Tagged: Self-knowledge Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • gretchenrubin 11:00:21 on 2018/10/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Obligers, , self care, Self-knowledge   

    A Question I’m Often Asked: “How Can I Make More Time for Self-Care?” 

    People often ask me, "How do I make more time for myself? How do I put myself first?"

    And when I hear that question, I think: OBLIGER!

    Obligers think that everyone struggles with this question, but in fact, it's a much bigger challenge for Obligers than it is for Upholders, Questioners, or Rebels. Each of these other Tendencies benefits from its own safeguard.

    (Don't know what I'm talking about with those terms—Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Rebel? Take my quick, free "Four Tendencies" quiz here or read about my personality framework here.)

    Sometimes this Obliger challenge takes the form of "I'm so busy putting other people first, I don't have time for myself."

    Sometimes it looks more like "I give 110% to my patients, I can't possibly find time to exercise" or "With my grueling travel schedule, there's no way I could eat healthier."

    However this issue is framed, it boils down to the Obliger pattern: meeting outer expectations but struggling to meet inner expectations.

    And the solution is always the same: create outer accountability for meeting inner expectations.

    This is the answer. This is crucial. Don't work on motivation, priorities, clarity, will-power, none of that! Work on creating outer accountability.

    Creating Outer Accountability for Self-care

    So, how might an Obliger create outer accountability for "self-care" type activities? Or how might someone around an Obliger help that person to do that?

    Want to read more? Join a book group; read what your children are reading in school so you can have family discussions.

    Want to exercise more? Work out with a trainer; take a class; go for a walk with a friend who will be annoyed if you don't show up; take your dog for a walk and remind yourself that your dog really benefits from the exercise.

    Want to eat more healthfully? Think of how disappointed your future-self will be if you keep eating junk food; think of how much healthier others will be if you don't bring junk food into your home or office.

    Want to give yourself a treat, like a massage or a tennis lesson? Remember, "If I give more to myself, I can give more to others. If I let myself get too drained and exhausted, I won't be able to be a good family member/colleague/employee/boss/friend. I need to put my own oxygen mask first."

    Want to quit smoking? Think of your duty to be a role model for others; think about the fact that by smoking, you're pouring money into the pockets of the tobacco companies who will use that money to get more people addicted to cigarettes; think of how others depend on you to be healthy.

    Want to make time to see friends? Create a regular appointment (have lunch every first Monday of the month) so that people expect you to show up at a certain time; tell your family or friends "I'm making a commitment to spend more time with friends" so that you feel an obligation to follow through—even if only to model the behavior for others that it's important to keep our promises to ourselves.

    Want to work on your novel? Join a writing group where every member holds each other accountable for a certain amount of writing; tell your kids, "You have your work, I have my work. If you don't see me working on my novel, you don't have to do your homework."

    Note that these strategies might not work very well with other Tendencies.

    As an UPHOLDER/Questioner, I resist ideas like, "I need to take care of myself so I can care for others." I care for myself because that's what I want and need—not because of others.

    Likewise, a Rebel might resist the idea of having a regular meet-up with friends. Typically, Rebels don't like to feel constrained by a calendar.

    If you want to go deeper into the Four Tendencies, read the book The Four Tendencies or take my online video course.

    If you need outer accountability—for self-care or for anything—you can also launch or join an accountability group on my free app, the Better app. It's a place for questions, discussions, and observations about the Four Tendencies, and also a place to create an accountability group for whatever aim you're trying to reach.

    I'm astonished by the ingenuity and imagination that Obligers use in creating outer accountability for themselves. Brilliant solutions! It's really not that hard to do, once you realize that outer accountability is what's necessary.

    Have you come up with any great ways to give yourself outer accountability?

     
  • feedwordpress 16:33:10 on 2018/05/22 Permalink
    Tags: , choices, , , , , know yourself better, Self-knowledge,   

    A Question I’m Often Asked: “How Do I Make This Tough Decision?” 

    One common happiness stumbling block is the need to make a tough decision. To decide between apples and oranges, to weigh pros and cons, to think about what we will need and want in the future, to understand our real values...it’s tough.

