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  • gretchenrubin 12:00:06 on 2017/12/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , New Year, review,   

    An Interesting and Useful Exercise: The Year-End Review with Myself. 

    In my book The Happiness Project, I describe how I belong to the three-person group "MGM" where we get together periodically to talk about issues, challenges, hopes, and frustrations related to our careers. I'm the "G" in the MGM, and the Ms are Michael Melcher and Marci Alboher.

    We've been meeting now for a long time -- at least ten years. Many things have changed in our careers, and it's great for each of us to talk in a group that has been following the long arc.

    Several years ago, Michael suggested that we do an exercise: the "Year-End Review, with Yourself." Marci wrote about this idea in this article in the New York Times.

    We did the review several years ago, and it was very helpful. But for whatever reason, we didn't do it again until this year.

    Yesterday, the three of us met for three hours. During that time, we each went through our 2017 calendars and wrote down accomplishments, frustrations, high points, and low points from both our personal and professional lives. We used colored markers, stickers, and great paper to make the exercise more striking.

    Several things jumped out at me from doing this exercise:

    • it's easy to forget how much happens in a single year
    • boy, I had a challenging year--a fun year, but a challenging year
    • writing things down really did allow me to see patterns that I hadn't seen before--for instance, in my case, I realize how much my sister is now integrated into my work as well as my personal life.

    On the "Happier" podcast, in episode 134, Elizabeth and I talk about the power of writing a "ta-da list"--if you're feeling overwhelmed by a to-do list, try making a ta-da list, to remind yourself of what you've already accomplished. Often, we get energy and insight from thinking about what we've already done.

    This is essentially an end-of-year ta-da list.

    Last month, I wrote a post about variations on the to-do list: the to-do list, the could-do list, the ta-da list, the to-day list -- all can be powerful, but different people respond better to different versions.

    After we creating our year-in-review pages, we each made a page for 2018. This was especially great for me, because I'd included this exercise in my "18 for 2018" that Elizabeth and I talked about in episode 147. So I checked that off my list.

    Do you have an exercise -- at work or at home -- to review what the previous year has held for you? For me, it was gratifying and surprising to look back.

    If you want to listen to Michael's terrific new podcast with Michael Terrell, you can find "Meanwhile"--"a podcast to improve your life"--here.

    If you want to read Marci's recent and hugely popular "Modern Love" column from the New York Times, "When Your Uber Driver Brings a Time Machine," it's here.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:56:40 on 2016/12/28 Permalink
    Tags: , book clubs, , , , , , , , fashion, , happiness project, , , , New Year, 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.

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    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.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:02:12 on 2016/09/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , New Year, , September, , ,   

    Research shows that September Really IS the Other January. 

    septembernewyear

    I’ve written many times about how for me, September is the other January — a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to use new pencils, fresh notebooks, and begin again.

    In fact, in my book Happier at Home, I did a happiness project that stretched from September to May, to take advantage of September’s clean slate.

    So I was fascinated to read a piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “Now Is the Real New Year” by Anne Marie Chaker.

    Some interesting points about why people make resolutions in September:

    • with the start of school, families get back into routines, and that helps people get organized and set goals
    • January is a tough time for resolutions, because of post-holiday exhaustion
    • summer efforts can get derailed because of vacation
    • September is one of the biggest months for enrolling in weight-loss programs, going to the gym, and cooking at home
    • people often change their hair style in September
    • people often take steps to change careers in September, and work on household budgets
    • September is now bigger than June as a time to get married; it’s second only to October

     

    How about you? Do you feel like September is a time for a fresh start?

     

    The post Research shows that September Really IS the Other January. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:24:14 on 2015/12/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , New Year,   

    Determined to Keep Your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s How. 

    New Year's Resolution Tips

    I love making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, January 1 might be an arbitrary date, but I think it’s good that we all have a cue to ask ourselves, “What would I like to change about my life? How could it be better than before?”

    Most of us have a list of things we’d like to do better — and very often, those things involve habits. Exercise, sleep, fun, eating, relaxing, and so on.

    In my book Better Than Before, I list all twenty-one strategies that we can use to make or break the habits that shape our lives. All the strategies are powerful and effective, but some are more universal than others. Here are some of the most popular ones, to start you thinking.

    1. Be specific.

    Don’t resolve to “Eat more healthfully.” That’s too vague. What are you really asking of yourself? Resolve to “Eat breakfast,” “pack a lunch,” “stop eating fast food,” “cook dinner at home,” or “no more sugary soda.” That’s the Strategy of Clarity.

    I did this with reading. I love to read, but I wasn’t spending enough time reading. So I resolved to “Quit reading a book I don’t like” (which changed my life), “Do ‘study’ reading on the weekend,” and I also monitor my reading — see below.

    2. Monitor your resolution.

    If we monitor something, we manage it much better. Just simply tracking how much you are — or aren’t — doing something will push you in the right direction. That’s the Strategy of Monitoring. With reading, I’ve started to post a photo on my Facebook page every Sunday night to show what books I’ve read that week. I find this very fun and satisfying, and I have to say, it also helps me push myself to find more time to read.

    3. Figure out your Tendency.

    There are Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Take the quiz here.  This is the Strategy of the Four Tendencies.

    4. Give yourself external accountability. 

    Now that you know your Tendency, if you’re an Obliger, to keep a resolution, give yourself external accountability. This is key. Tell other people about your resolution, work out with a trainer, take a class, do something with a friend, hire a coach.

    Or start a Better Than Before Habits Group, where people hold each other accountable. Everyone can be working on different resolutions — what matters is that they’re holding each other accountable. To get the “starter kit” for people launching an accountability group, request it here. This is the Strategy of Accountability.

    Note: the Strategy of Accountability can also be helpful to Upholders and Questioners — but it’s often actually counter-productive for Rebels.

    5. Treat yourself!

    This is the most fun way to strengthen your resolutions. When we give ourselves healthy treats, we boost our self-command — which helps us keep our resolutions. When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves. But make sure they’re healthy treats. Food and drink, shopping, and screen time are often unhealthy treats. This is the Strategy of Treats.

    6. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    Thank you, Voltaire.  If you break your resolution today, try again tomorrow.  Try to use your slip-up as a lesson in how to do better next time. 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. This is the Strategy of Safeguards.

    7. Sign up for the 21 Days, 21 Strategies for Habit Change.

    To thank people who pre-order the paperback of Better Than Before, I’m giving them this email package for free. Each morning for twenty-one days, I’ll send you an email that describes a different strategy that you can harness to master your habits. If you’re determined to keep a New Year’s resolution this year, I hope you’ll get lots of ideas about how to do that.

    What else? What are some strategies you’ve discovered, to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions?

     
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