Gretchen Rubin: Crush Your 2022 Goals | E151
Gretchen Rubin: Crush Your 2022 Goals | E151
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for becoming happier and more productive!
This week on YAP, we’re chatting with Gretchen Rubin!
Gretchen is a 5X Best Selling Author, Speaker, “Self-Help Queen”, and Happiness Expert. She is known as an influential and thought-provoking observer of happiness and human nature.
In today’s episode, we’ve compiled the most actionable of Gretchen’s knowledge in one place. We’ll yap about how to make your goals for the new year fun and attainable by choosing a theme like UPGRADE or a phrase like Walk 20 in 2020 that makes taking action easy! We learn how to personalize goal setting by covering the famous 4-tendencies: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel and how these personalities should best approach their desired outcomes. Lastly, Gretchen teaches us how to form new and helpful habits. She shares her delightful challenge this year of Rest for 22 minutes each day in 2022 and explains how habits and goals don’t have to be extravigaint, but can be boring!
It’s never too late to start a new year’s resolution! Make sure to listen and learn how to do it right in this week’s episode!
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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts: www.youngandprofiting.com
() – Hala welcomes Gretchen to the show
() – The Concept of Drifting in Life
() – Gretchen’s Career Pivot From Law To Research & Writing
() – Importance of Loving to Talk About Your Job
() – Drifting In The Age of Covid
() – New Year’s Resolutions/ Temporal Landmarks
() – Correlation Between Goals and Happiness
() – Setting a One Word Theme For Our Year
() – Gretchen’s Concept of 22 in 22
() – Gretchen Describes Her Tasting Parties
() – Should We Place Boundaries When Setting Goals
() – Sticking To Your Goals/ Four Personality Types
() – Upholders
() – Questioners
() – Obligers
() – Rebels
() – Gretchen’s Four Tendencies Test
() – How Does Each Personality Type Stick To Their Goals
() – How Rebels Stick to Goals
() – How Obligers Stick To Goals
() – Can We Grow Into a Different Personality Type?
() – Why Obligers Are Not People Pleasers
() – How Questioners Stick to Goals
() – What is the Arrival Fallacy?
() – Gretchen’s Approach to Breaking Bad Habits
() – What is Gretchen’s 22 Minutes of Rest for 2022 Challenge?
() – Getting More Sleep to Be Happier
() – What is the one actionable thing that our listeners can do today to be more profiting tomorrow?
() – Gretchen’s Secret To Profiting In Life
Mentioned In The Episode:
Better Than Before (Gretchen’s book): https://gretchenrubin.com/books/better-than-before/about-the-book/
The Four Tendencies (Gretchen’s book): https://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-four-tendencies/intro/
Take The Quiz: Gretchenrubin.com/take-the-quiz
Happiness with Gretchen Rubin: https://gretchenrubin.com/podcasts/
#151 Gretchen Rubin
Hala Taha: Hey, Gretchen, welcome back to young and profiting podcast. So happy to have you back.
Gretchen Rubin: I'm so happy to be back.
It's great to talk to you again.
Hala Taha: Yeah. So Gretchen, you came back on a, you were previously on an episode number 29 back when we were just starting out at Young and Profiting Podcast. Now, you know, two years later, we're a number one podcast across all apps. So much has changed. If you guys are watching us on YouTube right now, you can see my half finished studio.
Gretchen is the first person I'm interviewing in my studio. What you guys don't see is I've got a million blankets and pillows around me because I don't have my soundproofing yet, but you know how it is Gretchen? Um,
Gretchen Rubin: we've all done it. yes.
Hala Taha: So you are a world famous author. You're an expert on happiness and habits. And, uh, one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about today, was, resolutions and how to be happier in the new year and to kick things off.
I want to hear about your career journey for my listeners that may not be familiar with your story. And I encourage everyone to go back to episode number 29. If you want to learn more about Gretchen's come up. But for those of us, who've never heard your story before. Talk to us about your journey into becoming a researcher and a writer and a you're starting to law school, which you say you drifted into law school, and drift is actually word that you invented.
So talk to us about what drift means and how you ended up drifting into law school and evolving into your career that you have now.
Gretchen Rubin: Well, drift is the decision we make by not deciding or by kind of going along with the flow of what other people expect from us or what is the default option. So you take a job because somebody offers you that job, or you become a doctor because both of your parents are doctors and you're good at science, or you get married because all your friends are getting married or.
Um, you just go along with the path of least resistance and the thing about drift, you know, the word drift sounds easy. Like you're just like drifting down a lazy summer river, but actually drift is often incredibly difficult. Um, it can be so demanding. And, um, you know, you mentioned that I drifted into law school and you know, I was editor in chief of the law journal.
I was clerking for justice Sandra Day O'Connor. I mean, it was hard every, you know, from taking the LSAT to, you know, sitting for the New York state bar exam. It took a huge amount of work, but it was drifting because I went to law school, not because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, but because I thought, well, it's a great education.
I'm good at research and writing. I can always change, change my mind later. It's great preparation. These are the ideas of drift. Um, and, and, you know, sometimes we hold back, we're not ready to make a decision. Like we're gathering information or we're sort of like thinking things through. And so we're mindfully delaying making a decision.
And sometimes that makes sense, but drift is when you just sort of like, oh, I don't want to fight with everybody about it. So I'll just do what they want or I don't know what else to do with myself. So I'll just do what other people think. Sounds like a good idea. And sometimes it can work out really, really well.
Some people drift into something and are very happy with it. Um, but often they are not. And so I think it's very good to ask ourselves if we might be drifting.
Hala Taha: So how did you realize that you were drifting and then decide to pivot into the career that you have today.
Gretchen Rubin: We know several things happen all at the same time. So one thing that happened to me was, so here I was, I was a clerk on the Supreme court. I'm surrounded with people who are the, who are just brilliant lawyers and they all loved law and, and they wanted to talk about it all the time. They wanted to talk about it at lunchtime.
They wanted to talk about it at parties on the weekend. And like they remember these details from, you know, I would re I would read a case and I'm like, I remember the facts, but I don't remember how it like was decided, which is kind of the key thing. And I realized they just brought an enthusiasm to law that I didn't like I wanted to do an excellent job for Justice O'Connor and, you know, I did everything within my power to do an excellent job. But I didn't want to do one minute more. So I think, and now I love to talk shop with what I do now. I, my favorite thing to do is to talk shop. And so that sort of was showing me like, I don't have the same spirit of enthusiasm for what I'm doing as the people around me.
So that was a clue. Um, and another clue was, um, a friend of mine was in education, graduate school and she had what I thought were like these really boring looking textbooks lying around. And I said, very dismissively. Is this what you have to read for your program? And she said, oh but that's what I read on my own anyway.
And I thought, wow, I want to be doing for work, what I would be doing for fun. And then at that time I had like, I was hit by lightning bolt. I was out for a walk on Capitol Hill and I asked myself sort of a rhetorical question. You know, how you do that? And I, I said, what am I interested in? That everybody in the world is interested in.
