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  • feedwordpress 19:32:23 on 2018/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: 18 for 2018, , , , new year's resolutions,   

    I Wrote My “18 for 2018” List. Now It’s Time to See How I’m Doing So Far 

    In episodes 149 and 152 of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, my sister Elizabeth and I talked about how we created a list of our "18 for 2018" – eighteen things we wanted to get done in 2018.

    Well, we’re a few months into 2018 now, and I thought I’d review my progress so far.

    I note an item as "underway" in two situations: if it’s a repeating action that I’ve done a few or several times, but not so many times that I consider it "completed," or if I’ve successfully started a long project but can’t yet check it off my list.

    1. Start having weekly adventures with Eleanor. [underway]
    2. Fix my headset, runs out of battery really fast. [DONE]
    3. Set up a home studio in this closet for my Facebook show. [underway; I did this, but now seem to be having technical issues with my lighting so not sure whether to "count" it as completed]
    4. Work with Barnaby so he’s better at coming when I call him.
    5. Clean out my massive tote bag collection. Each one is special.[DONE]
    6. Take Eleanor to get her contacts checked.
    7. Start making consistent progress on "Report to the Committee on Exploration" (if you want to read about "Four to Llewelyn's Edge", I describe it here).
    8. Create a work calendar for the year. I have a lot of little projects and I need more structure than usual; trips I need to make. [DONE]
    9. Finish My Color Pilgrimage and figure out what the heck to do with it; similarly, Outer Order, Inner Calm. **[underway]
    10. Tap more into my love of smell. I've fallen out of habit of regularly wearing perfume, smelling my smell collection, burning scented candles. Along those lines... [underway]
    11. Plan perfume field trip with a friend. [underway; I’ve done this once but want to do it several more times over the course of the year]
    12. New phone for camera to improve the video quality of my weekly Facebook show, "Ask Gretchen Rubin Live"[DONE]
    13. Figure out Instagram features and use it regularly. [DONE]
    14. Decide on a cause to give to as a family.
    15. Create the Four Tendencies workshop. [underway]
    16. Deal with the items we want to donate to Housing Works.[underway; the stuff is loaded into our car but not yet dropped off]
    17. I’m creating a list for listeners of the Try This at Homes and Happiness Hacks so far. And I'll update these lists at the end of each year, for people to request. [underway]
    18. Get current with making physical photo albums with Shutterfly. [DONE]

    So I’ve completed finished 6 items. Gold stars for me.

    I’ve started 8 items.

    And I’ve left 4 items completely untouched.

    What conclusions can I draw from my list so far? First, my schedule is crowded, so I resist items that need to be put onto my calendar.

    I’m more likely to do items – even challenging items – if they’re things that I can sit down and accomplish in one slot of time. This gives me the very great satisfaction of checking something off my list.

    For aims that are underway, it’s helpful to remind myself that I need to keep pressing forward.

    Halfway through the year, Elizabeth and I will do an update on the Happier podcast. But I find that the more frequently I monitor my progress, the more likely I am to get these aims accomplished.

    This is a surprisingly fun exercise, given that it’s just a way of getting myself to do things that I’ve been delaying!

    Are you finding it fun or burdensome to try to meet your New Year’s resolutions, observe your one-word theme for the year, or tackle your "18 for 2018?" 

    Want to share your list on Instagram? Use #18for2018 and #HappierPodcast and tag me: @gretchenrubin

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:00:37 on 2017/12/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new year's resolutions   

    Use the Four Tendencies to Tackle Your New Year’s Resolutions (Or Not). 

    Because I study happiness, good habits, and human nature, I've done a lot of thinking about New Year's resolutions.

    In fact, when I was identifying the Four Tendencies -- my framework that divides the world into Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels -- thinking about various reactions to New Year's resolutions gave me an important insight into how people see the world differently.

    So how do the Four Tendencies respond to New Year's resolutions? How can they meet any challenges they face?