    People often write me emails to explain their situations and ask for my thoughts. I can’t give advice to a particular person, but here are some mantras and questions I use when I’m facing a difficult decision in my own life.

    When I’m trying to make a tough choice, I say to myself, "Choose the bigger life." In a particular situation, people would make different decisions about what the "bigger life" would be, but when I ask myself that question, it always helps me see the right answer, for myself.

    For instance, as a family, we were trying to decide whether to get a dog. My daughters desperately wanted a dog, but I kept thinking about the commitment, inconvenience, errands, and all the downsides. The pros and cons list felt equally balanced. But when I thought, "Choose the bigger life," I realized that the bigger life for my family was to get a dog. That wouldn’t be true for everyone, certainly. But it was true for us. And we’re so happy we have our dog Barnaby!

    If you’d like to listen to a discussion of this, I talk about it in episode 27 of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast.

    Another question to consider: Is this decision likely to strengthen my relationships with other people? Strong relationships with other people are a key—maybe the key—to happiness, so decisions that help build or strengthen ties are likely to boost happiness.

    Of course, sometimes we make decisions, such as to move to a new city or switch to a new profession, that put us in a place where we have few relationships. That can be worthwhile, absolutely, but it’s worth considering the time, effort, and energy needed to create new relationships.

    I also ask myself, "Does this decision help me to follow my personal commandment to Be Gretchen?" (Of course, everyone should substitute their own names!) I want to shape my life to reflect my temperament, interests, and values. I ask myself: Am I making this decision to "Be Gretchen," or because I want to impress other people, please someone else, pretend that I’m different from the person I actually am, or deny a truth about myself?

    Another way to think about "Being Gretchen" is to remind myself, "I want to accept myself, and expect more from myself." Is a particular course of action allowing me to expect more from myself—meaning it’s scary in a positive way, that will allow me to grow? Or does this course of action mean I’m not accepting myself—meaning it feels wrong for me in a way that I should respect?

    It can also be helpful to consider whether, when I contemplate a particular course of action, do I feel energized or drained? Sometimes it’s great to push ourselves to do something novel, challenging, or scary. But sometimes, a bad feeling is an indication that a decision doesn’t sit right with us. Unfortunately, it’s often very hard to tell the difference between those two feelings. This takes a lot of deliberation.

    I try to avoid false choices. Often, we try to make difficult decisions seem easier by boiling down our choices to two clear paths, when in fact, there may be many paths from which to choose. If you’re thinking of giving yourself a choice between two options—"Should I stay in my current job full time, or should I quit to write the novel I’ve always to write?"—ask, are those the only two options? Are there other options that I haven’t considered?

    Relatedly, when appropriate, I reassure myself, "There’s no wrong choice here." When I’m facing two good options, I remind myself that a choice becomes the right choice as we live it—as we have good experiences, make new relationships, go down a particular path.

    And here’s one last strategy.

    As I mentioned, I often get emails from people saying, "Here’s my situation, here are my choices, what should I do, how do I choose?" And it’s quite clear to me, from reading what they’ve written, that they know what choice they want to make. So I write back, "I can’t give advice, but it sounds to me as though you already know what you want to do."

    The way they explain the situation and the decision absolutely tips their hand. And that’s fine.

    So if you’re not sure what you want to do, try drafting an email to explain the situation, send the email to yourself, wait a week, then read it. Maybe you know what you want, more than you’ve admitted to yourself.

    Several fascinating books explore the question of making better decisions.

    1. Chip and Dan Heath’s Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. The title and subtitle say it all—why it’s hard to make decisions, how to test your assumptions, how to figure out what’s most important to you, how to make a better decision.
    2. Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness. This book includes many interesting ideas, but one stands out: one very effective way to judge whether a particular course of action will make you happy in the future is to ask people who are following that course of action right now if they’re happy, and assume that you’ll feel the same way. Going on a family trip to Disneyworld. Living near your family. Getting a hamster. Learning to use Instagram. Working as a paralegal. Volunteering. Moving to a place that lengthens your commute. In evaluating the likely consequences of a decision, other people’s experiences of happiness—or lack thereof—can be very instructive for me.
    3. Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. Schwartz explains why we find decision-making so taxing, and why having more choices can actually make us more stressed and less satisfied with our decisions.