And I thought, well, power money, fame, sex. I'm just like power, money, fame, sex. And I just started researching and researching, which is something that happens to me all the time ever since I was like eight years old. So that was not unusual, but this just kept going and going and going. And finally I thought to myself, well, I'm doing the kind of research and note-taking that a person would do if they were going to write a book.
And then I thought, well, maybe I could write that book. That is what I'm doing in my free time. I'm doing all this maybe. And so I went out and got a book called how to write and sell your non-fiction book proposal. And I just followed the direction.
Hala Taha: oh my gosh. Isn't it so nice when you find what you love and you can turn it into a career.
Gretchen Rubin: uh, I feel like not a day goes by that I do not think about that.
Hala Taha: It's amazing. I feel the same way. I mean, I turned podcasting into a career and build a marketing agency and a podcast network out of everything. And to your point, I love talking about podcasts and you can make me shut up about it
Gretchen Rubin: I think a really good test is do you like to talk shop? And you know, sometimes people act like, oh, it's not good. Like people talking shop, it's like, they have no interests or they're like so narrow. and
I'm like, no, we love we're talking shop because we love it.
Hala Taha: Yeah, totally. So speaking of drift, a lot of people are realizing they're drifting in COVID because they're working from home, they've got all this free time. They don't have a commute. There's no more hustle and bustle. Like there used to be. And a lot of people are waking up and realizing, I don't really want to do what I'm doing right now for the rest of my life.
And because it was so much hustle and bustle before they never really quite realized they were drifting. So talk to us about that.
Gretchen Rubin: No, I think you're exactly right. And one of the reasons that people drift is like, they just exactly, as you see, you just like get caught up in the moment and you don't have time for reflection. And this is why I think you meant, you mentioned New Years. Um, before I think that's one of the reasons why kind of New Year, the new year it's, it's, it's really good to have a prompt to stop and reflect cause often.
And to sort of like the tumble of everyday life, we don't have these opportunities to step back and ask ourselves these big questions. Like. Am I happy? Could I be happier? Is my life heading in the right direction? Is there something that I'm not doing? That's really important to me? Am I living up to my values?
These are big questions and they can be, they can be scary questions, right? Like sometimes you don't want to think about it. You don't want to face it or deal with it. Um, because it might have consequences. And so, and I think for a lot of people, this kind of, this forced halt, this disruption where like so many things were kind of thrown into, uh, into question, um, you know, even something like hybrid, even somebody who's really, really happy at their job.
Like maybe they're thinking, well, maybe I could live in a completely different city. I never thought of that. But now my company is saying that I, I could, so now I have to reevaluate my, I like, I never thought about it before and I'm have to reevaluate it. Maybe I've drifted into living in Chicago because I thought I had to live in Chicago, but now.
Maybe I don't have to live in Chicago. So then where would I go? And like the whole world is open to you and that can, that can feel a little overwhelming because it means, it means like re-evaluating our choices, but I think it's really good for us to do that, um, to make sure that we are mindfully choosing where, where we can, we can't always choose everything the way we want, but often we don't make a good, make a good choice, even with things we can choose.
So it's worth thinking about.
Hala Taha: Yeah. And I, and I think one of the symptoms of being like drifting, uh, so to say, as you say, is you're wishing for some catastrophic event to happen. Like you're wishing like, oh, I wish my office would burn down. So I'd never have to go to work. Now you have this catastrophic event, you have COVID that happened.
And so everybody's, re-evaluating their values and what they want to do with their life.
Gretchen Rubin: Yes. But, you know, and I think in some ways people are discouraged because I think some people sort of said to themselves like, well, if I had all the time in the world, well, of course I would be doing tons of yoga, but with a schedule like mine, I can't, and now it's like, Ooh, now what's my reason for not doing all that yoga, you know, it's kind of thrown So many things into so many assumptions and so many habits into, into question
Hala Taha: So let's talk about New Year's resolutions. I had Dan pink on the show a while back and he talked about
Gretchen Rubin: I'm such a huge fan.
Hala Taha: he's so amazing. Right? And he talked about temporal landmarks, which New Year's is one of them. And so is something like your birthday, even Mondays are a temporal landmark. And apparently because these are really special days and they help us like define a specific day to start something new, we can more likely stick to that goal.
And we're more likely to be successful if we start something new or a new habit on one of those temporal landmarks. So what is your perspective about a New Year's resolution? Are you, are you, uh, in line with them?
Gretchen Rubin: well, It's funny.
because I absolutely, like, I always think about the more it's like being auspicious days. Like something like New Year’s Day is kind of, to me, it feels like an auspicious day. It's a clean slate. Everybody has that feeling of, of starting over. Um, but here's the thing people have in my observation, people have very mixed emotions about New Year's resolutions and very, very mixed attitudes.
And I talk about this in my book, my book, Better Than Before, which is all about how we can make or break our habits, but sort of in a nutshell, some people, um, they feel like January 1st is arbitrary. They're like, if something's important to me, I'm going to do it. When I, when it, when the time feels right, I'm not going to wait for January 1st.
That's an arbitrary date. And some people are sort of like, I'm not some laming. This is going to do something when everybody does it new year, new year, that's nonsense. Like I'm going to do it when I feel the time is right. It's not that it's arbitrary. It's that like, no one tells me what to do. And then some people really are discouraged by new year's resolutions because they've tried and failed.
And so they have a really bad association with new year's resolution. It makes them feel, um, very demoralized. So if you're energized and excited by new year's resolutions, I think it's great. If you feel like for whatever reason, you don't like the idea of a new year's resolution, that many people share that view.
And so I'm on the happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. Um, my sister and I have talked about a lot of things people can do to kind of take advantage of the temporal landmark. As you said, an auspicious day. But not do new year's resolution because for some people, those are complicated. So like one thing you can do, um, that we've done for a couple of years is like write a 22 for 22 lists.
And last year it was 21 for 21 and you make a list of, of 22 things you want to get done. And some of these can be really fun things. They can be good. They can be something that you could do in a half an hour and cross off your list, but that you really want to get done, or it can be something as big as, you know, quit sugar.
Um, and again, it's a way of thinking, you know, what, what do I want from my year? Like what would make me happier, healthier, more productive, more creative. And yet for a lot of people it's kind of free from that baggage. And maybe they can have fun with it. And, um, and like embrace it in a way that we're new year's resolutions.
Maybe just don't feel that appealing.
Hala Taha: Yeah, totally. It's totally based on your personality type as you kind of alluded to, and we'll get deeper into that later. I definitely want you to kind of outline the four personal personality types
Gretchen Rubin: good.
Hala Taha: they relate to resolutions and what we can do to be more successful depending on who we are. Um, but before we get into that, you are like the happiness experts.
So what is the correlation between setting a new goal or trying something new, uh, with happiness? How does that make us more happy?