    Obligers:

    Obligers often say, “I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore because I never manage to keep them—I never make time for myself.” They're discouraged because they've tried and failed in the past.

    The solution is easy: Create outer accountability. Want to read more? Join a book group. Want to exercise? Join a class, work out with a trainer, meet a friend who expects company, think of the duty to be a role model for other people...there are hundreds of ways to build outer accountability. And that's what Obligers need. It's not a matter of motivation, setting priorities, putting themselves first; they must have outer accountability to meet inner expectations.

    Questioners:

    Questioners are good at keeping resolutions that they set for themselves, but they usually start them whenever the time seems right. Often, they won't wait for the New Year, because they object that "January 1 is just an arbitrary date. And it's not efficient to wait to do something that I could start now."

    If Questioners struggle, it's usually because they're not convinced that this resolution is the best, most efficient way for them to meet their aim -- or they don't trust the judgment of the person encouraging them to make a change.

    To do a better job of keeping a resolution, they should do their research, get clarity on why they're pursuing a certain aim in a certain way, and reassure themselves that this approach makes the most sense. Questioners sometimes face "analysis-paralysis," when they want perfect information before moving ahead. It's helpful for them to remember, "At a certain point, it's not efficient to keep researching. To get the benefit of my resolution, I need to get started without more delay."

    Rebels:

    Rebels generally don't bind themselves in advance, so a New Year's resolution might not appeal to them. They want to do what they want, in their own way, in their own time -- not because they promised themselves they'd do it.

    On the other hand, some Rebels love the challenge of a New Year's resolution: "My family thinks I can't give up sugar for a year? Well, watch me!" or "Starting January 1, I'm going to work on my novel, and I'm going to finish by December 31st."

    Upholders:

    Upholders often make and keep New Year's resolutions. Upholders are great at this sort of thing.

    People often ask me, "Is it a good idea to make New Year's resolutions?"

    The fact is, there's no one-size-fits-all solution for happiness and good habits. If making a New Year's resolution appeals to you, try it. If you dislike the idea, don't. There's no special magic to it. I think it's great to have milestones that remind us to consider our lives and how we could be happier, and January 1 is a great opportunity for self-reflection, but whether that's the New Year, your birthday, an important anniversary doesn't matter. It's whatever works for you.

    If you want to keep a resolution -- for the New Year, or at any other time -- knowing your Tendency can help you stick to it. This knowledge provides important clues for how to address any challenges that might come up.

    If you're an Obliger, spending a lot of time focusing on motivation won't help. If you're a Rebel, signing up for a class probably won't work. If you're a Questioner, you're not going to follow someone else's program without questions.

    Has understanding your Tendency changed the way you approach New Year's resolutions? I'd love to hear examples about the Four Tendencies in action. If you want to learn more about the Four Tendencies, get a copy of my latest New York Times bestseller, The Four Tendencies.

     
  • feedwordpress 23:09:40 on 2016/12/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new year's resolutions, , , , , Strategy of Distinction,   

    Want to Keep a New Year’s Resolution? How to Make It Right for YOU. 

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    Many people make New Year’s resolutions, and many people get frustrated and abandon their New Year’s resolutions.

    A common mistake? Setting up the resolution in the wrong way. We think we “should be able to” do it first thing in the morning, or we think we should imitate a resolution that works well for someone else.

    But there’s no one, correct way. It’s just whatever works for us.

    I know this, because I used to try to indulge moderately in sweets — but I’m an Abstainer. And I used to try to do difficult writing in the afternoon — but I’m a Lark. And I use to hold myself back from buying too much at one time — but I’m an Under-buyer. Etc. Now that I set up resolutions to suit my nature, I succeed much more often.

    As you set up your resolutions, be sure to consider these distinctions, as outlined in the “Strategy of Distinctions” in my book Better Than Before, which is all about the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits.

    Before you decide on the resolution you’ll make, consider…

    -are you a Lark or Owl?

    are you a Marathoner or Sprinter?

    are you a Simplcity-lover or Abundance-lover?

    are you a Finisher or Opener?

    are you an Abstainer or Moderator?

