, because exposure to daylight at that time of day ultimately helps me sleep better. It’s a matter of listening to the clock that is me.

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

    Running — it’s good exercise, of course, but it also clears my mind. I’ve been a runner since forever, and now that my kids are old enough, we can all go to the track in the afternoon or on a weekend and run around it together, I love it.

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

    That having and keeping a schedule can be liberating. I used to hate the idea of planning out my day, with certain hours set aside for writing, errands, and whatever else; it felt confining. But that sort of planning actually relieves me of the stress of deciding what to do next – which, in my case, can fill up way more time than it should. So once I’ve blocked out my day, I can actually relax into each block of time a little more, because I don’t have to spend any of that time thinking about what needs to happen in the next period.

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

    Procrastination; I put stuff off, although I’m much better than I used to be. Some years ago I read Neil Fiore’s The Now Habit, and that made a difference. I realized that, for me at least, procrastination is often a way of avoiding making a decision – and simply acknowledging that is the first step toward actually making whatever decision needs to be made. I also make a lot of lists now; by writing down all the things I need to do, I remove the distraction of trying to juggle all that stuff in my head. Plus I have the satisfaction of crossing something off a list.

    Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

    One of the healthiest things I can do for myself is to wake up early, at maybe 5 a.m., and put in a couple of hours of writing before our kids get up. That’s the most productive window of my day. But I’m just not a natural early-riser; it’s so hard to get out of bed at that hour! Often, instead, I do the opposite: stay up really late and write until 1 or 2 a.m. That’s also a productive window for me – but it’s exhausting and it makes my next day start late. The key to my establishing the habit of getting up early is to avoid the temptation to go back to work at night after the kids have gone to bed. Like me, my wife is a journalist and writer, and it can be hard for us to unplug from the world, so I always keep a good book by the bed to help me turn off my work-brain.

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

    An Obliger, definitely; I’m much better with a deadline set by someone else than with one I set myself.

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    My laptop is my friend and my enemy. It’s where I do my writing, and I’d be lost without it, but I also struggle constantly against getting sucked into its many distractions and wonders – email, Twitter, Facebook, the news, Wikipedia entries about anteaters, and the rest. So I try to block out a couple of hours during my workday when I literally turn off the Internet; the software app Freedom is great for that. Even then, though, I’ll start rooting around in my computer files, looking at old photos, cleaning out the hard-drive, anything to avoid the blank page. That’s the point at which I turn off my laptop, put a notebook and pen in my pocket, and go for a walk.

    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.?

    One night at dinner, when our kids were maybe 6 years old – we have twin boys, they’re now 10 – one of them said for the zillionth time, “Dad, hey dad …” and it suddenly hit me: I’m their dad. Obviously, I knew for years that I was a parent and a dad. But I still thought of me as just me: Alan, writer, editor at various magazines, ran track in high school, traveled after college in Central America, and all of the other memories. That was my identity, and it matched pretty well with the way that Susan, my wife, sees me. But suddenly I realized that here were two people very close to me who knew none of that: to them, my identity was dad.

    That made me sit up straight. In the book I write about how, as I grew into the role of parent, I sometimes felt like I was dismantling a ship and using the planks to build a ship for someone else. The story of my self wasn’t just mine any more. It also meant that my habits, weren’t just mine anymore either, so I needed to work harder at developing some good ones — regular exercise, getting my full dose of sleep, writing at the same time every day. I’d gotten bogged down in the book, but that exchange with the kids pushed me to get reorganize, double-down, and finish. Also, by then, the boys were old enough to say things like, “I bet J. K. Rowling writes faster than you,” and that prodding helped, too.

    Do you embrace habits or resist them?

    I’m very good with habits once I start them – it’s the starting-them part that I resist!

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

    For the first couple of years after our twins were born, our life was chaos; we were learning to be parents, twice over; both of us were trying to work; and we’d just bought our first house and were discovering how much work that entails. Somewhere in there my mother-in-law gave us some priceless advice: make your bed every morning. It seems like such a small thing, which is exactly why it’s so worthwhile. We start the day having accomplished one small task of self-improvement, so subsequent ones feel easier to achieve. And at the end of the day, if life is still chaotic, we have a well-made bed to crawl into. All these years later we still make our bed every morning, often together — it’s a like a gift to our future selves.

    The post “My Laptop Is My Friend and My Enemy.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:35:54 on 2017/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Health, fitness, and weight, low-carb, , moment, , , wonder   

    Podcast 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day. 

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

    Update: In response to our discussion in episode 102, listeners told us the different “missing puzzle pieces” they’d managed to find.

    Try This at Home: Leave on a high note.

    Happiness Hack: The Metropolitan Museum has introduced an extraordinary new resource: for artworks that are in the public domain, the Met makes them freely available for unrestricted use (including commercial use). Learn more and browse here!

    Happiness Stumbling Block: What appeals to you more: childlike wonder, or adultlike wonder?

    Listener Questioner: Fiona asks, “Gretchen, what do you eat every day?’

    I talk about the fact that I’m an “Abstainer” — are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?

    As I write about in Better Than Before, I was inspired to quit sugar after reading Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat. If you’d like to read my interview with Gary Taubes about his new book, The Case Against Sugar, request it here.

    Demerit: I hate the theme of unjust accusation in books, movies, plays, and TV shows — but I unjustly accused my family of ignoring the groceries.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth went to two doctors’ appointments in one day.

    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 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.

    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.

    Visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 15% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

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    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 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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