Category Archives: Video: Habit Strategy

Habit Strategies and Tips for Rebels

After my book Better Than Before hit the shelves, I was surprised by how many Rebels contacted me to request more information about how to harness their Tendency.

As I was writing Better Than Before, I’d assumed that a) Rebels wouldn’t want to read a book about habits, and that b) Rebels weren’t interested in trying to foster habits.

Well, I was wrong! Many Rebels are very interested in learning how to harness the tremendous strengths of both habits and of the Rebel Tendency to help themselves become happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

The Rebel section of The Four Tendencies is actually one of the longest sections, because there’s so much to say, and so much to try, that can work well for Rebels. I include dozens of examples, including many from Rebels themselves.

One  general challenge, however, is that many strategies that work well for other Tendencies — such as the Strategies of Accountability, Monitoring, or Scheduling — don’t work well for most Rebels. And some popular strategies — such as the Strategies of Convenience, Other People, and Reward — must be carefully adapted for the Rebel perspective.

If you are a Rebel, or you’re working with a Rebel, it’s a huge help to recognize that fact! You will have far greater success if you approach the situation in a Rebel-specific way.

In a nutshell: Rebels resist all expectations, both inner and outer alike. They want to do what they want to do, in their own way, in their own time — and if you ask or tell them to do something, they’re very likely to resist.

Watch this short video to learn more about the Rebel Tendency:

Habit Strategies that Work Best for Rebels:

In Better Than Before , I describe the 21 strategies that we can use to make or break our habits. Twenty-one is a lot, but that’s good — some of the strategies work well for some people, but not others. This is especially true for Rebels. For Rebels, the key strategies are:

Strategy of Identity (most important for Rebels)

For Rebels, the most effective habit-change strategy is the Strategy of Identity. Because Rebels place great value on being true to themselves, they can embrace a habit if they view it as a way to express their identity. “I quit sugar because I respect my body. I want to give myself energy and good health by eating only healthy foods.”

 Strategy of Clarity

The Strategy of Clarity works for Rebels, because it focuses on why a habit might have personal value for them. The more Rebels think about what they want, and why they want it, the more effectively they pursue it. “I attend this optional seminar about Photoshop because I’m a creative, curious person who loves to learn about new tools and methods. This class is giving me the knowledge I crave.”

Strategy of Convenience

Instead of trying to commit to scheduling a habit, Rebels often do habit-behaviors as soon as they feel like it. “What a gorgeous day! I feel like going for a run.”

Strategy of Other People

The Strategy of Other People is also a useful strategy for Rebels to consider; Rebels love doing things differently from other people. They do an obscure kind of yoga, run barefoot, exercise late at night. One Rebel wrote to tell me how much she loved being a female bodybuilder.

Note: Rebels tend to resist if you ask or tell them to do anything. It’s very important—but challenging—to avoid setting off their spirit of resistance.

Also, many of the 21 strategies that work well for other Tendencies typically don’t work for Rebels: for instance, Strategies of Scheduling, Accountability, Monitoring, or Rewards.

Looking for strategies for Upholders, Questioners, and Obligers? Click here.

Rebels may also enjoy this interview on the “Happier” podcast, when Elizabeth and I talked to the brilliant Chris Guillebeau, who’s a Rebel.

Chris is the host of the terrific podcast “Side Hustle School,” which aims to help people start side hustles to give themselves more freedom, career choice, and outlets for expression of their interests and talents. Freedom, choice, doing things your own way…do those values sound familiar? Rebel! Though lots of people who aren’t Rebels love side hustles, too, of course.

Join the Discussion

If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies, and want to join the lively discussion on my Better app, sign up! It’s free. You can start or join an accountability group (Obligers, I know many of you want to do that!), ask questions, have discussions about your own Tendency or dealing with someone else’s Tendency. Say, you’re a Rebel who is having trouble controlling your blood sugar, or you’re the parent of a Rebel who wants to drop out of high school. You can swap questions, ideas, and solutions.

Video: Why Having Clarity of Values and Clarity of Action Helps Us Keep Our Habits.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the various strategies that we can use for habit-formation. I posted videos for the other twenty strategies a while back, but somehow, I never posted about the Strategy of Clarity! A very important strategy. So, voila.

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life, and a significant element of happiness. If we have habits that work for us, we’re much more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative.

My book, Better Than Before (can’t resist adding, bestseller) describes the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits.

