Thursday, April 21, 2016

Choose Your Habits

I've been reading (hey, there's a surprise-- isn't that how my blog posts usually start out?) Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It's a pretty interesting book, although I don't like it as much as her others (The Happiness Project and Happier at Home). 

The whole book is about habits and the gist of it is to learn to form positive habits to improve our lives. I like this book because I'm all about habits and I'm also all about improving my daily life. However, for someone who doesn't love habits, the book may seem a little over the top. I even thought it seemed a little over the top. BUT I did like her point that she focuses on making habits so that she has more time to spend on important things, like relationships. Some people, like myself, just need structure to function.

The thing I learned the most from this book was the idea that not everyone responds to expectations the same way. Duh, right? But seriously, it explained a lot to me. First off, she explains that there are two types of expectations: outer and inner. Outer expectations are what people expect you to get done, like at work, rules, etc. Inner expectations are ones that we place on ourselves (goals, resolutions). I have never understood why my husband doesn't feel the same need to be making resolutions and goals for himself and for his life. Now I begin to understand. 

She puts it into four groups: upholders (who meet outer and inner expectations), questioners (who only meet expectations they feel are justified), obligers (who meet outer expectations but struggle to meet their own), and rebels (who resist all expectations). It makes so much sense! For the most part, I am an upholder. I follow rules, even rules that I think are silly. I love making goals for myself and achieving them. I have an extreme personality in that sense. On the other hand, Daniel told me that he would classify himself as a rebel. I'm not quite sure if that's true, but he definitely questions expectations, breaks rules he doesn't believe in, and doesn't like to make goals for himself. Not super exciting information, maybe, but I think it helps me understand my husband a little bit better. He doesn't follow rules blindly like me, but he does follow ones that he feels are important. One "type" isn't necessarily better or worse, it just comes down to how we tick. Maybe it will help you to understand people you are close to better, too.

I want to leave you with one last thought from the book:

I like this quote because, hello-- it's true, but also because it's often overlooked. We create a bad habit when we are tired or lazy. We do it a few times and then it sticks. Or, when we skip a good habit a few times, *poof* it's gone. It's a reminder to carefully make our habits, for so quickly they will define us. 

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