Tag Archives: Strategy of Monitoring

Podcast 41: Take One Thing with You, the Challenge of Impulse Buying, and I Need to Get Back to the Gym.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: Elizabeth’s trip to New York City, sadly, got cancelled.

Try This at Home: Take one thing with you. A clutter-busting strategy. Yes, this is so simple that it sounds dumb, but try it!

Happiness Stumbling Block: Impulse buying. We talk a lot about two strategies from Better than Before: the Strategy of Inconvenience and the Strategy of Monitoring.

We also talk about under-buyers and over-buyers.

Listener Question: “I have a lot to be grateful for, but I still don’t call myself a happy person. Why?”

Elizabeth works in a plug for my Super Soul Sunday appearance with Oprah. What a nice sister.

Gretchen’s Demerit:  Since we got Barnaby, I’ve stopped going to my cardio gym.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s sister-in-law Michelle did a great job hosting Thanksgiving.

Call for comments, questions, observations!

In a few weeks, we’re going to do a round-up episode on the Four Tendencies. We’ve had so many great comments from listeners, so we want to highlight some responses — and we want more. In particular, we want to throw out a few questions.

Can you think of some famous examples of the Four Tendencies? For instance, Hermione Granger. Textbook Upholder!

Do you like your Tendency? Why or why not?

Obligers, if you’re experiencing Obliger-rebellion, I’d love to hear your experience. Especially how you got out of Obliger-rebellion.

If you’re paired with a Rebel, at home or at work, how does that work for you?

 

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 a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

Also, 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 20% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin #41 - Listen at Happiercast.com/41

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.

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.)

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

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 toHappier 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!

HAPPIER listening!

The Secret Weapon to Help You Stick to Your Good Habits.

It’s been so satisfying to have Better Than Before out in the world. (And, I must admit, also very satisfying that it’s a bestseller.)

It’s fascinating to me to hear how people respond to it — what ideas they find most helpful or most surprising, and how they use the habit strategies themselves.

In particular, many people have asked me for the starter kit, for people who want to launch a Better Than Before habits group, where people work on their habits together.

It’s clear to me why so many people want it. For many, many people, the secret weapon of habit-change is outer accountability.

In Better Than Before, I identify the “Four Tendencies“: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Your Tendency makes a big difference when it comes to how you can most easily change your habits. (To take the quiz to identify your Tendency, go here.)

The biggest group? Obliger. Obligers readily meet outer expectations, like work deadlines, but struggle to meet inner expectations, like a New Year’s resolution.

Like my friend who never missed track practice in high school, but can’t get herself to go running now.

Understand the Patterns in Your Behavior

For Obligers, it’s often a huge revelation to understand the pattern of their behavior: When they have external accountability, they follow through. When they don’t have it, they struggle.

And, once Obligers understand that external accountability is the key to sticking to their good habits, they often want to figure out ways to give themselves that crucial accountability. Which is a great idea.

One of the best ways to build good habits and happiness effectively – and also one of the most fun ways – is to join or start a habits group.

Some solutions to getting accountability — like hiring a coach, working with a trainer, or taking a class — work extremely well, but they carry a cost; starting a habits group is free.

Consider a Habits Change Group

For this reason, I created a “starter kit” for starting a Better Than Before habits change group. If you’d like the starter kit, email me at gretchenrubin1 at gretchenrubin dot com.

Better Than Before habits groups swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give energy and encouragement, and —  most important — provide accountability. (Think AA and Weight Watchers.)

People in the group don’t have to be working on the same habits; it’s enough that they hold each other accountable. One person might need accountability to write a novel; another, to get a massage; another, to give up fast food.

Track Your Habits

Another tool that I created to help people stick to their good habits is the Better Than Before Day-by-Day Journal. It has writing prompts to help guide you through ways to strengthen your habits, and helps you track your habits — I particularly like its “don’t break the chain” feature, because that approach works for so many people.

If you do form a habits group, you could use the Journal to help kick off discussion and to help people report back accurately. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t write something down, I forget it immediately.