Gretchen Rubin: well, well doing something new, just like just sheerly, doing something new, I'm doing something new, trying new things tends to make people happier, even things as simple as like going to a new restaurant or walking around a new neighborhood. So it's good for happiness to do something new. I mean, it's also really good for happiness to follow through.
Like we like to feel like we're in control and we like to feel like we're in control of ourselves. And so having that sense of efficacy, that sense of like I can follow through on my plans really does help people to become happier. And what the research shows is that people, and this is no surprise is that people who kind of articulate what they want to change and make a plan for how they might bring that change into their lives.
Okay. Spoiler alert that people do better. Like when you plan, when do you think about it and you try to set yourself up for success, you are more likely to, to, to succeed. And so it is, it is, it is very valuable to do this, but there's no, I don't think there's a magic to doing it as a new year's resolution.
There's a lot of ways that you can go about that sort of mindfully setting your aims for yourself. Um, depending on what appeals to you.
Hala Taha: That's so interesting. So speaking of what you're saying, in terms of like planning, writing things down, like breaking down into smaller chunks, I always do activities on the weekend on LinkedIn. I have a really big following on LinkedIn where I basically have my audience kind of engage on something where I have them think about something specific.
So one of the things that I did for the new year is I said, predict your 2022 in three words. You do something pretty similar where you, where you ask your audience to define your next year in one word. So talk to us about, uh, that some of the words that you've used in the past to describe your theme for the year, and what's the science behind why that works.
Gretchen Rubin: well, I think anytime we want to set an aim for ourselves, the more we can keep it in mind and the more engaged we are with it, the better we're going to do. And so picking a one word theme for the year for us, it sounds like for you, it's almost like predicting, it's almost like trying to, trying to anticipate what you're going to accomplish.
This is more like the theme for like you're setting your intention. Um, and what, what I have found, what a lot of my audience have found. Setting these words really helps you to kind of think in a more transcendent way and in a more kind of comprehensive way of what you want to achieve. And then to think through all the ways that you might make that happen.
So for instance, I've had words, like my words have tended to be pretty boring, like infrastructure, delegate, bigger. Um, whereas my sister, my cohost on Happier is my sister, her words have been much more, more evocative and interesting, like butterfly, number six, uh, hot wheels, novel. So this year, my word, I decided I wanted to have like a more concrete word, had like a lot more kind of metaphoric levels to it.
So I picked the word salt because salt is something that it's a universal flavor enhancer. It's the thing that you add to like spice things up. It's a preservative. So it hang it, like it, it keeps things going and keeps things good longer. And so, um, you know, by thinking about it, and then it's easy to put the word salt up on my, like my corkboard over my shoulder has this giant word salt on it.
You know, that's easier than like a two paragraph mission statement for myself. Like salt kind of captures. And we, what we've seen is like, people they'll put it on it on a, like a bracelet or they'll make it their screensaver or their, you know, the, uh, uh, an image on their lock screen or something. And just by keeping it in their minds and keeping it very active, it helps to keep, give, keep it in your mind.
And people have all sorts of interesting things. Like somebody just had it for, um, uh, well, like my sister’s word is step, so she wants to step into the future. She wants to do 10,000 steps a day. She wants to fix her treadmill desk. She wants to, um, she just got a new puppy. She wants to walk her dog five times a week.
Like, she's thought she wants to move ahead. And like a career, like a kind of a side hustle she's been thinking about doing so she's stepping forward in a lot of different ways. Um, so she can with a one word theme, you can capture a lot of related ideas in one sort of powerful word and it's fun. And it's creative, you know, it's a little bit more fun than, than some of the, some other New Year’s resolutions.
Hala Taha: Yeah. I mean, it's less daunting just to think of one word and have that kind of set your intention for all the, your priorities and everything that you choose to do. So my homework to everybody tuning in right now is to think of their theme for 2022, their one word theme, and then let us know, write us a review on the podcast or DM me on LinkedIn and let us know what you picked for your word.
So let's go back to your 22, uh, 22 items for 2022. In terms of your 22 goals, what's the most fun or unexpected goal that you have on your list?
Gretchen Rubin: oh, I want to have another taste party. So I'm writing a book about the five senses and, uh, so I went to flavor university and they have all these, like, these tastes, uh, like comparisons that you do, or like you just sit and really taste something. And I had like some friends over and we did it and it was so much fun.
And I realized like, you think of like, oh, we'll have people over for dinner or we'll all go out to a resturant. And I just thought this was so much more fun and it got us talking and laughing in a really, in a very different way. Like we, like, we were talking about odd things, um, like what kind of candy we ate when we were little or, you know, everybody's musing about red bull.
I mean, it was just, it was just, it was an odd, interesting thing. And so I'm excited. Um, I'm excited to, uh, to do that again. I want to like make a habit of that.
Hala Taha: I've never heard of a tasting party before. Like what does that entail?
Gretchen Rubin: So, what I did was, um, like I got say three kinds of, I looked up like, what are the three most popular varieties of apples in the United States? And so I put slices, unmarked, and people, like, I bought these little cups and I had everybody say like, well, what do you think? And like, everybody had to say like how they liked it and then compare it and try to identify it.
I had like a piece of very inexpensive chocolate and a piece of very expensive chocolate. Like, could we taste the difference? Yes, we could. Um, we had, um, the three, three kinds of potato chips, like plain potato chips. Like, how do you compare and contrast these? Like, did we, do we all agree at what was best or did we disagree or like, um, we, and as I said, we all tried red bull.
Um, we all, we chased it five different kinds of Skittles. Um, it was just really fun. Oh,
Gretchen Rubin: Um, w one a kind of magical food is ketchup, ketchup, hits all five of the taste, sweet sour, salty, umami, and bitter. And some of it's like, that's very unusual for something to do that, which is why probably ketchup is so enormously powerful.
And we tasted it and people were like, this is amazing. Like no one had noticed, oh my gosh, ketchup it is so, so good. A friend of mine was like, if you didn't tell us this was ketchup. I bet everybody would have thought it was like some rare, super expensive thing, because it is so complex. And it's so delicious.
So next time we do it, I'm going to turn the lights out. So nobody, so people can't see what it is and ask them, what is it? Because it's like, you take it for granted. You don't realize ketchup is good. It's really good.
Hala Taha: I would have never thought of that. That's so funny. And I can't wait for your new book 5 senses. That sounds super interesting. We have to have you back on, um, so this 22 for 22 lists, in terms of the goals that you pick, is there any boundaries, like, should they be smaller? Should they just be like more fun?
Do you have any boundaries for this?
Gretchen Rubin: well, what's so interesting is that people take it in a lot of different ways. So some people will pick things where they'll like, say for 22, they might have 11 stretch things and 11 easy things. Right. So there's a balance. Or sometimes people put them in categories. Like there might be a category of work and relationships and home and adventure.
