Tag Archives: moving

Video: For Habits, the Strategy of the Clean Slate.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the various strategies that we can use for habit-formation.

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 forthcoming book, Better Than Before, describes the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits. To hear when it goes on sale, sign up here.

Today, I’m talking about the Strategy of the Clean Slate.

It’s one of three strategies that take their power from beginnings, and it’s particularly related to the Strategy of First Steps.

 

The slate may be wiped clean by a change in personal relationships: marriage, divorce, a new baby, a new puppy, a break-up, a new friend, a death. Or the slate may be wiped clean by a change in surroundings: a new apartment, a new city, even rearranged furniture. Or some major aspect of life may change: a new job, a new school, a new doctor.

Even minor changes can amount to a clean slate — a change as seemingly insignificant as taking a different route to work, or watching TV in a different room.

The Clean Slate is so powerful that it’s a shame not to exploit it. For example, in one study of people trying to make a change — such as change in career or education, relationships, addictive behaviors, health behaviors such as dieting, or change in perspective — 36% of successful changes were associated with a move to a new location.

So take advantage whenever the slate is wiped clean, as a moment to change a habit.

Have you experienced this? Did you find that you changed a big habit after a major change, such as getting married, or getting divorced, or moving, or starting a new job? Or after a small change?

13 Tips for Being Happy in Your New Home.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.

This Wednesday: Thirteen tips for being happy in your new home.

I’ve heard that a lot of people are giving Happier at Home as a gift to someone with a new home–recent grad, new roommate, newlywed, newly divorced, empty nester, downsizer, upsizer, new baby, new city. At times of transition like these, we give special thought to what we want from “home.” So, to make such a gift a little more special, I’m creating a card about “Tips for being happy in your new home” that I can sign and mail to anyone who wants it.

Here’s what I’ve written. What should I add?

Remember to take advantage of the features that you drew you to your home. Take time to light a fire in the fireplace, have coffee on the patio, take a bath in the beautiful tub.

Make your bed.

Be a tourist without leaving home. A tourist reads and studies, a tourist shows up, a tourist looks at things with fresh eyes.

Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer.

Enjoy the good smells of home. Take a moment to appreciate the fragrance of a grapefruit or freshly laundered towels.

If something’s important to you, make a space for it in your home. Build a shrine to music, to arts and crafts, to family.

Moving to a new home is a rare opportunity to build good habits and break bad habits. Start going for a walk every morning, or quit smoking, as part of your new routine.

Always put your wallet and keys away in the same place.

Except for holiday decorations, seasonal items, and hand-me-downs that will be used in the next few years, be very wary of “storing” things. If you plan to store it away in an inaccessible place, why are you keeping it?

Every room should include something purple.

Shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, ask yourself: Do we need this thing? Do we love this thing? Do we use this thing? If not, consider tossing, recycling, or donating it.

No one regrets replacing a burned-out light-bulb.

Give a warm greeting or farewell every time someone comes or goes from your home.

What have I left out? What would you add?

Note about the photo: this is a Christmas ornament in the shape of a miniature Fisher-Price “Play Family” house–just like the one that my sister and I played with throughout our childhoods, and that my daughters play with when we visit Kansas City. I took the photo for Happier at Home; this ornament is one of my mementos from the project of writing the book.