    What do you do when you need to make a tough choice?

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:30:32 on 2018/03/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , identity, Self-knowledge, southerner,   

    A Question I’m Often Asked: Why Did I List “Southerner” as a Possibly Negative Identity? 

    Since Better Than Before, my book about habit change, hit the shelves, I’ve received several emails from loyal Southerners asking me about my inclusion of the identity of "Southerner" in the following passage discussing identity.

    Better Than Before identifies the 21 strategies we can use to make or break our habits, and in my chapter on the importance of the "Strategy of Identity," I write:

    We can get locked into identities that aren’t good for us: "a workaholic," "a perfectionist," "a Southerner," "the responsible one." As part of the Strategies of the Four Tendencies and Distinctions, I’d worked to identify different personality categories to which I belonged, but these kinds of labels should help me understand myself more deeply, not limit my sense of identity. Someone wrote on my site, "Food and eating used to play a big part in my identity until I realized that my baking and being a ‘baker’ was resulting in being overweight. So I had to let that identity go."

    In this passage, I’m not suggesting that "Southerner" is necessarily a negative identity, but one that might be negative for a particular person – it might also be a positive identity; this just depends on a particular person. For some people, identifying as "the responsible one" might give them a sense of pride and purpose, and for others, identifying as "the responsible one" might feel constraining and burdensome.

    Now, why did I include "Southerner" in this list of examples? Well, because while I was writing this book – and, I must admit, unmercifully quizzing my friends about their habits – a good friend mentioned it.

    As I discuss at length in Better Than Before, I had many discussions with one friend whose identity as "Italian" had been in conflict with her desire to eat and drink more healthfully.

    Along the same lines, another friend told me that the identity of being "Southern" was tied up, for him, with the idea of sweet tea, fried foods, pie, and the idea that a polite person would never turn down food that was offered. He wanted to change his eating habits, and he realized he had to figure out, "How can I live up to my Southern identity in a way that allows me to eat more healthfully?" Once he was able to see how this aspect of his identity was making it hard to stick to the good habits he wanted to cultivate, he was able to find many ways to be a true Southerner, and honor his Southern traditions, with less sweet tea.

    Most identities have both positive and negative sides. In my observation, the problem arises when we don’t see how an identity is influencing our habits; if we don’t see this factor, we can’t think through it and possibly alter the habits that flow from it. We can embrace an identity, yet shape that identity.

    As with me. My identity as a "real book-lover" made me assume that I had to finish every book I started, even if I found it boring. Which is what I did, for decades. But after studying the Strategy of Identity, I realized that I could alter my definition of what it meant to be a "real book-lover," with the thought, "If I stop reading a book I don’t like, I’ll have more time to read the books I do enjoy. That habit allows me to be a ‘real book-lover’ in a different way." My identity is the same; I just found a different habit to honor it.

    Usually, when we address the Strategy of Identity for ourselves, we don’t wholly let go of an identity – it was unusual for the "baker" let go of that identity totally – usually, we re-shape the expression of the identity, or decide to let one narrow aspect of that identity go, while holding on to the aspects that we want to keep. I can absolutely remain a real book-lover without finishing every book I start.

    Speaking of the Strategy of Identity, I can’t help but mention one of my favorite examples, which I write about in Better Than Before,. In their fascinating book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath describe how an anti-littering campaign successfully changed the littering habits of Texans, after messages such as "Please Don’t Litter" and "Pitch In" failed. For the campaign, famous Texans such as George Foreman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, and various sports figures made TV spots with the message "Don’t mess with Texas." The campaign convinced people that true Texans—proud, loyal, tough Texans—protect Texas. During the campaign’s first five years, visible roadside litter dropped 72 percent.