So there's some, so you sort of see, okay, I'm trying to like have sort of hit every important part of my life. Or sometimes people have fun with the word the year number. So it's like, I'm going to read 22 novels and I'm going to go to, um, I'm gonna walk for 22 minutes and I'm going to, you know, try 22 new recipes.
I'm going to go on 22 new hikes, kind of doing it that way. Um, so people really, and then there's some people that. What I need, you know, people keep telling me, I need to take more time for myself. I'm just going to have 22 fun things. And by putting them on the list, I'm going to make sure that I do make time for fun.
And I do make time for the things that I would really enjoy, because if I don't put them on a list, like going to the dentist, they'll never get done. So I'm going to put on things like, get a massage and take a tennis lesson and go on a trip to see even, you know, my friend's new baby or whatever it is.
Um, so every single thing on their list is fun. So people really part of what I like about it is that it's very, very flexible. Another thing we do on the Happier Podcast is we'll, we'll do a challenge, um, based on the number of minutes. So it's 22. So we did walk 20 in 20. We did read 21 in 21. And then this year, because people are exhausted, it's rest 22 in 22.
And again, it's super flexible because some people are resting by napping. That's what I'm doing. Some people are resting. Committing to going to sleep 22 minutes earlier, somebody was saying, oh, I'm going to go to, I'm going to go to bed at 2200 hours, like use the 24 hour clock, which I thought, oh, I didn't, I didn't think of that.
Um, some people are, um, having 22 minutes in the morning, like instead of hitting the snooze alarm, I'm going to get up and like have a cup of coffee and like spend time in my backyard in nature. So people are really thinking through what is rest and, and how to use the 22. So you can you have a 22 for 22 list or you could also like do something for 22 minutes every day in 2022.
It's like another way to play with it's an arbitrary date, but it's a fun day.
Hala Taha: Yeah, and I love that. And I think anybody who's listening to Young and Profiting, I know that we're all super high achievers. We're all really hardworking. I bet we all need to just keep our list to a fun list. Cause I think we all have our, you know, strategy and goals for our business and everything like that.
But we often forget about, like you said, going to the doctor or taking a tennis lesson or learning how to play an instrument. That's what I'm going to do for my list is just keep it fun. Uh, especially after the couple of years that we've had, I feel like it's more important than ever. So let's talk about sticking to our goals because you alluded to this before you didn't go into detail.
So I'd love for you to go into detail now. Uh, there's everybody has a different personality and you actually break the world down into four distinct personality types called your four tendencies. You're very famous for this model and framework. So first let's break those four personality types down, and then let's talk about how each one can approach their goals.
Gretchen Rubin: Right. You're right. This is the four tendencies. And it's a, it's a framework that divides people into four categories, upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels. And so what this is looking at is a very narrow aspect of your nature, but a very significant, like something that really has a lot of consequences.
And what it's looking at is. How you respond to expectations and we all face two kinds of expectations, outer expectations, like a work deadline and inner expectations, like my own desire to get back into practicing guitar. So depending on whether you meet or resist outer or inner expectations, that's what makes you an upholder, questioner, obliger, or rebel.
So upholders readily meet outer and inner expectations. They meet the work deadline. They keep the new year's resolution without much fuss. They want to know what other people expect from them, but their expectations for themselves are just as important, maybe more important. So their motto is discipline is my freedom.
Then there are questioners, questioners question, all expectations. They'll do something. If they think it makes sense, they need justification's reasons. Um, uh, they want everything to be efficient. They like things to be customized. Um, these are the people that don't like the arbitrariness of January 1st.
They tend to really not like anything arbitrary or unjustified. So they make everything an inner expectation. If it meets their inner standard, they will do it. No problem. If it fails their inner standard, they will push back. So their motto is I’ll comply if you convince me why. Then there are obligers, obligers, and this is the biggest group for both men and women is obliger, obligers, readily meet outer expectations, but they struggle to meet inner expectations.
So I got my insight into this. When a friend told me, you know, when I was in high school, I was on the track team and I never missed track practice. So why can't I go running. Well, when she had a team and a coach expecting her, she had no trouble, but when she's trying to go on her own, it's a struggle. And so for people who are obligers to meet an inner expectation, they must have a form of outer accountability.
So you want to read a book. Do you want a book club? You want to work out, work out with a trainer, take a class where they take attendance, workout with a friend who’s going to be annoyed if you don’t show up. Raise money for a charity. You need that outer accountability. And so the motto of the obliger is you can count on me and I'm counting on you to count on me.
And then finally rebel. And this is the smallest group, um, rebel. Resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They want to do what they want to do in their own way. In their own time. They can do anything they want to do. But if you ask her to tell them to do something, they're very likely to resist and typically they don't tell themselves what to do.
Like they don't say I'm gonna go to a woodworking class every Saturday morning at 10:00 AM because they think, well, I don't know what I'm going to want to do on Saturday morning. And just going to do that, somebody is expecting me to show up. It's going to annoy me. So their motto is you can't make me and neither can I, um, so people, if people like to take a, like, take a quiz, they can go to Gretchen rubin.com/four tendencies, F O U R four tendencies.
And it'll, it's a very short, like three and a half million people have taken this. It's free. It's quick. And it will tell you what you are and give you a little report. But often people just from this brief description, they know exactly who they are. I mean, we can talk about the game of Thrones characters.
We can talk about parks and recreation. We can talk about the. These are not, these are not subtle once you know what to look for. You see them all
Hala Taha: Oh, my gosh, as soon as I refreshed my learning of this, like I interviewed you a while ago. So I learned this before. I was like, I think I'm an upholder, but let me double-check I went and took the quiz upholder and I think you're an upholder as well.
Gretchen Rubin: Yes. And it's great to talk to a fellow upholder, but you know, we're the second smallest group rebel is the smallest and upholders only slightly less, slightly larger. So we're kind of a, we're kind of a small group
Hala Taha: I know it's so it's like, we almost have to walk around the world realizing that most people are obligers and questioners and kind of be in their perspective because a lot of the times I don't relate to that at all, you know? And it's, it's really hard to kind of. Uh, you know, when you, when you have such a unique, I guess, personality type and like, for example, I never look up ways to stick to goals because I never have a problem with sticking to goals.
So I don't even relate to that. You know.
Gretchen Rubin: We'll see you're exactly right. This. And so when I wrote my book, the happiness project, like after it came out, all these people were saying to me, but how did you get yourself to do all those things? And I said, Oh, well, you know, I thought about the things that I thought would make me happier. And then I tried them and if they made me happier, I just kept doing them.
And they'd say to me, looking really puzzled, like how did you get yourself to do them? And I was like, what are you talking about? Like, I really didn't understand. And that's, I think when I first started to understand the four tendencies, because I began to think other people. Are are facing different challenges from me.
Like we're not all dealing with the same thing or like I was when I was writing my book better than before, which is about habits. Like, and maybe you're probably the same way since you're an upholder. I love the idea of habits. I find it energizing, just fascinating. I love habits. I add more all the time, but I was at a cocktail party and somebody was asking me what I did.
