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

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


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

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

    1. Don't beat yourself up.

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

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

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

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

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

    3. A stumble may prevent a fall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Consider your Tendency.

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

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

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

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

    6. Are you giving yourself healthy treats?

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

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

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

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

     

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

    It's a very common frustration.

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

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:06:02 on 2017/08/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , resolution, , ,   

    Podcast 129: September Is the Other January, the Fun of Post-It Notes, and What “They” Think. 


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    Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 34 days. So close, and yet so far!

    Elizabeth and I are considering planning a meet-up with listeners and readers on Sunday, September 17, around 6:00 p.m. Would you be interested in coming? What would be a good neighborhood or spot? Weigh in on the Better app, under Events — that makes it much easier to coordinate responses. We’re trying to figure out if this would be a good idea. If you’re already a member of the app, click here to go directly to the event to RSVP.

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

    Try This at Home: Remember that September is the other January. In my book Happier at Home, I describe my happiness project that stretched from September to May — a school year, which is another kind of year for me.

    September, for many people, marks a fresh start and a new beginning, so it’s good to think about changes to make with this clean slate.

    Elizabeth vows to start grilling — not expecting Adam to grill, but to grill herself. I’m planning to start “Weekly Adventures” with Eleanor.

    In my book Better Than Before, I talk about using the “Strategy of the Clean Slate” as a way to harness new beginnings to help yourself make important changes. The clean slate is a powerful catalyst for me.

    1pix

    Happiness Hack: I love an office-supplies hack! Elizabeth ordered personalized post-it notes — easy, inexpensive, and seem special — specifically for “Happier in Hollywood” for her and Sarah to use. She ordered hers from Zazzle.com. Post a photo of your personalized post-it notes on #happier2017 on Instagram, and tag us @lizcraft and @gretchenrubin.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: What will “they” think?

    Here’s the video I mention, of the twelve-minute talk that I gave about drift, and here’s the quiz “Are you drifting?

    Gretchen’s Demerit: I’m a dedicated hair twister, and I’ve been twisting my hair more than usual.

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s young son Jack participated enthusiastically on a hike. Elizabeth’s fantasy is to do family hikes on the weekend — so now her fantasy self and real self are colliding, thanks to Jack.


    Free Resources:

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

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

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

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out 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.

    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.

    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.

    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 129: September Is the Other January, the Fun of Post-It Notes, and What “They” Think. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:44:47 on 2016/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , intention, , , , resolution, , , , ,   

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


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    new-years-resolution-goal-setting

    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 20:23:54 on 2016/05/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , personal commandments, , , resolution   

    Have You Ever Been Made Happier by a “Modest Splurge?” Of What? For Me, Magic Markers. 


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    magicmarkersmyset

    I’m an under-buyer, and for the most part, I dislike shopping, errands, and buying stuff.

    In fact, one of my happiness-project resolutions is to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” I remind myself that sometimes, it makes me happy to indulge in a modest splurge — to buy something that I don’t absolutely need, but that makes my day brighter in some way.

    I indulged in a modest splurge a few days ago.

    I was early for a meeting (I’m always early), so I decided to spend the time wandering around an art store. I love just looking at the things in art stores. This store, sadly, was going out of business, so prices were slashed.

    As a result, the shelves were fairly bare, but I happened to notice a giant box of beautiful, high-quality, double-ended magic markers.

    These particular markers hold special memories for me, because when I was in college, my roommate had twelve of these markers, and she prized them highly. She never let anyone borrow them, and we could use them only under her supervision. (Very wisely–she knew that we’d lose them, or leave the caps loose.) We had so much fun with those markers.

    I looked at the price. For a box of markers, it was still expensive. At the same time, it was an extraordinary bargain. But I didn’t really need the markers–we have lots of good markers already. But this was a really good set of markers. It would make me very happy to use them, and my daughters would also use them. But couldn’t we use the markers we already had? Well-made tools make work a joy; having these terrific markers might boost my creativity. Looking at the markers brought back happy memories. But if we didn’t make good use of the markers, I would feel guilty.  Etc., etc., etc.

    I bet the other customers thought I was a very odd person — I stood stock still, gazing at the box, as these questions played out in my head, for several minutes.

    At last, I remembered my resolution to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” And I thought, well, I’m going to get them! I love them.

    I got them home, my daughters were delighted with the markers, we all tried them out — and my older daughter asked, “Can I take some to school tomorrow?”

    First, I said “No way.” I was thinking–I want to keep the set nice, I don’t want to risk losing or spoiling one, I want to “save” them to keep them nice, etc.

    Then I remembered #7 of my Twelve Personal Commandments. Spend out. I tend to hold things back, so I have to remind myself to spend out. Use things up! Put them into circulation, put them to work! Better to use the markers all the time, and risk losing them, than to save them on the shelf, and never use them at all. (Plus my daughter is fairly responsible.)

    Have you ever made a “modest splurge,” where a purchase made you happier? What did you splurge on?

    The post Have You Ever Been Made Happier by a “Modest Splurge?” Of What? For Me, Magic Markers. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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