September 04, 2015
In Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin talks about the Essential Seven Habits which all of us want to learn.
A warning before you read ahead – in this post I unabashedly indulge in navel-gazing. You are forewarned.
Essential Seven Habits
So I made a list of what habits I wanted to learn and mapped them to the essential seven. This is what it looks like.
What habits would I like to adopt:
– Wake up at 5.00AM everyday – Essential #5
– Write for an hour everyday – Essential #5
– Yoga everyday – Essential #2,#4
– Climb or elliptical or cycle everyday – Essential #2,#4
– Study everyday – Essential; #5
– Cook three times a week – Essential #1,#4
– Mindfulness in all I do – essential #4,#5
At first glance, it looks like none of my want-to-learn-habits belong to Essentials #3, #6, #7.
However, looking a little deeper, it is clear that the Essential Seven with the highest priority for me is actually #6, and everything I do tends to automating so I can get better at #6. It is also true that the one I have the most worry about is #5 – I do too much and want to do too much.
So learning #1
In the next section, Gretchen puts forth the four fateful tendencies – Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Rebel.
Taking the quizzes and reflecting upon myself, I very solidly belong in the Upholder category – with shades of a Questioner. What does this mean for me? The good part is that I am self-directed and pretty much can do what I set my mind to. But the downsides – I definitely need to work on these:
– Compulsion to fulfill even pointless expectations (set by me and by others)
– I am very uneasy breaking rules
– I can be relentless and not in a nice way
– I can follow rules because they are there
– If I don’t watch myself, I can just go do that which gives me the most recognition
The fact that I have some slight leaning to be a questioner provides balance – those are times when I take a step back and ask myself, why exactly I am doing this?
There are some other quizzes there and I found the following:
– I am mostly a lark now – but I used to be an owl some 5 years ago or more. This is partly something I have worked towards and partly a stage-of-life thing.
– I am a Procrastinator who wants to be a Marathoner
○ My notes tell me to try to work more steadily and to try the strategy of scheduling
– I am definitely a good consumer – I mean an overbuyer (and not an underbuyer)
○ My notes tell me to remember that mere acquisition isn’t enough
– Between an abundance lover vs. simplicity lover
○ This was a hard one for me. I finally decided that I am now a simplicity lover , though I am sure, at one point I was an abundance lover. I am perplexed at this shift since I never consciously tried. Is this again a stage of life thing – or a getting older thing – or is it a reflection of how mainstream values are changing, and I am caught in this simplicity fad?
– I am definitely an Opener (and not a finisher) who loves to start new things and projects
○ My notes tell me : You are overly optimistic about your ability to take on additional habits
– I am definitely a novelty lover (as opposed to a familiarity lover)
○ Remember: Thirty day challenges are better for me than creating an enduring automatic habit. Or let me put it this way – a series of challenges will help create that enduring automatic habit
– I am promotion focused (not prevention focused)
○ This is obvious in my aims and goals and the way I frame arguments.
– I like taking BIG steps (as opposed to small steps)
○ My mentality of “Doing everything at once” is something I need to keep in check. It is definitely not a sustainable way of doing things
– I love blast starts. But I need to plan specifically how to shift from the high unsustainable intensity of the Blast Start to forever habit intensity
– What kind of transitions do I prefer? I love racing from one activity to other (and have not generally preferred unhurried transitions), since they make me feel alive, super powerful, super capable. However I am definitely teaching myself the pleasures of the unhurried transition.
Armed with this new self-knowledge, I realize that I am not the person I was in the past, and not the person I thought I was. And I will keep changing in the future. Now I also know what to look out for, what to be aware of so I can live the life I think I want.
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