She literally stepped back from me when I said I was writing about habits. Like it was so low. Some she couldn't help. She was so repelled. And I was like, that's funny because she's like, why would you want to write a book about a subject like that?
Hala Taha: Oh, my gosh.
Gretchen Rubin: It was unbelievably like, you know, and I thought, well, that we're really different.
And now, I mean, that was one of my, my, like, looking back on that conversation, I was just asking her about all these different things to try to understand how her mind worked. And that's when I began to realize why people are really fundamentally different. Like we just are in a completely different universe.
Hala Taha: Yeah. So my boyfriend is definitely a rebel. I can't, if I say something to him, like, like, I suggest you do this, he will literally like, can't do it because I told him to do it. And like you said, he can't even do like what he wants to do, because he, if he tells himself to do something, you won't want to do it.
So how does these different personality types better stick to their goals? What is your guidance for each one of them? And maybe let's start off with rebel, but then we can go into the obliger. Since most people really fall into that category.
Gretchen Rubin: well, the thing about rebel is rebels. I would say that is the most different kind of tendency. And I think they are often given bad advice, um, and told to do things that are not going to work for them. So if you know that you're a rebel or, you know, you're dealing with a rebel, you can really kind of tailor it to that tendency, which is going to make it a lot easier for them to stick.
So one of the things that works really well for a rebel is to think about identity, which is like, I'm not doing this because you told me to, or because somebody else told me I should, or even because I said that I would, I'm doing it because this is the kind of person I am. So I'm exercising because you know what, I'm an athlete.
I respect my body. I love to be outside in nature and moving my body. And I love feeling light and free and strong. And I kinda gotten away from that. And they've been trying to keep me trapped behind, under this fluorescent light and behind these screens, but I'm not going to be I'm free. I'm going to choose.
I'm going to be outside. I'm going to be strong because that's what I want. That's what I choose. Um, I'm doing this regular work because I want people to see how creative I am, how productive I am. I want to be paid for my work. This is who I am. This is what I choose. And so anything you don't want to get in the way of that by like telling them to do things, because then you can ignite the spirit of resistance, but you want to like allow them to like step into their identities.
I'm a considerate parent. I'm a responsible partner. I'm, I'm the kind of person people can count on. I live up to the highest values, so it's not, so sometimes rebels have incredibly high value. Um, and, uh, you know, and so they're asking themselves to do all kinds of things. It's not like sometimes people think that they're sort of like these kind of irresponsible immature.
No, it, it just depends on their values. Cause they're choosing the other thing that can work. And maybe this works. If it's like with a partner is information, consequences, choice. You give them the information you need, you tell them the consequences of their action or inaction, and then you let them choose.
So you can be like, oh yeah. When we were talking about going on that vacation and like, we're going to need to commit to a hotel. So if we picked by Friday night, um, probably we'll get what, the one that we want. If we don't get it done until like next week, get, it looks like they're going pretty fast. So we might get some like lousy hotel or we're going to end up having to stay pretty far away from where we want to be
Hala Taha: I love that
Gretchen Rubin: But then you don't, you don't keep going. You don't say so you have to do it. Or you said you would, or I'm going to check up on you. It's just like, and you have to be willing to allow things not to be done because rebel after rebel has said to me, like, you have to let negative consequences fall, or if you rush in and like rescue or fix at the last minute, then it's like, okay, well that was, that was fine.
I don't, I don't need to worry about this because somebody, it has to be, it has to be something and you can say, well, if it's, but that's my vacation too. It's like, okay, well you got to convince the rebel. They want to do it for their own reasons or do it yourself or allow them not to do it because that's just, you can't tell them what to do.
Hala Taha: yeah, this is like really speaking to me, like she's speaking the truth right now because I know how to win arguments and things with my boyfriend, and that's exactly how I get it done. So, uh, that makes sense. How about, um, obligers? How should they go about sticking to their goals?
Gretchen Rubin: They need outer accountability. This is so key because people will tell obligers things like you need to learn to put yourself first, or you need to keep your promises yourself, or you need to get clear on your priorities. This doesn't work. I'm not saying it's not a good idea. I'm just saying it doesn't work.
What works is outer accountability. You have to create a structure of outer accountability to meet an inner expectation. And I love hearing what obligers do because they have so much ingenuity and thinking about how to create outer accountability, um, for things, um, you know, um, where you might think, well, that'd be tricky to create outer accountability, but like somebody, I knew two obligers who for some reason had the same kind of funny aim, but they both live by themselves and they wanted to get up.
Uh, they didn't want, they were both like addicted to the snooze alarm and they wanted to get up sort of on time. How do you do that? How do you create outer accountability for getting up at a certain time? Um, and so one of them put a very embarrassing Facebook post to automatically posts unless she got up to disable it.
So that got her out of bed. And the guy had a, um, a golden retriever named ginger who slept in his room. And so he changed his alarm to be his voice saying, ginger, do you want to go for a walk? Ginger, do you want to go for a walk? And so ginger would like jump on his chest and like wag her tail and lick his face and be like, yes, let's go for a walk.
So then he couldn't sleep. Cause he's got this golden retriever bouncing around and I thought these are good. These are great. Right? Because it is outer accountability, but you know, you're not. You kind of don't even need to rely on another person to do it. Um, a lot of times people do rely on people to do it.
Like, if you want to go for a walk, you like go with your neighbor and your neighbor is going to be annoyed. If, if, if you don't show up, oh we heard them two guys, the way they did it, they did it in a gym. So it's like they go to the gym and like, if I at the end we swap a shoe, so I have to go tomorrow because if I don't go, you'll show up and you'll only have one
Hala Taha: oh my God. That's so brilliant.
Gretchen Rubin: so I have to go because otherwise, like, you're going to be so annoyed.
Hala Taha: Do you feel like there's, so I'm sure the obligers out there, they probably wish that they had a little bit more disciplined, self discipline and control. Is there a way to kind of mature into becoming an upholder or are you just kind of stuck being an obliger?
Gretchen Rubin: well spoken, like a true upholder. Um, uh, you know, I really, I'm a big believer in the genetic roots of personality. And I think that these are pretty much hardwired. Um, but I really don't think that there that there's, that anybody needs to evolve. I think they each have tremendous strengths and weaknesses.
Um, we can talk about sort of the weaknesses of the upholder tendency and like how that comes into play. Um, Farming hat new year's resolutions is something that is definitely part of our strength as upholders. Um, and so, you know, people, they each have strengths and weaknesses. They each include people who are wildly successful and also people who struggle.
And what you see is that the people who do the best are not the ones that try to move from one tendency to the other, because I think that's very difficult if even possible, but it's the people who work with our tendency, they harness the strengths and they offset the weaknesses. And so sometimes people will say to me like, oh, I used to be an obliger, but now I'm an upholder.
And I'm like, well, let's look at that. And what I see is that they've just unconsciously figured out that for anything that's important to them, they need to have a structure of outer accountability. They've just built it in. So now they feel like they're effortlessly meeting their inner expectations.
