People often ask me, “Why do we struggle so hard to change our habits–why do we so often fail?”
There are a few reasons, but there’s one big one — a popular myth about habits that leads people astray. It makes them accuse themselves of being lazy, self-indulgent, and lacking in will-power. It causes them to fail.
What is this myth? It’s the myth that there’s a magic, one-size-fits-all solution for habit change.
You’re read the headline: “The habits that successful people follow each morning!” “Follow these 3 secret habits of millionaires! “The one habit you must follow if you want to get ahead!” “The five habits of all highly creative people!”
But here’s what I’ve discovered. And you know this, too — because it’s perfectly obvious from looking at the world around us. Continue reading
If you’re chronically tardy, how do you start showing up on time?
Many people have the habit of constantly running late — and they drive themselves, and other people, crazy.
Now, I have the opposite problem — I’m pathologically early, and often arrive places too soon. This is annoying, as well, but in a different way. As I write this, I’m realizing that I assume that chronic earliness is very rare. But maybe it’s not. Are you chronically early?
In any event, more people seem bothered by chronic lateness. Feeling as though you’re always running twenty minutes behind schedule is an unhappy feeling. Having to rush, forgetting things in your haste, dealing with annoyed people when you arrive…it’s no fun.
If you find yourself chronically late, what steps can you take to be more prompt? That depends on why you’re late. As my Eighth Commandment holds, the first step is to Identify the problem – then you can see more easily what you need to change.
There are many reasons you might be late, but some are particularly common. Are you late because… Continue reading
February 14th is a day we hold synonymous with love and romance. We plan dates, write love letters, and celebrate our other half, but when was the last time you checked in with yourself? Would you even know if you were not treating yourself well?
When it comes to checking in on your own love and well being, here are some honest questions to ask yourself to hone in on whether or not you are giving yourself the time and attention needed: Continue reading
One major challenge within happiness is loneliness. The more I’ve learned about happiness, the more I’ve come to believe that loneliness is a terrible, common, and important obstacle to consider.
Of course, being alone and being lonely aren’t the same. Loneliness feels draining, distracting, and upsetting; desired solitude feels peaceful, creative, restorative.
According to Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, Alone or Lonely, the rate of loneliness in the U.S. has doubled over the past thirty years. About 40% of Americans report being lonely; in the 1980s, it was 20%. (One reason: more people live alone: 27% in 2012; 17% in 1970).
Loneliness is a serious issue, Sometimes people ask me, “If you had to pick just one thing, what would be the one secret to a happy life?” If I had to pick one thing, I’d say: strong bonds with other people. The wisdom of the ages and the current scientific studies agree on this point. When we don’t have that, we feel lonely.
I wrote a book about habits, Better Than Before, and I continue to be obsessed with the subject. Whenever I think about a happiness challenge, I ask myself, “How could habits help address this problem?”
Here are some habits to consider: Continue reading
Most people want to be successful, wouldn’t you agree? Whether it is at home, work, affiliations, social settings, etc. most of us want to feel the rewards of success: achievement, happiness and fulfillment, right?
What I have found is that even though most people want all that, a very few are willing to do the work that it takes to create success in most areas, unless you are extremely lucky.
As I worked in various positions in my management career, people said to me: “Oh, you have the easy task-job-position-area of responsibility. That is why you are so successful. Over and over again.
However, those same people were not willing to put in the time, energy, and passion that I was to earn that success. In some of those positions, it took eighty hours per week most weeks and one week it was one hundred hours! I know this because it cost me my first marriage. Continue reading
As I’ve mentioned, we got a new puppy — he’s an adorable five-month-old black cockapoo named Barnaby.
He’s sleeping at my feet right now. He has a special dark corner under my desk where he likes to hang out.
It took me a lot of hard thinking to decide whether or not to get a dog — you can listen to me talk about it with my sister here — and I’m so happy we did get a dog.
Beforehand, though, I was adamant that we would spend a lot of time and effort to make sure that he had very, very good doggy manners. Better for him, better for us.
But I must confess, as much as I love habits, and as much as I’ve studied how to form habits — after all, I wrote a whole book, Better Than Before, about the twenty-one strategies we can use to master our habits — I’ve fallen into three bad puppy habits. (I say “I” but these apply to my whole family, actually.) Continue reading
“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.“
– Deepak Chopra
What do you want in the new year?
What will you need to make that happen?
Where do we get what we need?
One of the biggest thrills in my professional life as being interviewed by Oprah herself, for her amazing Super Soul Sunday series. Yowza!
The interview aired on November 8, at 7 p.m EST/PT on OWN.
Doing the interview was exciting on many levels, but among other things, I learned a lot about the interview process. Oprah is the master, and it’s always a rare privilege to learn from a true master. Continue reading