    Our habits reflect our identities. We all have many identities. And we can shape how we honor those identities, so we can create the lives we want.

    Have you experienced this? Is there an area in your life where an important identity made it hard to follow a habit that you wanted to keep?

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:55:19 on 2018/02/24 Permalink
    Tags: , Francoise Gilot, Matisse, , , Self-knowledge   

    Secret of Adulthood: I’m Unique, Just Like Everyone Else. 

    In her memoir Life with Picasso, Francoise Gilot quoted Matisse:

    As Matisse said, "When I look at a fig tree, every leaf has a different design. They all have their own manner of moving in space; yet in their own separate ways, they all cry, 'Fig tree.'"

    It's one of my Secrets of Adulthood: I'm unique, just like everyone else.

    Do you have any favorite memoirs to recommend? I'm in the mood to read a really terrific memoir. Maybe I'll finally read James Boswell's London Journal.

     

     

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:48:54 on 2017/10/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , , recovery, , Self-knowledge, tattoo   

    Would Your Authentic Self Get a Tattoo? 

    "Untreated substance abuse is often treated as 'cool' and as sort of a counterculture badge of honor, a way of proclaiming, 'Look out, dullards, I'm still dangerous.' Likewise, sobriety is sometimes looked at as a fertile ground for the has-been and those who may have lost their edge. I was always scared of losing mine, and so, with ninety days sober, I got a tattoo to show I was still all about it. However, one of the gifts of recovery is authenticity, finding your true self. Today I know that I don't care so much about being cool, much less edgy. I've seen too many good friends chase that image to the gates of prison, insanity or death. I still like my tattoo, but it means nothing to me now other than being a reminder that I've found my authentic self. And my authentic self is someone who wouldn't get a tattoo."

    --Rob Lowe, Love Life

    I have to say, I'm a huge fan of Rob Lowe's writing. He's very perceptive, and it's clear that being a super-famous Hollywood celebrity gives you a strange and interesting perspective on the world.

    Often, a tattoo does seem like something that is tied deeply to a sense of authenticity -- of revealing something important about ourselves, through our choice of design.

    Would your authentic self get a tattoo -- or do you already have one?

    If not, what design would you choose?

    If so, why did you choose the tattoo you chose?

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:08:19 on 2017/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Self-knowledge,   

    Podcast 128: Connect with TV, Conquering the Snooze Alarm–and Is It Possible to be a Mix of the Four Tendencies? 

    Update: Elizabeth is excited because tomorrow on the “Happier in Hollywood” podcast, she and Sarah talk about a very common happiness stumbling block: self-criticism. When is it helpful, and when is it toxic?

    I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 41 days. So close, and yet so far!

    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:  Connect through television. On episode 9 of “Happier in Hollywood,” the weekly “Hollywood Hack” was to “watch the TV shows your boss watches” to create an easy way to connect.

    But TV is a great way to connect not only with a boss, but also with co-workers, teenagers, grandparents…many relationships. Have you ever used TV to strengthen an important relationship?

    I quote from Tyler Cowen’s Discover You Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Your Motivate Your Dentist.

    Happiness Hack: Put your alarm device across the room, so you have to get out of bed in order to turn off the noise.

    1pix

    Four Tendencies Tip: If you want to take the Quiz, to see whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

    People often suggest that they think they’re a mix of Tendencies, but I argue that just about every one of us does fall into one core Tendency.

    That said, the Tendencies do overlap, and it’s possible to “tip” to a Tendency that overlaps with your core Tendency. For instance, I’m an UPHOLDER/Questioner, and Elizabeth is an OBLIGER/Questioner.

    Listener Question: Debbie asks how to figure out if she truly finds it fun to pursue the outdoor activities that her husband loves.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth has started playing a new app game, Two Dots.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: I managed to stay (reasonably) calm while Eliza and I were shopping for some things she needs for college.


    Three 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.  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.

    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

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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.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 128: Connect with TV, Conquering the Snooze Alarm–and Is It Possible to be a Mix of the Four Tendencies? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:37:20 on 2017/07/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Self-knowledge, ,   

    Do You Face These Common Problems in Happiness and Habits? Here’s Your Answer! 

