Thursday, March 03, 2016

How to build better habits

I just read the book Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Here are some ways from the book that you can use to build better habits.

1. Know yourself. If you know what things motivate you to change, you can build better habits. She puts people into four categories in how they meet inner and outer expectations.

If you can easily meet the goals that you set and those set by other people, you’re an Upholder. You can build habits and finish goals whether you set it yourself or others make it.

If it’s easier for you to meet the expectations of other people than your own, you’re an Obliger. For example, you can finish the demands of your boss and the wants of your family, but you struggle meeting your new year’s resolutions.

If you meet your inner expectations better than the expecations of other people, you might be a Questioner. This person asks about whether a goal is important. They usually ask why should we do this, but if they decide that a habit is vital, they will readily do it.

If you don’t meet your own goals and the expectations of people, you may be a rebel. For a rebel, identity is important.

2. Set yourself up for success. Rubin enumerates four basic habits that are the foundation for good living and for all other habits: eating, sleeping,  exercising, and uncluttering. We all know that if we eat, sleep, and exercise well, we will be healthy.

So the surprise habit is uncluttering. For her, outer order brings inner calm. If we see that our room or environment is tidy and clean, our mind can focus on what is important.

To set up your habits for success, you can monitor your habits in a way that can be measured. So you can write down what you ate and how many servings. Note down how many hours of sleep and how many exercise you get. If you can measure it, you can study it.

You can also schedule your habits. If you have a set time when you will do a habit, you are likely to repeat it and be reminded about it.

For Obligers like me, it is essential to set up an external accountability system for your habits. If you have family or friends who can make sure that you do your habits, that can help you succeed.

3. Know why you seek change. If you have the motivation, you can do most of anything. Are you changing to please another person. Is the change for your family, for your work, or for yourself? Have an unstoppable reason. This can be a person for whom you want to change your life. Much success!

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