Gretchen Rubin

Podcast 148: Use the Checklist for Habit Change to Master a Habit in 2018–Plus Lots of Holiday Hacks.

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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 protected]

Here's a quick list of my 21 strategies:

Self-Knowledge

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.


Resource:

  1. To get the Checklist for Habit Change, go here and scroll down.
  2. 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.

Remember, I do a weekly live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.”  To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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