I’m writing my next book, Better Than Before, about how we make and break habits–an issue very relevant to happiness. Each week, I’ll post a before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully changed a habit. We can all learn from each other.
This week’s before-and-after story comes from Kay Walker.
One of my adult sons shared your video on the four types of people with regards to habits. I immediately recognized myself as an Obliger. My other grown son also watched the video and saw himself as an Obliger as well.
During a conversation, we both lamented the fact that we can never make ourselves get up and accomplish our morning goals for ourselves. It was riding my stationary bike for me, and some breathing exercises and elliptical training for my son. We somehow thought of the idea of becoming that external accountability for each other. We decided to email each other each morning with our morning status, stating what we did to work toward our goals. It has been truly amazing for both of us.
I am now able to get up immediately when my alarm goes off (or before!), and get on my bike and meet my goal each day. The first couple of weeks I intentionally skipped a morning for a day when I had an early appointment or was going out of town. But this past week, I rode my bike five days straight, over 5 miles each day and had my first ever 25 plus mile week. My son is also accomplishing his goals every day. It has been so helpful to finally understand what we both needed to be successful with our goals and habits. And to find such an easy way to make this positive change become a habit…priceless!
The unexpected bonus for me has been the way I feel about myself the rest of the day. That positive habit carries over into other positive behaviors and higher self esteem, more energy, and an uplifted mood as I start my day!
This is a great example of using the Rubin Tendencies to figure out how to set yourself up for success with a new habit. Obligers need external accountability—that is crucial for Obligers—and Kay and her son decided to be accountability partners for each other. Excellent.
Also, Kay notes that mastering this one good habit makes her day better. Exercise generally lifts people’s spirits and gives them more energy; also, research shows, that people who foster one healthy habit—especially the habit of exercise, for some reason—tend to see a boost in their ability to stick to other unrelated healthy habits.
How about you? have you tried to shape a habit according to your Rubin Tendency? Have you ever made progress with an “accountability partner”?
From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.