    -are you an Under-buyer or Over-buyer?

    As you’re thinking about these distinctions, it can be helpful to ask, “When have I succeeded with this resolution in the past?” If there was a time when you exercised regularly, cooked frequently, got enough sleep, etc., that might hold clues for how you might be able to do a better job in the present.

    When we know ourselves, we can set up a resolution in the way that’s right for us. It’s not that hard to keep our resolutions, and to change our habits — when we know what to do.

    The post Want to Keep a New Year’s Resolution? How to Make It Right for YOU. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:18:02 on 2016/12/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , new year's resolutions, , , , , , , ,   

    9 Tips if You’re Making Work-Related New Year’s Resolutions. 

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    The new year is here, and for many of us, that means new year’s resolutions. And many of us make resolutions related to our work lives.

    Now Questioners, I know you object to the arbitrariness of the January 1 date; Obligers, I know you may have given up making resolutions because you’ve struggled in the past; and Rebels, I know you may not want to bind yourself in advance. But some people do want to make resolutions. (Don’t know where you fit in the “Four Tendencies” framework, i.e.,  if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Look here.)

    For instance, some common work-related resolutions include “I want to broaden my horizons,” “I want to do a better job with record-keeping,” “I want to network,” “I want to find a mentor,” and “I want to expand my skills.”

    One key to consistent progress is to make a behavior into a habit. Habits are freeing and energizing, because they save us from the difficult, draining business of making decisions and exercising our self-control.

    Habits matter, because research shows that about 40% of everyday life is shaped by habits. If we have habits that work for us, we’re far more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive.

    In my book Better Than Before, I discuss the twenty-one different strategies that we can use to make or break our habits. I know, twenty-one sounds like a lot to manage — but it’s helpful that there are so many, because some of these strategies work for some people, and not others. But we all have a big menu from which to pick.

    So how might you make a habit of actions that will help you succeed at work? Consider these strategies:

    1. Use the Strategy of Clarity, and be specific about what you’re asking of yourself.

    Resolutions like “network more” or “research new opportunities” are too vague. Put your resolution into the form of a concrete, measurable, manageable action, such as “Every month, go to at least two events with networking opportunities” or “Spend one hour every Friday afternoon updating my time sheets and expenses.” Being specific helps you figure out what to do, and it also makes it possible to…

    2. Use the Strategy of Monitoring, and monitor your habit.

    Monitoring is almost uncanny in its power. Research shows that simply by monitoring a behavior, we tend to do a much better job of it, whether that’s how fast we’re driving, how much we’re eating, how many cold calls we’re making, or how many instructional videos we’re watching. Keep track, and you’ll push yourself in the right direction.

    3. Use the Strategy of Scheduling, and schedule time for your habit.

    Something like “Research that company this week” is a goal that can keep getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Even if it’s important, it’s just not urgent. So schedule a specific time for research, for learning, for following up, and give it a slot on your calendar. But it’s crucial to remember that…

    4. Working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination.

    When you schedule time to do certain work, you should do that work, and nothing else. No filing, no cleaning, no research, no checking emails. Do that work, or stare at the ceiling. Otherwise, you may work and work and work, and never get around to doing the very thing you set out to do.

    5. Use the Strategy of Distinctions, and take time to think big.

    In the rigors of everyday life, it can be hard to step back and see what matters most.  Where do you want to be in two years? How could you develop your skills to make your work more interesting and yourself more valuable? Some people prefer to do this kind of thinking alone, with just a pad of paper; others prefer to talk it out, with a few trusted co-workers or an old friend; others might hire a coach. Or…

    6. Use the Strategy of Distinctions, and take time to think small.

    Sometimes people get overwhelmed when they try to make grand plans or ask huge questions; it’s also useful to focus on small, manageable steps that you can incorporate into your life immediately.