We're assuming I'm like really, you've just built in tons of outer accountability, which is exactly what you need. And I, and that's, and that's fine. So I think instead of trying to work on ourselves, we should work on our circumstances and our, and our surroundings and our situations. And just get ourselves whatever we need to succeed, rather than trying to change our nature.
Because people, a lot of people, questioners and upholders and sort of rebels to kind of say to obligers, we shouldn't have to need other people to do what you want. It's like, you know what, there's more obligers than there are of any of us. Like who are we to say, if they need outer accountability, that's fine.
Hala Taha: Cause I do feel like that. I feel, I feel like it's like a weakness that you need outer accountability.
Gretchen Rubin: that's upholder, right? I, and I'm a hundred percent with you. I used to March around and say things to people. Like I don't want to be your babysitter. Do your work in your own time. Like if it's important to you do it. If it's not important to you, don't do it. I don't want to keep hearing how you're frustrated because.
Just make up your mind and it's like, you know what? People don't work like that. That's just not helpful because, um, you can't have a bunch of upholders together and we're always, like, everybody starts saying like, why don't other people just do it? Like just get it together and do it. And I'm like, yeah, guess we're upholders.
Like, and what did they complain about us are we're rigid. Right?
Hala Taha: A little bit arrogant, maybe even.
Gretchen Rubin: We're rigid. We're often cold because it's like, oh, you want me to do this? What? I'm sorry. Cause I got my own thing going, like, I don't have time for your thing. Cause I gotta do my thing. This is why people love obligers because obligers are the people who go the extra mile. I've had people tell me they only want to hire obligers. They want to screen on hiring because they want an obliger.
Hala Taha: Wow. I would think that they want to upholders, but,
Gretchen Rubin: But, Upholders are like, Hey, I'm sorry. I have to leave every night at six because I have to go to my yoga class.
Hala Taha: uh,
Gretchen Rubin: know, your, your lack of planning is not my emergency.
Hala Taha: yeah. Obligers are, are more people
Gretchen Rubin: I'm gonna push back.
Hala Taha: pleasers in that way.
Gretchen Rubin: Well, it's not even people pleasing. I think it's the people, pleaser is something that people apply later to try to understand why they've acted the way they've acted. And I think it's just better not even to think about that. It's more about accountability because there are obligers who have that are not people pleasers at all.
They just do. They only do something if they have to. And so they, they really, but they will do it. Um, but they just have to have consequences, like very like very obvious consequences. So it doesn't necessarily go with people pleasing and you could have a rebel is very interested in people pleasing because they have their very high, valuable value of, you know, serving other people's needs.
And so you could say, well, that's people pleasing, but it's definitely coming from a different place with a rebel.
Hala Taha: I can't help, but think that, that like anti-vaxxers might be rebels.
Gretchen Rubin: could be, I think some of them.
Hala Taha: I think some of them probably fall into that. Okay. So let's get into questioners. Um, well, how do they deal with goals.
Gretchen Rubin: So questioners for them. It's all about clarity. It's always about understanding. Like I'm asking myself, this is what I'm asking myself to do, And this is why, and this is why it's the most efficient, most justified choice for me. So if I want to exercise, I want to understand like, why I'm exercising, how I'm exercising.
I really want to have clarity. So the strategy of clarity is so important for questioners because once they've made up their mind, then action follows. But here's the thing. Questioners can send nice fall into analysis paralysis. This is when the desire for perfect information makes it hard for them to move forward.
Um, and so suddenly like exercise, like there's so much information. Should I be doing cardio? Should I be doing high intensity weight training? Should I be doing interval training? Should I be walking slow. And that will boost my creativity. Like who should I listen to? Um, so sometimes they can fall. They can, they can get sort of stuck in that, um, kind of that information spiral.
So what they need to do is think, well, I'm going to experiment, right? I'm going to take my best guests and I'm going to try something out. And if it doesn't work, I'm going to succeed by failing. If it doesn't work that I've learned something about myself and then I'll try something new, um, they can use deadlines, they can use limits, they can use trusted authority.
So it's like, well, if it's good enough, this person, this person I know is in amazing shape. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me. I'll try, you know, I'll try that regimen. Um, so questioners, it's all about that clarity, but the clarity, the, the aim for clarity, um, I was just reading somebody just emailed me saying, I keep reading and reading and reading, thinking that I will finally be so convinced about the, what the healthy way to eat is.
That I will just naturally do that, but I like, I'm sort of pretending like reading about healthy eating is the same as healthy eating, which it is not. And I was like, yeah, as a questioner, you have to be like, I need to start by acting. And if I changed my mind, I can always change what I'm doing, but it's, I have to get that clarity.
And then I have to like follow it up with experimentation.
Hala Taha: And I'm guessing the upholders don't really get much advice on this topic.
Gretchen Rubin: They don’t, but you know, what they love to give advice. Like if I look around to all my pals in the world of habit formation there, the upholders are definitely over index. And I think it's because we love it and we're good at it. And we think we figured it out. It's like, oh, if you do what I do, it'll work for you because you know what just about anything works for upholders.
We're really good at a lot of different kinds of tools and a lot of different kinds of approaches and strategies because we liked that. And we're good at that. Um, yeah.
Hala Taha: So, um, something that my team brought up to me that that was really interesting was a term you call the arrival fallacy. What is the arrival fallacy, and how does that relate to, uh, helping us stick to our new year's resolutions?
Gretchen Rubin: Well, the arrival fallacy is when we think like, I'll be happy when, so I'll be happy when I get the promotion. I'll be happy when I'm done with grad school. I'll be happy when I get married. I'll be happy when I buy my first house, I'll be happy when I lose 20 pounds. I'll be happy when, uh, I break up with my boyfriend.
Um, and so, but what research shows is that we don't have kind of this ecstatic moment, the way we sort of think that we're going to partly because as we, as we begin to make change, you know, usually things don't happen overnight. It's not like somebody calls you and you win the Nobel prize. Like there's a before and after it's like, you're edging up to things.
And so by the time you get that promotion, It's not the big change that you anticipated. And also a lot of times, even very happy changes, bring with them, things that we have to fuss with. Like, okay, you've got a promotion, but now you've got a whole bunch of new responsibilities. And like, and you go from being feeling like you're the master of everything to being like being a beginner again, and that's unnerving.
And so it's like, yeah, you're so happy you got the promotion, but oh, wow. You know, it's, it's hard. And so the arrival fallacy, um, it looks it's from far away. It looks like it's going to be such a happy time that when it actually happens often, it's not. so I think what's really helpful is to think about, um, one of the things my father always said to me was to enjoy the process.
Because if, what you're, if you, if you really are careful to enjoy, do things where you can enjoy the process, then the outcome doesn't matter as much. And it's like, you would still be disappointed or you would still be happy if you had the outcome. That you had or didn't, or you'd be unhappy if you didn't get it, but if you enjoy the process, then you're not hanging everything on that moment or that specific.