    For years, I’ve been reading, writing, and talking to people about their happiness and good habits. My preoccupation is: how can we make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative?

    The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better Than Before, and now The Four Tendencies — all, in their own way, address this fundamental question.

    And as I’ve talked to people, certain challenges keep coming up, over and over.

    For years, I was so puzzled by them, I couldn’t stop thinking about them and trying to figure out the answers. Perhaps some sound familiar to you:

    • People can rely on me, so why can’t I rely on myself?
    • Why do people tell me that I ask too many questions?
    • How do I work with someone who refuses to do what I ask?
    • Why do people just do whatever they’re told to do, like lemmings, without demanding good reasons?
    • Why can’t I make myself do anything?
    • Why won’t you change what you’re doing, after I’ve explained the serious consequences of failing to change?
    • Why do people keep telling me I’m uptight?
    • Why do I have writer’s block?
    • How can I deal with someone who keeps telling me what to do?
    • How can I stop my teenager from dropping out of school?
    • How can my team become more effective, with less wasted time and conflict?
    • Why is everything an argument with my child?
    • I’m deeply committed to doing this thing (working on a novel, exercising regularly), so why can’t I do it?
    • Why can’t other people just get their own s!$* done?
    • Why can’t I convince my patients to take their prescriptions?
    • Why does my mother keep emailing me articles?
    • My child is so smart and does well on tests, so why does he refuse to do his homework?
    • How can I help my spouse to lose weight? To exercise?
    • Why can’t I start my side hustle?
    • Why am I always the one asked to pick up the extra work around here?
    • Why is it taking me so long to make this decision?
    • Why can’t my sweetheart be more spontaneous?
    • Why does this person refuse to answer my questions?
    • Why do my co-workers refuse to act with common courtesy — how hard is it to put your mug in the office dishwasher?
    • Why can’t I keep my promises to myself?
    • Why does this employee keep challenging every decision I make?
    • My spouse will do anything to help a client, so why can’t I get any help?

    Why You Act, Why You Don’t

    Perhaps it seems unlikely, but it’s true — the Four Tendencies framework sheds light on all these questions.

    With every single one of these questions, I have an answer that I think can help, using the Four Tendencies.

    To take just one example, I received this email about a teacher who used her knowledge of the Four Tendencies to change her way of working with a Rebel — in a way that allowed that Rebel to succeed:

    I’m a teacher at our local county jail, mostly GED and high school diploma courses. Recently I had a student who was getting in her own way—arguing with the guards and not completing assignments. I believed her when she said that she really wanted to get her GED—yet she wasn’t making progress.

    It dawned on me that she is a Rebel. I shared your theory with her, and it really helped her see herself in a new, more positive way. I stopped asking her to do homework and let her decide each day how she wanted to study: computer software, group lesson, independently, or not at all. As I write this, she has passed five of the five tests, and thus completed her high school equivalency.

    When you know if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, you understand yourself much better — why you act, why you don’t act, why you feel the way you do.

    And as the example above demonstrates, when you understand other people’s Tendencies, you gain great perspective on why they act, why they don’t act, and why they feel the way they do.

    To a degree that astonishes me, simple tweaks in language and circumstances can allow people to do a much better job in dealing with themselves and others.

    I certainly use the Tendencies myself. I’m married to a Questioner, and I’ve learned that I always need to explain the reason if I want him to do something. Even just yesterday. I was filling out a tiresome form that asked for his work address. I called him and asked, “What’s your work address?” He answered, “Why ?”

    Now, if he’d asked me a similar question, I would’ve just answered. I wouldn’t ask why. But my husband wasn’t going to meet even the smallest expectation — tell me your work address — without knowing why.

    That used to bug me. Why wouldn’t he just do what I asked? Why did he slow down the process? Now I don’t get annoyed with him, because I understand his nature.

    Managing yourself, and others, is much easier when you know what to do — and why.

     

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

    Want to learn more about the framework? Order my book The Four Tendencies. All is revealed!

