Tagged: Self-knowledge Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • 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

    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.

    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.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

     

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 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.

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

    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.

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:20:06 on 2017/05/17 Permalink
    Tags: , haiku, , , Self-knowledge   

    Podcast 117: Are You a “Revealer” or a “Concealer,” Write a Haiku, and How Introverted Parents Can Manage an Extroverted Child. 

    Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches tomorrow, May 18! In the first episode, Liz (yes, she’s “Liz” on that show) and Sarah pick a new work mantra and talk to their agent about one of the worst calls he ever had to make to them. Listen, rate, review, tell your friends, have some green juice while you tune in.

    Happiness Hack:  Katy suggests, “YouTube it.”  YouTube videos explain how to do just about anything.

    Try This at Home:  Write a haiku. A haiku is a form of three-line Japanese poem with one five-syllable line; one seven-syllable line; one five-syllable line.

    Here are my two haiku:

    Where did the time go?

    My girl is off to college.

    Days are long; years, short.

    I express this idea in a different form in my one-minute video “The Years Are Short.”

    Central Park in bloom.

    This year, I made sure to go.

    Spring passes too fast.

    Elizabeth’s haiku:

    Nerves are a-flutter

    Happier in Hollywood...

    What will it become?

    Post your haiku on Twitter! Tag it as #happierhaiku so we can all enjoy them.

    Know Yourself Better: Harriet suggests asking, “Are you a ‘revealer’ or a ‘concealer?‘” I write about this distinction in Better Than Before — for some people, announcing a habit change makes it easier to follow through, while for other people, it makes it tougher.

    If you don’t know your Tendency, take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Listener Question: Cara asks, “How do we as introverted parents deal with our very extroverted child?” This question brings up the issue of the extroversion/introversion difference, which we discuss with Susan Cain in episode 107.

    Demerit: Yet again, I “snapped” — this time, I made a snappy comment to my husband Jamie while we were planning the summer.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the Amazon TV show Mozart in the Jungle.

    Two Resources:

    1.  I created the free Better app for people to exchange ideas and tips about the Four Tendencies, and Better app also makes it super-easy to form accountability groups of all kinds.
    2. Subscribe to Happier in Hollywood!

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

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

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Also check out 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.

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that on May 18.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 117: Are You a “Revealer” or a “Concealer,” Write a Haiku, and How Introverted Parents Can Manage an Extroverted Child. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:12:07 on 2017/05/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , motivation, Self-knowledge,   

    Warning! Don’t Expect to Be Motivated by Motivation. 

    I really dislike the word “motivation.” I try never to use it.

    In writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, and in talking to people about their desired habits, the term “motivation” came up a lot.

    And here’s why I don’t like it: People use the term to describe their desire for a particular outcome (“I’m really motivated to lose weight”) as well as their reasons for actually acting in a certain way (“I go to the gym because I’m motivated to exercise”). Desire and action are mixed up in a very confusing way.

    To make it even more confusing, people often say they’re “motivated” to do something when what they mean is, “My doctor and my family tell me that I need to quit smoking, and I know it would be healthier and cheaper to quit smoking, and I wish I would quit smoking, but I have no desire to quit and no intention to try to quit. But am I motivated to quit smoking? Oh, sure.”

    People often tell me that they’re highly motivated to achieve a certain aim, but when I press, it turns out that while they passionately wish they could achieve an outcome, they aren’t doing anything about it. So what does it mean to say they’re “motivated?” No idea. That’s why I don’t use the word.

    In fact, people aren’t motivated by motivation.

    Expert advice often focuses on motivation, by telling people that they just need more motivation to follow through. This may work in a certain way, for certain people (see below), but not for everyone.

    The bad result of this advice is that some people spend a lot of time whipping themselves into a frenzy of thinking how much they want a certain outcome, as if desire will drive behavior. And it rarely does.

    Instead of thinking about motivation, I argue that we should think about aims, and then concrete, practical, realistic steps to take us closer to our aims.

    Instead of thinking, “I want to lose weight so badly,” think instead about the concrete steps to take, “I’ll bring lunch from home,” “I won’t use the vending machine,” “I won’t eat fast food,” “I’ll quit sugar,” “I’ll cook dinner at home at least four nights a week,” “I’ll go to the farmer’s market on Saturdays, to load up on great produce.”

    Of course, in Better Than Before, I argue that it’s a lot easier to follow through with such steps consistently if you make them into habits.

    The great thing about habits is that you don’t need to feel “motivated!” And that’s important because again, motivation doesn’t actually matter much, if what you mean by that is “How badly do you want this?”

    In my forthcoming book, The Four Tendencies, I do talk about how thinking about reasons for action can help some people to act, and how desire does help some people to act — but that’s not the same as motivation.

    For Upholders and Questioners, thinking about reasons helps.

    For Rebels, thinking about desire helps.

    For Obligers, outer accountability is the crucial element. What does this mean? It means that Obligers are the least likely to be helped by thinking about “motivation.” And guess what? They’re the Tendency that talks most about motivation! They keep trying to amp up their motivation, and then they get frustrated because that doesn’t work. Nope. Obligers should focus on systems of outer accountability.

    So whenever catch myself saying or writing, “I’m really motivated to do ___,” I stop and think: “What do I want, and why do I want it? And given that, what steps can I take to achieve my aim?”

    Because we really can’t expect to be motivated by motivation.

    The post Warning! Don’t Expect to Be Motivated by Motivation. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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