    7. Use the Strategy of Clarity, and ask yourself: Whom do you envy?

    Envy is an uncomfortable emotion, but it’s instructive. If you envy someone, that person has something you wish you had. Do you envy your friend who gets to travel all the time—or the friend who never has to travel? Do you envy your co-worker who’s taking night class toward getting an MBA, or who gets to make lots of presentations? Envy can help show us how we want to grow and change.

    8. Use the Strategy of Other People, and spend time with people who have the habits  that you want to emulate.

    Studies show that we tend to pick up habits from the people around us, so choose your company wisely. If you know that some of your co-workers cultivate habits that help them succeed at work, go out of your way to spend time with them, and you’ll more easily pick up those habits, yourself.

    9. Use the Strategy of the Four Tendencies and the Strategy of Accountability, if it works for you.

    If you’re an Obliger — that is, if you readily meet other people’s expectations, but struggle to meet your expectations for yourself — the answer, the solution, the key element is external accountability. Rebels, on the other hand, often do worse when they’re being held accountable. Figure out your Tendency and plug in accountability as necessary.

    The most important thing to remember about habit change? We must shape our habits to suit ourselves—our own nature, our own interests, our own strengths. When we understand ourselves, we can apply the twenty-one strategies with the greatest success, and we can also help other people to change their habits.

    It’s not hard to change your habits, when you know what to do. And it matters. When we change our habits, we change our lives.

    The post 9 Tips if You’re Making Work-Related New Year’s Resolutions. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:44:47 on 2016/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , intention, , new year's resolutions, , , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: What’s Your One-Word Theme for the New Year? 

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    A Little Happier: We’re all getting geared up for 2017, and January 1 is often a prompt that people use to reflect on ways to make life happier in the new year.

    This week’s holiday hack is to choose one word, or a short phrase, to sum up what we want to focus on for the new year. When we distill our aims into a single word or phrase, it’s easier to remember it — and to take action.

    In the past, I’ve picked words and phrases like “Upgrade” and “Lighten Up.” This year, I’m picking “Re-purpose.” I want to tackle the question: How can I make more of what I already have?

    Elizabeth has picked words like “Free Time,” “Style,” “Hot Wheels,” “Novel” — this year, she’s picking “Home.” Her renovation is finally almost finished!

    If this one-word theme “Home” appeals to you, you might enjoy my book Happier at Home — it’s all about how to be (surprise) happier at home.

    In the past, we’ve heard from listeners that they’ve picked terrific, thought-provoking one-word themes like Adventure, Renew, Energize, Travel, Rest, Finish.

    What one-word theme will you choose for 2017?

     

    Check out LOFT.com — it’s a great go-to spot to pull together modern,  feminine outfits for all your holiday adventures.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: What’s Your One-Word Theme for the New Year? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:30:07 on 2016/01/01 Permalink
    Tags: , Happiness Project groups, new year's resolutions, , , , ,   

    Want to Make 2016 a Happier Year? Here’s How I Did It, Month by Month. 

    HappinessProjectonBookstoreShelf

    If you’re looking for ways to make 2016 a happier, healthier, more productive year, may I self-promotingly suggest my book, The Happiness Project?

    The first day of the new year always feels so fresh and full of promise to me — but at the same time, it’s very discouraging to look back over the year that’s just ended, and realize that I’d never accomplished an important, happiness-boosting change that I’d hoped to make.

    This feeling is one of the major reasons that I undertook my happiness project.

    I remember so clearly the moment when I had the idea to do it. I was on the 79th Street cross-town bus, and I looked out the window and thought, “What do I want from life anyway? I want to be happy.” I realized, though, that I didn’t spend any time thinking about whether I was happy, or how I could be happier. “I should have a happiness project!” I decided.

    I ran to the library the next day to get a big stack of books about happiness—and I had no notion of how much that single moment’s thought was going to shape my life, and bring me so much happiness.