    Want to talk about the Four Tendencies with other people? Join the discussion on my free Better app.

     

    The post Do You Face These Common Problems in Happiness and Habits? Here’s Your Answer! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 19:04:39 on 2017/06/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , emotions, , pegs, , , Self-knowledge, ,   

    Podcast 123: Shield Yourself from Worry, Open Items Carefully, and Use Clothing to Influence Your Attitude. 

    Update: Listeners responded with an example of great side hustles (such as coaching high-school football) and with more ideas about how to deal with home parties.

    Try This at Home: Shield yourself from worry.

    Happiness Hack: Open items carefully. Don’t rip, shred, pull apart — instead, figure out how items are meant to be open, and use it.

    Know Yourself Better: Do you use clothes to transform your mood or put yourself in a certain mindset?

    Listener Question: Bethany and Benjamin ask for advice about how to have a happy experience when getting a new dog.

    As I mention, I wrote this post “7 terrific books if you’re getting a dog.

    I also wrote a post “7 things I learned about myself, from getting a dog.”

    Gretchen’s Demerit: I feel myself starting to “save” a new white shirt. I have to remind myself, over and over, to Spend out (one of my Twelve Personal Commandments).

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the listeners of Happier in Hollywood, her new podcast with her longtime friend and writing partner, Sarah Fain — it has been great to hear from so many people.  To hear them discuss their “Hollywood origin story,” listen to episode 4 — and the debate about whether Sarah should dye her hair is in episode 4, too.

    Three Resources:

      1. I’m obsessed with color, and one fun way to indulge in the pleasure of color is — to color! Want a bonus sheet from my coloring book, The Happiness Project Mini Posters: 20 Hand-lettered Quotes to Pull Out and FrameClick here  to get a PDF of one page from the coloring book. Tag me on Instagram if you color and share it.
      2. If you’d like my Checklist for Habit Change, to help you use the 21 strategies for habit change to improve an important habit in your life, you can click here for the PDF.
      3. The September book tour for The Four Tendencies is set! I’ll be going to New York City (obviously), Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  I hope to see you there — please come, bring friends. Info is 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 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.

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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!

    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 123: Shield Yourself from Worry, Open Items Carefully, and Use Clothing to Influence Your Attitude. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 20:33:55 on 2017/05/30 Permalink
    Tags: adulthood, Self-knowledge,   

    Buying Towels and a Moment of Self-Reflection: I’m Already Grown Up. 

    For a while now, my husband has been talking about wanting new bathroom towels. And he was right, we needed them.

    As an under-buyer, I take great pleasure in the process of wearing things out or using things up — and boy, we got good use out of those towels. They were worn, frayed, torn, stained, and generally in bad shape.

    We were both home on the Monday afternoon of the long weekend, so my husband proposed that we use the time to go towel-shopping.

    We went to Bloomingdale’s, where they stock about a hundred brands of towels. We looked around, identified a mid-range brand (conveniently on sale), and pulled out six white towels to take to the cash register.

    As we were paying, my husband asked, “Are these nice towels?”

    And I said, “Not super-nice, but nice enough. Did you want very nice ones?”

    He said, “No. Just regular towels.”

    And here’s the weird thing: I said to him, “When we’re grown up, we’ll buy really nice towels.”

    And I immediately thought — what am I thinking? When we’re grown up? We’re already grown up! We have a daughter going off to college next year!

    This is something I’ve noticed so often in myself: I have this feeling that everything in my life is…temporary, provisional. That my adult life hasn’t yet truly started or assumed its ultimate form.

    But that’s not true. I’m a grown up already. If I want nice towels, I should buy them now. I can’t expect that one day, I will magically have an adult life, with nice towels or anything else. Everything is as adult, or not-adult, as it will ever be, unless I make a conscious change.

    Do you ever have this feeling? That somehow, you aren’t yet really a grown up? It’s not a Peter Pan, refusing-to-accept-responsibility feeling; it’s that feeling that nothing is yet real or permanent, but that someday, it will become real and permanent.

    Even though I know it won’t.