Cause a lot of times things don't go the way we want, you know, we, and we don't arrive where we want to arrive, but if you enjoy the process, then that's that's um, you know, less upsetting.
Hala Taha: it's so interesting that you bring this up. Um, I actually did a recap episode for 2021. And the last question I ask all my guests, guests on my show is what is your secret to profiting in life? And one of the most popular things that people said is to enjoy the process and to enjoy the journey and to not get too stuck in the highs and the lows.
And so many successful people that I've interviewed said that, or to have perspective, and to realize that like, even though something's really bad, like there's always, you can always look at it from a different angle. So I love that, that you mentioned that, um, and that we were able to kind of tie that in.
So I want to talk about habits because you are also an expert with habits. And when it comes to a new year, everybody's always saying like new year new me, but really we're all the same, uh, same old person. And a lot of us need to break some bad habits. I've talked to so many great experts on this topic from Charles Duhigg to BJ Fogg, to Nir Eyal.
And, uh, we love talking about habits on this podcast. So I would love to hear from you, what is your approach to breaking a bad habit?
Gretchen Rubin: Well, one thing is usually a habit can be conceived of as like making it or breaking it. And some people are very sensitive to the difference. So you kind of want to think about how you want to frame it. So are you going to quit sugar or you're going to eat more healthfully or, or whatever. Um, and, uh, but I think there are 21 strategies that we can use to make or break her habit.
And sometimes people are like, well, 21 is too many, you know, just give me one, um, or give you three, but actually it's really good that there's so many because, um, Some of them work really well for some people, but they don't work at all for other people. And some of them are available to us at some times in our lives, but not in other times in our lives.
And so you want to have a big menu so that, uh, you can pick and choose the ones that are right for you. So for instance, we were just talking about the four tendencies. Well, one of the 21 strategies that I write about in, Better Than Before, is the strategy of accountability. And that's an incredibly powerful strategy.
It's an essential strategy for obligers. It's sometimes used for useful for upholders. We don't really need it that much. Sometimes we like to have it. It's not so essential for rebel sentence. It's counterproductive. They don't want somebody looking over their shoulder. They don't want somebody micromanaging or checking up on them.
So if you try to hold them accountable, you might actually ignite their spirit of resistance. It might be counterproductive. So it's still a very important one of the 21 strategies. But it's not a universal strategy. And that's true for almost all the strategies. See, we really have to start with some knowledge and knowing ourselves because who we are and the way that we go about things might mean that certain of the 21 would be really powerful for us.
Whereas a different person would have a completely different set of the ones that are like their go-to strategies.
Hala Taha: um, so as you were talking, like, all that I kept thinking in my mind for some reason was obligers would make bad entrepreneurs. Is this, is this correct or incorrect?
Gretchen Rubin: well, it's incorrect because, um, what obligers do when they want to be entrepreneurs, is they, what they usually do is that they go ahead and create outer accountability. so um, let's say I want to be a wedding photographer. So I book a wedding, you know, I like tell my friend, Hey, I'll take pictures for your wedding. Now somebody is counting on me. I know somebody who wanted to write an ebook. So she called all her friends and like interviewed them for this book. And then it's like, oh, well, they're all waiting for the ebook. So she's got to write it because all her friends are like, wait, you interviewed me. I want to see what I look like in print or somebody who wanted, who wanted to create a series of webinars.
So, um, on their, uh, on, on social media, they were like the first 30 people who contacted me will get a free webinar. So then he's got a list of 30 people who are like, okay, man, when's the webinar. So now I got to create it. Um, or you can think of your duty to be a role model for someone else. I'm going to show my family what it looks like to follow through on their promises to themselves.
Or I'm going to think about all the people that I'm going to benefit. With the kind of executive coaching that I can do, I can reach a whole population of people who no one else is talking to. I can just like unleash all this potential in the world, but if I don't do it, maybe nobody will. And all these people are going to go like unserved.
And so there's a lot. So, but again, it's like, you got to get into your tendency, you got to like tap into that power, whereas to a, to a questioner, or it might be more like they wouldn't think about it that way. They would think of it in a different way. Um, so from the outside they could all achieve it, but the kind of the mental process would be different.
Hala Taha: um, so to your point, it's like everybody can be successful no matter what personality type you are, you just need to kind of structure your environment the way that you thrive. So that totally makes sense. Um, okay. So speaking of habits, you have this 22 minutes of rest, um, habit challenge that you guys have embarked on.
What, what inspired this challenge?
Gretchen Rubin: well, as I said, like, we like to do this every year, um, because it's like, it just feels manageable. And, and what's funny to me, and maybe this is funny to you as an upholder too, is I'm like people are like walk 20 minutes in 2020, changed my life. Or like, oh, read 21 in 21, I've been wanting to read more forever.
And I read like a thousand books this year. It's so amazing. And I'm like, you could have done this at any time. Like, like, I dunno what the magic is, but there is kind of a magic it's like somebody putting it in your head, somebody making it feel manageable, feeling like, oh, we're all doing this. And there's kind of an accountability of like, where you, like, are you part of this? and just this, like this checking in that we do periodically on the podcast is enough. And so that is really exciting to think that like, you can lob something like this and it just catches people's imagination and actually changes their action and their, their actions in a way that like really makes them happier and healthier.
So for us 22 and 22, we, we thought about it a couple different ideas for 22, and then, you know, we were just like, you know, people are tired, they're just, they're just tired. And that's what you kept hearing from people is they're just like just tired. And the thing is, if you do not have energy, everything feels hard.
Like even the things, you know, would be fun. don't like, oh, I should make a physical photo albums of all like all those pictures that I took over the years. And I know it'd be so fun for me to like, look back on it, but I'm just too tired. Like to even like scroll through my feed, I've got to just like watch reruns of the office, which is what I was doing.
I'm when I'm overwhelmed. Um, but if you have more energy, then you're more able to do all the things that would make you happier. And so it's really important that people think about rest. And so, um, and so we just thought, you know, it just seemed like the right thing for the moment. Um, and people seem really, really excited about kind of being guided to think about what is rest, because unlike read well, even with like read 21 in 21, some people read non-fiction, some people read fiction.
People had different ways that they, some people challenged themselves to listen to audio books and like get in the practice of audiobooks. So people really make these challenges their own, and with rest, people are really taking it in, in a lot of different directions. Um, but it does seem like something that people are really embracing as something that they think is going to, is going to make the year better for them.
Hala Taha: So speaking of rest, I know you're a strong advocate for getting enough sleep because getting more sleep will actually make you happier. Why is that?
Gretchen Rubin: Yes. Well, research shows that most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night.
And what's funny is that a lot of people will say like, well, I've trained myself to get by with like five or six hours, but when scientists study these people, they're actually quite impaired. So we adjust to feeling kind of under slept.
