While I was on the Cape, I also read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. I read and loved both The Happiness Project and Happier at Home a few years back and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Gretchen Rubin’s newest book which focuses on habits and habit formation.
Most of my good habits went out the window with my knee injury, and I’ve spent the past year and a half making new habits like sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Now that I’m mobile and my recovery is in full swing (can I get an amen??) it’s time to resurrect my old, healthier habits.
I moved Better Than Before to the top of my summer reading list to give myself an extra jolt of motivation. My biggest take away from the book was an obvious one – I am the only person who can control my habits. So if I want to make a change (or many changes) I need to stop making excuses, roll up my sleeves and just do it.
In the book Gretchen Rubin breaks people into four tendencies: Upholders, Obligers, Questioners and Rebels. Upholders keep commitments to both themselves and others, Obligers are steadfast at keeping commitments to others but struggle to keep commitments to themselves. Questioners tend to only follow through on a commitment if they find it logical and agree that it should be done. And, Rebels act on those things that they want to act on and can be turned off by external expectations.
I self-diagnosed into the Obliger category. It’s much easier for me to follow through on a commitment if I know someone else is depending on me. I hate letting others down, but am not as conscientious about rules, habits and to do’s that I set for myself. With that in mind, I made a mental list of strategies for Obligers as I read and I came away feeling energized and ready to test out what I’d learned.
My birthday seemed like a great time to start fresh so I outlined 8 habits for my 28th year. And, since I respond well to external expectations, I figured sharing them with all of you would help keep me honest. Here they are:
1. When my alarm goes off, I get up – no more snoozing for forty-five minutes before I actually get out of bed.
2. Make the bed everyday – messes stress me out, so making my bed and keeping our room neat is a no-brainer.
3. No sweets Monday through Friday – this will be the hardest habit for me, and likely the one I’ll break the most, but it’s important for keeping my (massive) sweet tooth under control.
4. Improve posture – I can’t tell you how many times my mom told us to “sit up straight” when we were kids.
5. Eat dinner at the table – Tommy and I eat dinner on the couch 99% of the time (so bad!). Now that I don’t need to keep my knee up all the time, I want to make a habit of eating a civilized meal at the dinner table.
6. No popping/picking – I pick at my face constantly and I love to pop pimples, it’s a terrible habit that I need to stop. I know my skin will thank me later.
7. Bedtime is 11pm – Obviously there will be parties, events and other fun things that keep me up late, but on regular nights I need to get to bed early. This will probably be the easiest habit to keep since I get tired early, but it still felt important enough to call out.
8. Figure out my next steps – Do I want to start a Masters? Full-time? Part-time? Online? Traditional? In what field? These are questions that run through my mind on a weekly basis. It’s time to do some soul searching so I can finally answer them and make a plan.
So that’s what I’ll be focusing on for the next year. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. The past two weeks have gone really well – I’ve gotten up on time, made my bed, skipped the weekday sweets and eaten at the table. I’ve left my face alone and have gotten to bed on time too. I feel so much happier and find myself taking pride in each new habit. I especially love the extra time in the morning. It’s so much more relaxing to ease into the day instead of running around like a mad-women.
Tell me about how your habits. Have you read any of GR’s books?