    Have you had this feeling?

    The post Buying Towels and a Moment of Self-Reflection: I’m Already Grown Up. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 13:43:23 on 2017/05/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Self-knowledge,   

    Podcast 118: Design Your Summer (Again), Start a Podcast Club — and Are You the Difficult One? 

    Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast with her writing partner Sarah FainHappier in Hollywood — has launched! Very exciting. Listen, rate, review, tell your friends, tune in tomorrow to listen to episode 2 for a discussion of bullet journals. Subscribe here.

    Keep those haiku coming! As we discussed in episode 117,  this month we’re posting our haiku on #happierhaiku. It’s so much fun to see everyone’s contribution. (And yes, if you’re wondering, “haiku” is the form for both singular and plural.)

    Our next Very Special Episode will be dedicated to listener questions about the Four Tendencies, so if you have questions or comments, send them in. (Don’t know your Tendency? Take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.)

    Try This at Home: Design your summer. We’ve talked about this idea before, in episode 27 and episode 67. The challenge is to design the summer to be what you want it to be.

    I plan to make lunch dates and to work on My Color Pilgrimage, my book about color.

    Here’s the Robertson Davies quotation that I love:

    “Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather. Circumstances have not allowed me to make a good summer for myself this year…My summer has been overcast by my own heaviness of spirit. I have not had any adventures, and adventures are what make a summer.”
    — Robertson Davies, “Three Worlds, Three Summers,” The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies

    Happiness Hack: Simon suggests, “Start a podcast club. Like a book club, but for podcasts.”

    Elizabeth mentions The New York Times podcast club on Facebook. It’s here.

    Know Yourself Better: Are you the difficult one?

    I mention the great books by professor Bob Sutton: The No A*** Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn’t and his forthcoming The A*** Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt. (I’m omitting certain words not out of prudery, but to avoid triggering a filter.)

    Reading his books got me thinking…how do you know if you’re the difficult one? If you disagree with some of these questions, or would add different questions, let me know.

    –When you do something generous for others, do you think it only right that your generosity will allow you to make decisions for them or direct their actions?

    –Do you often find that when you do something nice for people, they seem ungrateful or uncooperative? For example, you offered to host Thanksgiving dinner, but no one appreciates it.

    –Do you think it’s important to express your true feelings and views authentically, even if that means upsetting other people?

    –Do you find that people seem resentful and angry when you offer helpful criticism or advice?

    -Do you enjoy a good fight?

    –Do you often find yourself saying defensively, “It was just a joke!” Along the same lines, do you find yourself remarking on how other people don’t have a sense of humor, or can’t laugh at a little teasing? [Elizabeth and I talk about the dark side of teasing in episode 32.]

    –Do people tend to gang up against you – when you’re arguing one side, everyone takes the other side, or when one person criticizes you, everyone else chimes in?

    –Do you find it funny to see other people squirm?

    –Do you think it’s useful to point out people’s mistakes, areas of incompetence, or previous track records of failure?

    –Do people volunteer to act as intermediaries for you, rather than let you do your own talking? Your son says, “Let me talk to my wife about it,” rather than have you two talk.

    Listener Question: Katy asks, “How do I overcome my under-buyer reluctance to buy things that I know would make me happier?”

    If you wonder if you’re an under-buyer or an over-buyer, here’s a description.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: She’s been using her “floodrobe” and not hanging up her clothes.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: Gold star to listeners and readers who have sent me links, videos, podcasts, images, and posts about the subject of color. I so appreciate it. All fodder for My Color Pilgrimage!

    Two Resources:

    1.  If you love great quotations, like the one I read from Robertson Davies, you can sign up for my free “Moment of Happiness” newsletter, and I’ll send you a quotation every day about happiness or human nature. Email me or sign up here.
    2. I have a group of Super-Fans, and from time to time, I offer a little bonus or preview or ask for your help. Want to join? Email me or  sign up 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.

    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 Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

     

    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, just launched! Check out Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 118: Design Your Summer (Again), Start a Podcast Club — and Are You the Difficult One? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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