And we don't realize like really how far off of our best we feel. Um, and it goes to mood. It goes to immunity, which everybody is focused on right now, it goes to memory and focus in creativity. Um, it makes people more patient, it gives us a better sense of perspective, a better sense of humor. Um, so this is really something it's really the 21 strategies of, of habit change.
One of the strategies is the strategy of foundation because, and it, the strategy foundation is to sleep more, get some exercise, eat, and drink, right, and clear clutter, if you care about clutter, which most people do, but not everybody does because these, these habits, these four areas tend to kind of lay the foundation for other, um, habits that kind of, you know, more and more advanced habits that we want to form.
Um, and, and, and sleeping more is, uh, is just crucial for that. It just, it's just an, a magical elixir of life. Um, but I should say, because people are very, uh, don't understand, this is like, they're truly. A difference between morning people and night people, about 30% of the world is night people and night people are at their most energetic and productive and creative later in the day.
And so somebody is saying to you, if you want to run, you should get up and do it first thing in the morning. Um, or like, oh, you shouldn't be exercising after five. It it'll make it hard for you to go to sleep and see, like, if you're a night person, you know, you gotta, you gotta go with your own, like your own, uh, internal, uh, cycle of energy.
Um, that's a real thing. It's largely genetic and a function of age.
Hala Taha: Yeah. And we talk about sleep a lot on the podcast. So hopefully my listeners know all about that. I'm actually a night owl for sure. And
Gretchen Rubin: Oh, you are.
Hala Taha: yeah. And I'll be working out 10:00 PM. You'll catch me on the trampoline, like doing bounce workouts at 10:00 PM and just
Gretchen Rubin: so interesting to me. Well, this raises something about the, about the four tendencies because a lot of times people like assume that there's all these associated qualities and it's the, the four times, these is only how you respond to expectations. So like, I think a lot of people would assume that upholders would all be morning people.
It has nothing to do with morning. I'm a morning person. You're a night person. It's like, they're not there. It's not correlated. I mean, maybe it is. I don't have the big data, maybe in some way it's correlated, but it's not, it's not necessarily correlated.
Hala Taha: So what are some other ways that we can be happier in 2022 that are top of mind for you.
Gretchen Rubin: Well, whenever you're thinking about happiness, the one thing too, to think of first is relationships to ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree that to be happier, we need to have enduring intimate bonds. We need to feel like we belong. We need to be able to confide. We need to be able to get support and just as important for happiness, we need to be able to give some give support.
And so, um, and of course this period has tremendously disrupted people's relationships and, and, and put all kinds of challenges in the way. So I think it's, you know, it's, it's been going on a while, but like really keep it up, like make plans, as you can think about connecting with people, trying to meet new people, trying to strengthen weak ties of people that you want to get closer to.
Um, and as, um, and as the year continues really making that a priority, um, of, uh, of, of maintaining relationships.
Hala Taha: I love that. I think that's so important to your point. I feel like our relationships have gotten so strained over the last few years. Uh, it doesn't look like it's going to get much better, you know, uh, this year, but hopefully things will resume back to normal soon. And so I have a new ending question, uh, uh, that you're the first, your first of many first in this studio first, like interview of the year.
And I have a new question. I'm going to ask all my guests this year, and that is what is one actionable thing that my listeners can do today to be more profiting tomorrow?
Gretchen Rubin: well, this isn't the most significant thing you could do, but it is a thing that the most people tell me that they feel like has made them happier, healthier, more productive, which is to make your bed. So many people just say that like starting your day with like, keeping that promise to yourself, like the room looks neater, especially now that we're all working so many more of us are working at home.
It looks to me. You can find your keys better, you know? Um, so I wouldn't say it's the most significant thing, but it is something that many, many people say, um, gets them started off, uh, like with feeling like their, uh, best foot forward.
Hala Taha: have you met Chase Hughes before? So he's a, an ex FBI agent. He's been on my podcast a few times. He talks about this and he literally says that if he can talk to someone, he's a human behavior expert, he can tell if they've made their bed or not. Just by the way that they act. He says that people who make their bed or like more confident they're, uh, And that, like, if you leave your bed messy, that in the back of your head, you're just thinking I'm a mess.
I'm a mess. I'm a failure. You know.
Gretchen Rubin: No, because I think some people are like, I'm the boss of me, and I don't care, you know, and I do what I want and I don't make my bed. Some people are like, it's not efficient to make my bed why I'm just going to unmake it. I, I re I have to say I reject that. Because I really don't think that there, I think for all these things, there is no magic, one size fits all solution.
Um, I think it's easy to fall into the assumption that if something works really well for me, it'll work what really well for other people. And I just, I just think people are complicated and, uh, and it might be that,
many people benefit from making their bed. But I, I, I think there are many and I should, your listeners should contact you, let you know, let, let weigh in on this.
Do you feel like, um, how do you feel about making your bed? Is it like important to you? I mean, I make my bed in a hotel room on the morning. I check out I have to make my bed. I just like it. I just, I don't like to be in a room where a bed is unmade. And fortunately for me, my husband feels the same way, but do I feel like everybody has to make their bed? No
Hala Taha: Yeah, no, I totally agree
Gretchen Rubin: So that's what I see
Hala Taha: Especially when you, when you think about the personality types that you were talking about, some people just might not even care, uh, at all and might not impact them externally, whatsoever, but then if you are that personality type that will then, then it might impact you. So that's a good point.
Gretchen Rubin: Well, there are people who are clutter blind, where they literally, my sister's like this. She just doesn't see it. She just, she would never close a cabinet door ever if she lived by herself. Cause she just, she just doesn't even notice. So for her to go around and like do it, it just, it just doesn't matter to her.
So for her, it's not a good use of her time and energy. I mean, not that it takes much time and energy. Whereas for me, it's like all I do. I, I can't, I don't like to have a cabinet door open. Why would you have a cabinet door open? And it just looks so much nicer with the shut, but that's, those are just two preferences.
There's nothing, there's nothing magic about closing your cabinet door.
Hala Taha: Yeah, but nonetheless, make your bed. It's probably, better
Gretchen Rubin: Many, many, many people report that they do feel better.
So it's not, it's, it's more of a guideline than a rule.
Hala Taha: And what is your secret to profiting in life?
Gretchen Rubin: Well, for me, it's discipline. We've been talking about it as upholders it is like, I really do. I feel energized by discipline and I feel like that's what helps me do all the things that I want to do. So that's what it is for me.
Hala Taha: I love that. Well, Gretchen, what an amazing second interview. Thank you so much for coming back on Young and Profiting Podcasts. We have to have you back on when you have your new book about senses. So let me know when that comes out. I'm really
Gretchen Rubin: I will.
Hala Taha: Love this kind of stuff, so I can't wait to read that book and dig deep with you on it.
So thank you so much for joining us today.
Gretchen Rubin: Thank you. And congratulations on the new fabulous studio. What an auspicious way to start the new year.
Hala Taha: Thank you.
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