Update: Back by popular demand: every day in January 2018, post a photo on Instagram of something that makes you happier -- and tag your photo with #happierpodcast, because it's so fun to see what people post. And tag us -- I'm @gretchenrubin, and Elizabeth is @lizcraft.
Try This at Home: If you want to make your 2018 a happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative year, use the Checklist for Habit Change. To get your copy, go here and scroll down -- or email me at email@example.com.
Here's a quick list of my 21 strategies:
- The Four Tendencies: To change your habits, you have to know yourself, and in particular, your Tendency. (Are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?)
- Distinctions: Knowing yourself is so important that it's not enough to know your Tendency, you must also recognize your Distinctions. (For instance, are you a Marathoner or Sprinter? Under-buyer or over-buyer? Finisher or Opener? Novelty-lover or Familiarity-lover?)
Pillars of Habits
- Monitoring: You manage what you monitor, so find a way to monitor whatever matters.
- Foundation: First things first, so begin by making sure to get enough sleep, eat and drink right, move, and un-clutter.
- Scheduling: If it’s on the calendar, it happens.
- Accountability: You do better when you know someone's watching--even if you're the one doing the watching.
The Best Time to Begin
- First Steps: It's enough to begin; if you're ready, begin now.
- Clean Slate: Temporary becomes permanent, so start the way you want to continue.
- Lightning Bolt: A single idea can change the habits of a lifetime, overnight. (Enormously powerful, but hard to invoke on command.)
Desire, Ease, and Excuses
- Abstaining: For some of us, moderation is too tough; it's easier to give up something altogether. (Works very well for some people, and not at all for others.)
- Convenience: Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
- Inconvenience: Change your surroundings, not yourself.
- Safeguards: Plan to fail.
- Loophole-Spotting: Don't kid yourself. (The funniest strategy. I love collecting loopholes.)
- Distraction: Wait fifteen minutes.
- Reward: The reward for a good habit is the good habit, and that's the reward to give yourself. (The most misunderstood strategy.)
- Treats: It's easier to ask more of yourself when you're giving more to yourself. (The most fun strategy.) I mention the photo app TimeHop, which I use as a little treat.
- Pairing: Only do X when you're doing Y. (Simple but surprisingly effective.)
Unique, Just like Everyone Else
- Clarity: The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to stick to your habits.
- Identity: Your habits reflect your identity, so if you struggle to change a particular habit, re-think your identity.
- Other People: Your habits rub off on other people, and their habits rub off on you.
Holiday Hack Round-Up: We feature many of the most helpful holiday hacks from listeners -- so many great ideas for making the holidays a happier time.
Here's the post I mention: Resentful? Overworked? Face these painful facts about shared work.
Thanks, listeners, for so many terrific hacks!
Elizabeth's Demerit: Elizabeth has allowed Jack to watch too much TV news.
Gretchen's Gold Star: During my recent trip, as I traveled around London, I studied maps to learn my way around the city better. I plan to do this for L.A., too.
- To get the Checklist for Habit Change, go here and scroll down.
- If you'd like to check out the Better Than Before Day-by-Day Journal, it's here. It's a journal with tips, strategies, charts, and other tools to help you track and change your habits.