    I divided the year into twelve categories — each month, I worked on a different area of my life where I wanted to make myself happier.  Areas such as energy, marriage, play, mindfulness, money, parenthood, work, and friendship. I identified a handful of specific, manageable resolutions to try, to see if I could boost my happiness. And I often found that I really could.

    What I found out about myself, and I think this is true for a lot of people, is that there was a lot of low-hanging fruit — steps that didn’t take much time, energy, or money yet could significantly boost my happiness. And why not be as happy as we can be?

    And I can’t resist adding: The Happiness Project was on the New York Times‘s bestseller list for more than two years, including at #1, has sold more than two million copies, and been publishing in more than thirty languages. Yowza! As a writer, it’s thrilling to be able to connect with so many people. Thanks, readers, for all your enthusiasm and support.

    You may think, “Why should I read about your happiness project? Gretchen and I may be nothing alike.” Very true. But it seems to be the case that reading about someone else’s very specific experience is often the best way to get ourselves thinking about what would work for us. Somehow, we identify and learn more from a personal story than from the most high-minded philosophical treatise or major study covering large populations.

    For ideas about how to start your own happiness project, look here. It’s never too late to start — it’s always the right time to begin.

    Intrigued? You can…

     

    I also can’t resist mentioning a crazy highlight — “The Happiness Project ” was an answer on the game show Jeopardy! How nuts is that.

    How about you? Have you done a “happiness project” of your own, and if so, what form did it take? HAPPY 2016!

     

     
  • feedwordpress 19:41:52 on 2015/12/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , new year's resolutions, , , , Winstead's   

    Podcast 45: Home for the Holidays, Kansas City Edition! We Record at Winstead’s. 

    PodcastElizabethandGretchenWinsteads

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

    Update: It’s the Kansas City edition! We begin our recording from a table at Winstead’s, the beloved Kansas City diner that’s our family’s favorite place to eat. Plus we feature some special guests.

    Elizabeth and I had so much fun recording this — it’s always extra-fun when we’re together, and it was great to be in our hometown.

    Try This at Home: “Identify your special places.” The restaurant Winstead’s is definitely one of our special family places.

    PodcastElizabethEatingBurgerWinsteadsI quote from Mircea Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane: the Nature of Religion: “There are, for example,  privileged places, qualitatively different from all others — a man’s birthplace, or the scenes of his first love, or certain places in the first foreign city he visited in youth. Even for the most frankly nonreligious man, all these places still retain an exceptional, a unique quality; they are the ‘holy places’ of his private universe.”

    Know Yourself Better: Is there a New Year’s resolution that you’ve made over and over?

    Update! We talked to my sixteen-year-old daughter Eliza in Episode 30, and here, she gives us an update. Also, she announces that she has started a podcast of her own. Check out Eliza Starting at Sixteen. She does the whole thing herself — recording, editing, everything. ElizaStartingat16logo Which astounds me.

    Mindy’s Gold Star: One of Elizabeth’s best friends, Mindy, gives a gold star to her father, who told her, “Always pay attention to what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have.”

    podcastEEEandGinclosetEleanor’s Gold Star: My ten-year-old daughter gave a gold star to our family, for getting a dog. We didn’t think we were a dog family – but we did it! And we’re so happy.

    Note: it’s hard to see, but I’m wearing a t-shirt that Elizabeth gave me a few Christmases ago — a bluebird wearing a Santa hat.

    Special plea: I’m trying to think of a word to fill in the blank: “The Four _____ Tendencies.” What word could I add, that would help convey the nature of the framework to people who haven’t heard of it? Please send your ideas!

    Remember, if you live in the Bay area:  Elizabeth and I are doing our first live recording of the podcast! January 21, Brava Theater, we hope to see you. Info and tickets here.  We’ll have two outstanding guests, Nir Eyal and Jake Knapp. Plus Elizabeth and I have planned special little treats, and you also get a copy of Better Than Before with your ticket.

     WinsteadsSignOutdoors

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    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 20% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

    Also check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid post-office pain, 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 no-risk trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — 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.)

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    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!

     
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