Author: Gretchen Rubin

2015 Resolutions TueNight

Making a New Year’s Resolution? Consider These 5 Tips

Forty-four percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and I know I always do. Now that I’m obsessed with habits, I’m more inclined to make resolutions than ever, in fact. If my happiness and habits research has convinced me of anything, it has convinced me that resolutions – made right – can make a huge difference in boosting happiness. So how do you resolve well? This is trickier than it sounds. Here are some tips for making your resolutions as effective as possible. Remember, right now, you’re in the planning stage. Don’t feel like you have to do anything yet! Just start thinking about what would make 2015 a happier year. 1. Ask: “What would make me happier?” It might be having more of something good – more fun with friends, more time for a hobby. It might be having less of something bad – less yelling at your kids, less regretting what you’ve eaten. It might be fixing something that doesn’t feel right – more time spent volunteering, more time doing something to strengthen a relationship. The more your life reflects your values, the happier …

The Penalty for a Bad Habit? The Bad Habit

One of the things that strikes me most, in my study of habits, is the poetic justice of habits. As you may (or may not) remember from your high school English class, “poetic justice” is when a punishment fits the crime. In Dante’s vision of the Ninth Circle of Hell, a fiend punishes the sowers of discord and schism by continually splitting apart their bodies. Or a criminal sets an illegal trap, but then gets caught in the trap himself. There’s a real poetic justice about habits. The reward for a good habit…is the good habit. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, in “New England Reformers,” “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” Even more striking is the poetic justice of bad habits. As a friend said to me, “I feel too anxious to tackle my bad habits, but my bad habits are what make me anxious.” One survey found that some women who worry about their finances use “retail therapy” to feel better—they shop in order to cope with their anxiety. Gamblers …

The Disappearance of This New York Icon Made Me a Little Sad

I was so sad — quite disproportionately sad — when I read that after 42 years, the Metropolitan Museum has decided to discontinue the use of its medal admissions tags. The price of the tin got too high. I’ve always loved those metal admission buttons; I loved their changing colors, the nice feeling of bending the tin in my fingers, the feeling of satisfaction I got when I put the button in the special receptacle on the way out of the museum. And now they’re gone! An icon of New York City — finished. My mother is visiting from Kansas City, and she visited the museum, so I just saw her wearing the newfangled admissions sticker. “It’s just not the same,” I told her. The end of the buttons is a good reminder: appreciate the little things while they last, because even things that seem as though they’d never change, will change. Feel grateful for those tiny pleasures that are so easy to take for granted. I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay“: …