Secrets of Adulthood: What’s Fun for Other People May Not Be Fun for You–and Vice Versa.

From Further Secrets of Adulthood: What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.

This sounds so obvious, but it was a huge revelation for me. Even now, I have to remind myself that people go skiing because they honestly want to go skiing, not because they are made from a sterner moral fiber than I am.

The fact is, nothing’s inherently fun. Shopping, drinking wine, watching sports on TV, crossword puzzles…none of these things are fun for me. But they’re fun for other people. Recently I heard from a reader who thinks it’s fun to balance a checkbook! We all have our own ideas of fun.

When I gave up the fantasy that I “should” find these things fun, I gained more time to spend on the things I do find fun — like reading children’s literature.

How about you? What do you find fun, that others don’t necessarily find fun, and what do other people often enjoy, that you don’t?

Podcast 38: Do You Hate Being Told What to Do? Maybe You’re a Rebel.

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

Update: For our upcoming Very Special Episode, Holiday edition, we want to hear from you: What is your Try This at Home for staying happier, healthier, and more productive over the holidays? It can be a challenge. So let us know what works for you — for dealing with family, for traveling, for managing temptations, anything. We can all learn from each other.

Today is the fourth in the series of four episodes that we’re devoting to the Four Tendencies.  In last week’s episode, we talked about the Obliger Tendency; this week, it’s Rebel.

To find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel,
take the Four Tendencies quiz here.

Try This at Home: Try to come up with a motto for your Tendency.  Fun!

Strengths and Weaknesses of Rebels:  How to identify and take advantage of the strengths, and counter-balance the weaknesses, of the Tendency.

Striking Pattern of Rebels: Whenever a Rebel is in a long-term relationship, whether romantically or at work, it’s almost always with an Obliger.

Another striking pattern: While Rebels want choice and freedom, some Rebels are drawn to areas of high regulation, such as the military, the police, and the clergy.

Listener Questions: “What are some strategies to use if you have a Rebel child?” “How do Rebels manage their inclination to rebel against themselves?” Plus a Rebel weighs in about how she sticks to her good habits.

The Rebel author I mention is Geoff Dyer. I highly recommend his book Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrence as a self-portrait of a Rebel.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth needs to get her car serviced.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I’ve started a new habit: on my Facebook Page, each Sunday evening, I post a photo of all the books I’ve read that week. I love to shine a spotlight on books, and I get a lot of satisfaction from thinking, “Look at what I’ve read.”

Call for comments, questions, observations!

We’ve spent four weeks talking about my Four Tendencies framework for human nature. It has been fascinating. We’ve had so many terrific responses that we’re planning a round-up episode. So if you have more questions or comments, send them in!

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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Happier Podcast #38: Are you a rebel?

We love hearing from listeners

Tell us — did you come up with a motto for your Tendency?

If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies, and want to be notified when my handbook on the subject hits the shelves, text me at 66866 and enter the word “tendencies,” I’ll add you to a list to be notified when it’s ready. You can also sign up here.

There are lots of ways to share your responses or questions:

 

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

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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 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!

Can’t Get Enough of Podcasts? Here’s a List of Interviews.

My sister and I are having so much fun with our new podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. We’ve had more than 4.2 million downloads, just since March! Zoikes. Thanks, listeners.

And I’m lucky, because in addition to doing that podcast, I’ve also had the chance to be the guest on many other people’s podcasts — which has been terrific. It’s been fascinating to get the chance to talk to so many interesting people.

It’s been an education, too, to see how different people, and different podcasts, approach my material and the podcast format. I’m always intrigued by the different directions that the conversations go in — and I often find myself taking notes as the interview is unfolding, because I don’t want to forget some important new point that the interviewer has brought to my attention.

If you’re thinking, “Gretchen, listening to your podcast isn’t nearly enough for me, I want to hear an interview with you on another podcast,” well, thank you! Here’s a menu to choose from.  As you’ll see, they cover a wide range of perspectives, so you can listen to a discussion focused on health, entrepreneurship, creativity, productivity, general happiness…

 

I’m sure I’ve forgotten to add some terrific podcasts to this list. I’ll continue to update this list as new interviews are released.

Speaking of podcasts, what are some of your favorite podcasts? There is so much terrific material to listen to, it can feel overwhelming. But exciting.

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.

“How Does One Find One’s Identity?” What’s Your Answer?

“How does one find one’s identity? My answer would be through work and through love, and both imply giving rather than getting. Each requires discipline, self-mastery, and a kind of selflessness, and they are each lifetime challenges.”

–May Sarton, Recovering: A Journal 1978-1979

Yes, another quotation from May Sarton. I’m slowly working my way through all her journals.

Do you agree? That we find our identity through work and love?