I spend a lot of time thinking about questions such as, “How do we change?” “Why is it so hard to make ourselves do things that we want to do?” ( for instance, why is it so hard to make myself go to bed?) and “How can we stick to our resolutions?“

I realize now that a big challenge is clarity. Often, if there’s something that I want to do, but somehow can’t get myself to do, it’s because I don’t have clarity. This lack of clarity often arises from a feeling of ambivalence–I want to do something, but I don’t want to do it; or I want one thing, but I also want something else that conflicts with it.

 

Lack of clarity, and the paralysis that ensues, seems to be common. Here’s a list of aims in conflict that I’ve heard. Do any ring a bell for you?

  • I want to eat healthfully. It’s wrong to waste any food.

    I want to give 110% to work. I want to give 110% to my family.

    I want to work on my novel. I want to exercise.

    I want to spend less time in the car. I want my children to participate in many after-school activities.

    Making money is not important. Making money is important.

    I want to be very accessible to other people. I want time alone to think and work.

    I want to be a polite guest. I want to avoid sugar.

    I want leisure time when I come home from work. I want to live in a house that’s clean and well-run.

 

Have you experienced this — a paralysis that comes from conflicting values?

I have to admit, I’d been researching and thinking about habits for a long time before I grasped the significance of the Strategy of Clarity. It’s very, very important.

Video: “What’s One Cupcake?” and the One-Coin Loophole.

In my latest (bestselling) book, Better Than Before, I identify the twenty-one strategies of habit-formation, and one is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the ten categories of loopholes. I love studying loopholes, because they’re so funny. And ingenious! We’re such great advocates for ourselves — in any situation, we can always think of some loophole to invoke.

What is a “loophole?”

When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps reject them.

In Better Than Before, I describe all ten categories of loopholes; in this video series. I’ve described them, one by one.

The final loophole: The one-coin loophole. This is a very dangerous loophole, because it always applies, and it’s always true! Beware!

 

I haven’t worked on that project for such a long time, there’s no point in working on it this morning.

 

One beer won’t make a difference.

 

What difference does it make if I spend this afternoon at the library or at a video arcade?

 

Why work on my report today, when the deadline is so far away?

 

Why should I bother to wear my bike helmet today?

If you want to know why it’s called the “one-coin loophole,” I explain in the video. Here’s the book I mention: a footnote in Erasmus’s Praise of Folly.

Do you find yourself invoking this all-too-applicable loophole? In what context?

It’s dangerous because it’s true.

Video: “You Only Live Once,” “Life’s Too Short to Skip the Brownie,” and the Fake Self-Actualization Loophole.

In my latest (bestselling) book, Better Than Before, I identify the twenty-one strategies of habit-formation, and one is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the ten categories of loopholes. I love studying loopholes, because they’re so funny. And ingenious! We’re such great advocates for ourselves — in any situation, we can always think of some loophole to invoke.

What is a “loophole?”

When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can (more…)

Video: “I Travel All the Time,” and the Lack-of-Control Loophole for Habits.

In my latest (bestselling) book, Better Than Before, I identify the twenty-one strategies of habit-formation, and one is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the ten categories of loopholes. I love studying loopholes, because they’re so funny. And ingenious! We’re such great advocates for ourselves — in any situation, we can always think of some loophole to invoke.

What is a “loophole?”

When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps reject them.

In Better Than Before, I describe all ten categories of loopholes; in this video series. I’ll describe them, one by one.

Seventh of ten loopholes: Lack of Control loophole.

This is a very popular loophole. We argue that we don’t have control over the situation, and circumstances have forced us to break a habit. However, usually we have more control than we admit.

 

Lack of Control Loophole Examples

The dog ate my homework.

Alcoholics can quit drinking, and smokers can quit smoking, but I can’t quit eating. (I can’t quit eating, but I can quit eating sugar, or grains, or processed food.)

I’m too stressed to deal with this now.

I travel all the time.

The subway always makes me late.

This snack has been specially engineered by the food industry to be irresistible.

My favorite trainer quit.

My kids take up all my time.

The church’s annual Fathers’ Day Breakfast has always been all-you-can-eat.

We opened a bottle of wine, so we have to finish it.

Do you ever find yourself invoking the Lack of Control loophole? It’s super-sneaky, in my experience. Very easy to invoke without even realizing it.

Did you notice that in the video, my example of the “irresistible food” is Froot Loops? Get the joke?