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The principles of personal change

Kansas City’s own Gretchen Rubin has become an international authority on joy and how to find it.

While her book “The Happiness Project” explores what creates a joyful life, her second book “Better Than Before” focuses more on how to get there through personal growth and change.

But how do we change? It’s not easy, you can’t just flip a switch.

We do it by using habits.

Rubin writes that “Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future.”

Then the next obvious question is how do we change our habits or create new ones?

Rubin is a prodigious thinker and writer on the subject. She’s a big believer in distilling strategies down to single sentences. If we want to change habits it’s important to have a plan.

So, she wrote her Habits Manifesto. Here it is:

  1. What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.
  2. Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
  3. Focus on actions, not outcomes.
  4. By giving something up, we may gain.
  5. Things often get harder before they get easier.
  6. When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.
  7. We’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.
  8. It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.
  9. We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.
  10. We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.
  11. We manage what we monitor.
  12. Once we’re ready to begin, begin now.

What rings true (or hollow) for you in Rubin’s list? What would you add or subtract?

The building blocks of change are our daily habits. If we want to change, we’ve got to pay attention to the daily inputs that affect it.

Have a great week.

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