Breaking Bad (Habits, That Is): LinkedIn Speaker Series with Gretchen Rubin

September 25, 2013

How many times have you tried to break a bad habit and failed? Or tried to help a friend adopt a good habit only to pester and wonder why they just don’t get it?

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recently joined us as part of our LinkedIn Speaker Series to share her thoughts on the topic of happiness.

SPOILER ALERT: We are not all created equal when it comes to forming habits.

I’m a happiness junkie. I probably read 3 to 4 articles a week on happiness at work, happiness at home, the 20 things happy people do differently, etc. What struck me in Gretchen’s talk is that she provides the framework to take action. Given that habits impact so many of our daily actions, creating habits that work for you can ultimately lead to greater happiness.

No, there isn’t some magical number of days you have to floss your teeth in order for that habit to stick. Consider that myth busted. Instead, Gretchen shared that the route to happiness starts by first understanding yourself and how you manage both internal and external expectations. In a blog post, Gretchen outlines four classifications for understanding which personality type people are:

Upholder: accepts rules, whether from outside or inside. An upholder meets deadlines, follows doctor’s order, keeps a New Year’s resolution. I am an Upholder, 100%.

Questioner: questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.

Rebel: flouts rules, from outside or inside. They resist control. Give a rebel a rule, and the rebel will want to do the very opposite thing.

Obliger: accepts outside rules, but doesn’t like to adopt self-imposed rules.

Knowing which personality type you are will help you succeed next time you are determined to hit the gym daily or cut out unhealthy snacks.

So, which personality type are you? And, more importantly, how do you plan to act on that self-realization to make good habits thrive and bad habits disappear? Feel free to tell us and keep the happiness discussion going on Twitter using the hashtag #inspeaker