Thursday, December 10, 2015

New Year, New You! Becoming Better than Before

Its a new year, a time for a fresh start! In 2016, we are becoming better than ever before..... together!

I am a reader, and I always love a good book that captivates my attention and hopefully in some way will make a meaningful impact. I don't normally do "self-help" books. I am not usually the "self-help" book kind of gal, but Better than Before:Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin was a random book I picked up on a quick pit stop to the library several weeks ago. I mentioned in my post on Jazzed Up Coffee and Peace Vibes, that I recently finished this interesting book on habit formation, but I didn't really dive into its greatness.
Me in the "all natural"- no makeup, filters, etc. This is the real me!

Gretchen Rubin, former lawyer and clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, now turned writer, really opened my mind as to why and how we create habits. She did extensive research into people's habit-forming quirks, and then applying that research she offered many strategies to help one implement a particular habit. I mentioned I randomly picked up Better than Before at the library; so there was little expectations with it and I had no idea who the author was, but the title was interesting to me... I wanted to become better! I needed something to listen to on my commute to and from work too, so it was the audio version admittedly (although I am currently reading 2 other books on my kindle so I need audio appeal sometimes too). I was intrigued to learn new ways I could create new healthy habits, maintain ones I had already established, and help others to develop lasting healthy habits as well. This seemed like a good enough gamble to try and see what the author had to offer.

After finishing the book, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. That's it! Living a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, preparing and eating healthy meals, fostering better relationships, living purposely, decluttering your home..... while it greatly depends on our own morals, values, personality, and principles, it ALSO significantly depends on the type of habit-former you are! Honestly, when I first started this book, I thought I would NOT like it. She was very philosophical and sort of tried to explain the nature of the research...and I was like "Oh good Lord, where is this going?", but once she started explaining the four primary tendencies of habit formation. I was instantly intrigued or "hooked" if you will! I thought "this is why I do this, this is why I act this way, this is why its been so hard for me to do this or that'....." She explains that as she was doing her research for the book on habit formation, she noticed that people largely fell into 1 of these 4 habit-forming tendencies. Now some people can definitely have an overlapping nature regarding the tendencies, but usually one will stand out as the person's primary habit-forming tendency.

The four tendencies include:

Upholder- you meet outer and inner expectations, you can master habits on your own accord and make yourself accountable.

Questioner-resists outer expectations, meets inner expectations. You master habits only if you have
analyzed it thoroughly and it makes sense to you to do it. You question everything about developing a certain habit.

Obliger- meets outer expectations, and resists inner expectations. The epitome of the "people pleaser" and will largely create habits based on acccountability and feelings of obligations.

Rebel- resists outer and inner expectations..,...the epitome of "living on the whim" or "let's just wing it today". Habits almost feel constrictive to a rebel.

Take the Quiz: What type of habit-former are you?
The four tendencies...which one are you?

So I did some soul searching (ok and I took the quiz on Gretchen's website) to determine just what type of habit former I really was! I figured I would certainly overlap into a couple of them depending on the particular habit, but according to Gretchen's four categories... I was an upholder. An upholder will maintain their habits because it brings a sense of true internal satisfaction and approval. I thought that was interesting because I knew how important accountability was to me and thought surely I am an obliger. While that may be true, I think we all have a little of all four categories in us, and different habits may require different strategies for implementing them.  I would like to identify myself as a sole upholder, but I saw areas in my life where I seemed to fit in the other categories. There are some habits I have formed over this last year that I think would classify me as an "upholder", but joining monthly health and fitness accountability groups makes me more like an you see some overlap.

So why do I read these types of books and what do I try to take from them?

Personal Development! I consider myself a spiritual person, and read many books related to my faith. But sometimes I am just a modern 21st century girl living in a south Louisiana world, And I want information, tips, strategies, techniques for living life in the modern day world while still "upholding" my personal morals, values, and faith. I also want to be as healthy and fit as possible in this world. I would think that most people want to be fit and get healthier, right?! People want to have great energy levels, feel comfortable in clothes, eat a good meal without the pangs of caloric guilt. Why and how is it easier for some people to establish lasting healthy habits, and yet it can be so difficult for others? Its not always a matter of apathy, laziness, or unwillingness; maybe its a matter of how we try to tackle a habit. Whether its to start a new habit, maintain one already established, or quit one that is not so healthy, we need to understand the type of person we are and our habit-forming tendencies in order to create life-changing results.

So with the New Year upon us, I decided that I wanted to take what I had learned from this book and really apply that knowledge to my 2016 goals and to encourage and motivate others to have a happier and healthier 2016.  I went to Gretchen Rubin's website and downloaded many resources for essentially creating a healthy habits accountability group. My participation in health and fitness accountability groups for the last 6 months has literally been life-changing! I am now a absolute firm believer that having accountability, a support system, a group to cheer you along is a vital key to accomplishing health and fitness habits no matter what habit tendency you are. So with what I have learned from my own health and fitness accountability groups and from Better than Before. I figured creating a healthy habits group would be a great way to ring in the new year!! People want to reach certain goals and institute healthy habits, we just don't always know where to begin and how to keep it up. The vision I have for this pursuit wouldn't just entail healthy habits relating to diet and exercise, although that certainly will be a key feature, but any healthy habit one would want to master 2016.

Looking back at my 2015 New Year's Resolutions, or goals if you will, I did manage to implement and uphold most of them....surprisingly! I will talk more about that in "New Year, New YOU: Part 2!"

If you would like to join me in a "New Year, New You: Better than Before" healthy habits group, please let me know! I would love to have you join me! I would like to create a private Facebook group to do this, but also toyed around with the idea of just capitulating the information and daily tasks/tips on my blog or Facebook page "Gratefully Healthy"! I will share with you all the tips and strategies to create, lasting healthy habits. I will provide resources from Gretchen Rubin's website to guide us along the way. I am currently reading her other book the "Happiness Project" which I will incorporate aspects of that work as well as it was a year long project that starts with you guessed it..January!

PM on facebook, email me at if interested!
The New Paperback edition 


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