I am
an Obliger,
a Lark,
a Sprinter,
an Under-buyer,
an Opener and
a Novelty Lover,
Prevention Focused and
I strive better with Accountability
and when I take Big Steps.

I got a this rather interesting insight about myself from reading the book “Better than Before – Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives” by Gretchen Rubin.

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Habit changes – something some of you may relate to, too. May they be small or on a larger scale. Maybe we want to foster more of our good habits or like to get rid of some bad habits. Whatever way you want to go, there is no one-change-fit-all solution!

As with most things, we are all different and what works for one may not work for the other. Therefore it is important to have some self-knowledge about ourselves and what “tendencies we bring into the world” as there are “different solutions for different people”. If we are self aware and learn to see ourselves accurately we will be be able to find suitable ways to change habits. And that is were my above description about myself comes from.

With more than 400 pages the book is not short but it kept me entertained and interested. It made me laugh at some realisations about myself, I had some a-ha moments and got interesting insights on habits. I became to realise why some changes for me were easy while others did not stick at all.  And it will take time to break old habits but at the end it will be worth it. “The goal is to develop habits that allow us to have time for everything we value – work, fun, exercise, friends, errands, study – in a way that`s sustainable, forever.” Once we are aware about ourselves we can go deeper into the habit changes, find ways that work best for our type.

The tools of monitoring, foundation, scheduling, accountability are described. And as often, some work better for some others better for others. But what counts for us all is that by simply talking about something we wont achieve anything, “we must actually follow that habit.” And taking the first step is the most important one. Do you find yourself thinking, that now is a bad timing? Well, stop right there. Because more likely than not you will not find the perfect moment to start. Taking the first step is often hard. Stop waiting, stop making excuses, “don’t get it perfect, get it going.”

Ever found yourself putting things of to later and never ended up doing it, then you are in good company, too. “Something that can be done at any time often happens at no time, and waiting vaguely for the right time to start […] is very risky.” This, I had to admit to my physiotherapist this morning, too. I kept putting off my daily exercise to later and later until I was in bed and noticed that I had orgotten to do them yet again, several days this week!

Also, convenience, inconvenience and distractions play a huge role in any change. “The amount of effort, time or decision making required by an action has a huge influence on habit formation.”

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that “starting over is harder then continuing.” I think we all have found ourselves in that situation now and then. For me this is often related to exercise regimes. I know it yet I keep falling of the rail over and over, fully aware that getting started is so much harder! And have your ever given yourself some treats and rewards when you stuck to something, or achieved something? While it seems good to do so especially in the beginning there are some pitfalls right there, too. Having said that and I being aware of  it – I will still stick to some treats, as a cold beer after a good run on a warm sunny day never tasted better!

To ease some habit changes Rubin writes about “pairing” and I noticed that at times I do this already. Instead of listening to music while I run I started listening to my audio parts for my studies and to podcasts. A win-win, as I always find just listening to some audio/podcast by not doing anything takes too much of my already limited time away. I find this pairing works as well for all those dreading house chores, like ironing and folding those endless piles of washes!

And as with any goal setting as well a habit change needs to set a clarity – Rubin calls this a “clarity of action. The more specific I am about what action to take, the more likely I am to form a habit.” And if we are pushed by others or feel forced to change it will be harder to start or stick to a new habit. After all identity is a vital factor, too! Therefore it is important to be aware who we are, understand ourselves and what is important to us!

At the end of the day it all comes back again that
 “the only person we can change is ourselves.”

While I may not see myself in all aspects, I got a better understand of why some things and habits are easier for me than others and I am considering and already have implemented some of her ideas such as “Choice Time” and “Power Hour”. Curious and want to dig deeper into habits? Then go and get your copy of “Better than Before!”

Happy reading and happy habit fostering!

Have a lovely day

AK

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