Tag Archives: resolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happiness Stumbling Block: What will “they” think?

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

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

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


Free Resources:

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

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

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

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

Also check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

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

We love hearing from listeners:

 

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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!

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

A Little Happier: We’re all getting geared up for 2017, and January 1 is often a prompt that people use to reflect on ways to make life happier in the new year.

This week’s holiday hack is to choose one word, or a short phrase, to sum up what we want to focus on for the new year. When we distill our aims into a single word or phrase, it’s easier to remember it — and to take action.

In the past, I’ve picked words and phrases like “Upgrade” and “Lighten Up.” This year, I’m picking “Re-purpose.” I want to tackle the question: How can I make more of what I already have?

Elizabeth has picked words like “Free Time,” “Style,” “Hot Wheels,” “Novel” — this year, she’s picking “Home.” Her renovation is finally almost finished!

If this one-word theme “Home” appeals to you, you might enjoy my book Happier at Home — it’s all about how to be (surprise) happier at home.

In the past, we’ve heard from listeners that they’ve picked terrific, thought-provoking one-word themes like Adventure, Renew, Energize, Travel, Rest, Finish.

What one-word theme will you choose for 2017?

 

Check out LOFT.com — it’s a great go-to spot to pull together modern,  feminine outfits for all your holiday adventures.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Happier listening!

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

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

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

I indulged in a modest splurge a few days ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Love Paradoxes? Embrace Happiness Paradoxes.

I’ve always loved paradoxes and koans, and was very struck by an observation by physicist Niels Bohr: “There are trivial truths and great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.”

This is very true in the area of happiness, and in particular, I’ve noticed it with my resolutions. In many cases, my most important resolutions come paired with the opposite resolutions, and yet both are important to my happiness.

This tension was beautifully illustrated in a novel I love, Vikram Chandra’s mesmerizing Sacred Games. “Sartaj was thinking about how uncanny an animal this life was, that you had to seize it and let go of it at the same time, that you had to enjoy but also plan, live every minute and die every moment.”

Of everything I’ve ever written, I think this short paradox–The days are long, but the years are short–resonates most with people. (Watch the one-minute video here.)

I want to Be Gretchen and accept myself, but I also want to perfect my nature (as this entire project demonstrates). I want to think about myself so I can forget myself. I want to work on my own happiness so I can make other people happier.

I want to lighten up and not take myself so seriously — but I also want to take myself more seriously.

I want to spend my time efficiently and not waste it, but I also want to wander, to play, to fail, to read at whim.

I want to be free from envy and fear of the future, and live fully in the present moment — but not lose my ambition.

Control and mastery are key elements of happiness; so are novelty and challenge.

Everything matters, and nothing matters. As Samuel Butler wrote in his Notebooks, “Everything matters more than we think it does, and, at the same time, nothing matters so much as we think it does. The merest spark may set all Europe in a blaze, but though all Europe be set in a blaze twenty times over, the world will wag itself right again.”

Happiness doesn’t always make me feel happier.

Somewhere, keep an empty shelf; somewhere, keep a junk drawer.

Flawed can be more perfect than perfection. In Japanese, there is a beautiful term, wabi-sabi, which describes the special beauty of the imperfect, the incomplete, and the transient. Superficially similar, but actually different in meaning (as I understand it), is the phrase from software development, Worse is better.

Go slow to go fast.

Do it now. Wait.

A few years ago, my one-word theme for the year was Bigger. My sister chose Smaller.

Have you found any paradoxes that have been important to your happiness? Contrary resolutions that you try to follow in both directions?

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

My Latest Resolution: Clean While I Cook.

I’ve cribbed some of my favorite resolutions from other people, and when a thoughtful reader posted that one of her resolutions is to “Clean while I cook,” I immediately decided to adopt that for my own.

“Clean while I cook” isn’t just about cooking, of course. It’s about cleaning up after myself along the way, instead of letting clutter and chores build up around me. I’ve always tried to push myself to behave this way, but for some reason, this formulation has really stuck in my mind.

For instance, I’m trying to follow “Clean while I cook” by also following the resolution to “Hang up clothes while I change clothes.” I tend to throw clothes all over the bedroom as I change from one outfit to another, and to leave them there for a few days, and it looks very messy. I’m trying to do a better job of putting clothes away as soon as I take them off. My husband sets a good example here: he always puts his clothes away. (Except his socks. He leaves his dirty socks on the floor, but because I get a strange sense of satisfaction from putting clothes in the hamper, this doesn’t bother me.)

One advantage of the “Clean while I cook” approach is that instead of tackling one large task, I handle many small tasks, as they arise. It’s all too easy to procrastinate with big tasks, and it feels much more manageable to cultivate the habit of doing smaller chores. As Anthony Trollope observed, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”

It’s helpful, too, to think about the resolution to “Clean while I cook” in relationship to the cooking term mis-en-place.

Mis-en-place describes the preparation done before starting the actual cooking: gathering ingredients and implements, chopping, measuring, and all the rest. Mis-en-place is preparation, but it’s also a state of mind; mis-en-place means you have everything at the ready, with no need to run out to the store or begin a frantic search for a sifter. You’re truly ready to begin to work.

I find that when I make the effort to prepare properly, and then to clean up after myself as I go, tasks proceed much more smoothly. And almost nothing is more satisfying than working easily and well.

How about you? Do you push yourself to clean while you cook—literally or metaphorically? Does it make a difference?

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

* I’m having fun with the site Pinterest, which allows you to pin the images that interest you onto a board (get it? “pinterest”). Check out the site, check out my boards. If you’d like to get an invitation to join, just email me at gretchenrubin1@gretchenrubin.com, and I’ll send you one.