Accountability can be useful for most people, but it’s true that for some people (Rebels) it can be counter-productive, and for some people (Obligers), it’s essential. This is a good example of something from my Habits Manifesto: We’re not much different from other people, but those differences are very important.

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. Research shows that they shape about 40% of our daily experiences, so if we have habits that work for us, we’re far more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive.

Change our habits, change our lives.

Podcast 16: Imitate a Spiritual Master, Try the Strategy of Monitoring, and Acknowledge the Pink Eye.

It’s Wednesday — which means it’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Did I mention that according to BuzzFeed, the podcast is life-changing? Oh right, maybe I did. Anyway, check out 10 Life-Changing Things to Try in June.

Coming up: To celebrate our 20th episode, we’re going to do an episode that features our listeners. So call, email, post your response by June 24, 2015, to one of these questions:

— if you could change one aspect of a relationship, what would you change? Huge, trivial, any relationship.

— what happiness demerit would you give yourself? what gold star would you bestow?

Thanks so much to the folks who have already sent in comments. Fascinating.

henrymolofskyExciting big reveal: Listeners, “Henry Molofsky” is no longer just a name that we list in the credits at the end of the show. Our producer/captive audience Henry steps up to the microphone to share what he’s tried at home, and what works for him.

Try This at HomeImitate a spiritual master. My spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, and her spiritual memoir (if you’re curious) is Story of a Soul. I was surprised to hear the person that Elizabeth picked as her spiritual master! Hint: that person’s autobiography is called Audition. (Sorry, I promised to post a photo of my shrine to St. Therese, but I’m in Australia now, and I forgot to take the picture before I left town.)

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: We discuss the power of the Strategy of Monitoring. Elizabeth explains why this strategy is particularly helpful to her as a type 1 diabetic.

Listener Question: “How do you remain happy through a transition?”

Gretchen’s Demerit: I ignored my pink eye.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s friend Mindy Wilson gets a gold star for giving Elizabeth a cookbook – with the knowledge that Elizabeth is an Obliger, and is much more likely to cook if she knows Mindy (and we) are expecting it.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors. Check out Smith and Noble, a solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

And 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 20% off your first Framebridge order.

We’d love to hear from you — who is your spiritual master, and how do you imitate that person? Comment here, or even better, post a photo of it on Facebook! Also let us know your questions and any other comments, especially for the Very Special Episode.

Comment below. Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Call: (774 HAPPY 336).  Facebook Page.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

Or if you’re reading this post by email, click here to view online, to listen to the podcast from this post.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier 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!

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. Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you want 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.

Again, be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. 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.)

HAPPIER listening!

Video: For Habits, Try the Strategy of Monitoring.

This week’s video: I’m starting a 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 book describes the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits. To hear when the book goes on sale, sign up here.

Last week was the Strategy of Self-Knowledge. This is the first, crucial strategy.

This week — the Strategy of Monitoring. (Which is one of the four “Pillars of Habits, ” along with the Strategies of Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability.)

Please excuse the typo in the video. I see it, but I can’t easily fix it. (Secret of Adulthood: Flawed can be more perfect than perfection. Right?)

 

Monitoring is an observational strategy. It doesn’t require that I change what I’m doing, only that I know what I’m doing. This is crucial to habit formation, because once I recognize what I’m doing, I may choose to behave differently.

Monitoring has an almost uncanny power. It doesn’t require change, but it often leads to change, because people who keep close track of just about anything tend to do a better job of managing it. Tracking boosts self-control in key categories such as eating, drinking, exercising, working, TV- and internet-use, spending—and just about anything else.

It’s a Secret of Adulthood for habits: “We manage what we monitor.” Self-measurement brings self-awareness, and self-awareness strengthens our self-control. And on the flip side, anything that makes us lose self-awareness weakens our self-mastery. Alcohol makes it all too easy to place giant bets at a casino; a long, stressful day can lead to a night of online binge-shopping; vacationing with a group of friends can make it easy to blow through a personal budget.

Actual measurement is crucial, because when we guess what we’re doing, we’re often wildly inaccurate. Unsurprisingly, we tend to under-estimate how much we eat and over-estimate how much we exercise.

Have you found ways to monitor yourself — and did you find that it changed your habits?

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.