Wednesday, October 15, 2014

7 Habits that Most People Want to Change


Have you ever heard about the book "The Happiness Project"? If you haven't read it yet, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you get a copy of it. 

This book is the New York Times bestseller written by Gretchen Rubin that spent more than 2 years on the bestseller list with more than a million copies sold in 35 languages -- A real success!


Gretchen Rubin is also the author of other books (e.g, Happier at Home) and a super popular website-blog entitled "The Happiness Project". I am subscribed to this website and always get very interesting and inspirational posts about all kind of things associated with happiness, including those related to her upcoming book about habits change call it, "Before and After". 

The Essential Seven

Recently, I received a post from Rubin that really attracted my attention. It looks that she recently asked people about the habits that they most wanted to change. After examining the data provided by people, Rubin realized that the information could be organized in what she likes to call "Essential Seven" habits.

Here is a list of Gretchen Rubin's essential seven:

1. Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)

2. Exercise regularly

3. Save, spend, and earn wisely (save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, stick to a budget)

4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (stop watching TV in bed, turn off a cell phone, spend time in nature, cultivate silence, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car)

5. Accomplish more, stop procrastinating (practice an instrument, work without interruption, learn a language, maintain a blog)

6. Simplify, clear, clean, and organize (make the bed, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle)

7. Engage more deeply in relationships—with other people, with God, with the world(call friends, volunteer, spend more time with family, attend religious services)


I have to agree with her in that these are "essential" habits that most people would like to change or improve. I know that I would certainly like to work on all of them. They are part of the monthly, and the "new year" resolutions of many people. I know that I tend to include at least a couple of them in my resolutions list.



A Potential Solution 

But, why are they so hard to change? Some experts indicate that it's difficult to change habits because if we aren't sure why we are changing, don't fully believe we are making the right choice, or question whether what we are doing will work, we are likely to settle back on our regular or traditional behaviours. So, we don't change anything or state status quo. It's not easy to find the endurance, motivation or mental energy to change what we have been doing for years.

Here is what Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford University, suggests to do to change habits: "n
ext time you're trying to make a change, figure out what your current default is, and remind yourself exactly why it isn't working. Then look for ways to change your default so you don't have to fight the old default as often. And feel free to be your own cheerleader when the going gets rough. Look for the first evidence (a pound lost here, a dwindling credit card statement there) that what you're doing is paying off".

It's not easy to change old habits, but apparently it's possible!
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