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Gretchen Rubin Quotes

Gretchen Craft Rubin

Gretchen Rubin quotes: on habits, happiness, self-mastery and more.

“How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives.”

“The desire to start something at the ‘right’ time is usually just a justification for delay. In almost every case, the best time to start is now.”

Work harder to appreciate your ordinary day.”

“Focus not on doing less or doing more but on doing what you value.”

“The biggest waste of time is to do well something that we need not do at all.”

“Do good, feel good; feel good, do good.”

“The single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.”

“You can choose what you do, you can’t choose what you like to do.”

“Creativity arises from a constant churn of ideas, and one of the easiest ways to encourage that fertile froth is to keep your mind engaged with your project. When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.”

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

“Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.”

“Self-awareness is a key to self-mastery.”

“You really have to begin by figuring out what kind of person you are. The tip is to really take a look at yourself. Think about what kind of person you are and shape your habits, and your happiness, to show what’s true about you instead of thinking that you can just import the right answer from the outside.”

“Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but every day is a clean slate and a fresh opportunity.”

“When I thought about why I was sometimes reluctant to push myself, I realized that it was because I was afraid of failure. But in order to have more success, I needed to be willing to accept more failure.”

“I enjoy the fun of failure. It’s fun to fail. It’s part of being ambitious; it’s part of being creative. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”

“There are no do overs and some things just aren’t going to happen. It is a little sad but you just have to embrace what is.”

“Enthusiasm is more important than innate ability, it turns out.”

“Enthusiasm is a form of social courage. Pay close attention to any flame of enthusiasm.”

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.”

“Turns out that people who try new things, go new places, learn new skills, etc. are happier. This can be tough, because novelty and challenge also bring frustration and irritation. But if you can push through that, novelty and challenge can bring enormous happiness rewards.”

“No one regrets having changed a lightbulb.”

“Studies show that one of the best ways to lift your mood is to engineer an easy success, such as tackling a long-delayed chore.”

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. We repeat about 40% of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

“Our habits are our destiny.”

“For a happy life, it’s important to cultivate an atmosphere of growth—the sense that we’re learning new things, getting stronger, forging new relationships, making things better, helping other people. Habits have a tremendous role to play in creating an atmosphere of growth, because they help us make consistent, reliable progress.”

“With habits, we don’t make decisions, we don’t use self-control, we just do the thing we want ourselves to do—or that we don’t want to do.”

“Some habits become completely automatic; others require some effort, always. What matters is to be moving in the right direction. There’s a great satisfaction in knowing that we’ve made good use of our days, that we’ve lived up to our expectations of ourselves. The true aim is not to break bad habits, but to outgrow them. With the bright light of attention, we can recognize and acknowledge them, and leave them behind.”

“Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.”

“Habit allows us to go from ‘before’ to ‘after,’ to make life easier and better. Habit is notorious (and rightly so) for its ability to direct our actions, even against our will; but by mindfully shaping our habits, we can harness the power of mindlessness as a sweeping force for serenity, energy, and growth.”

“Once the habit is in place, we can effortlessly do the things we want to do.”

“Keeping a habit, in the smallest way, protects and strengthens it. I write every day, even if it’s just a sentence, to keep my habit of daily writing strong.”

“It was my interest in happiness that led me to the subject of habits, and of course, the study of habits is really the study of happiness. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life, and a significant element of happiness.”

“Sometimes, counter-intuitively, it’s easier to make a major change than a minor change. When a habit is changing very gradually, we may lose interest, give way under stress, or dismiss the change as insignificant. There’s an excitement and an energy that comes from a big transformation, and that helps to create a habit.”

“We can use decision-making to choose the habits we want to form, use willpower to get the habit started, then—and this is the best part—we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. At that point, we’re free from the need to decide and the need to use willpower.”

“Step by step, you make your way forward. That’s why practices such as daily writing exercises or keeping a daily blog can be so helpful. You see yourself do the work, which shows you that you can do the work. Progress is reassuring and inspiring; panic and then despair set in when you find yourself getting nothing done day after day. One of the painful ironies of work life is that the anxiety of procrastination often makes people even less likely to buckle down in the future.”

“Challenge: we find personal meaning in pursuing a goal that’s difficult but not impossible. Curiosity: we’re intrigued and find pleasure in learning more. Control: we like the feeling of mastery. Fantasy: we play a game; we use our imagination to make an activity more stimulating. Cooperation: we enjoy the satisfaction of working with others. Competition: we feel gratified when we can compare ourselves favorably to others. Recognition: we’re pleased when others recognize our accomplishments and contributions.”

“Any beginning is a time of special power for habit creation, and at certain times we experience a clean slate, in which circumstances change in a way that makes a fresh start possible—if we’re alert for the opportunity.”

“Flawed can be more perfect than perfection.”

“Self-measurement brings self-awareness, and self-awareness strengthens our self-control.”

“Get enough exercise and sleep. Sounds trivial, but it’s not. You may have the urge to work 24/7, to skip the gym and to stay up late to get a few more things done. That’s short-sighted. Exercise and sleep are critical to having the physical and mental energy necessary to meet a challenge.”

“It’s easy to be heavy; hard to be light.”

“We all know the secret of dieting. It’s the application that’s challenging.”

“Getting control of stuff makes people feel like they have more control over their lives—maybe irrationally, but it’s one of these psychological truths.”

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

“We need to have intimate, enduring bonds; we need to be able to confide; we need to feel that we belong; we need to be able to get support, and just as important for happiness, to give support. We need many kinds of relationships; for one thing, we need friends.”

“The 20-minute walk I take is better than the three-mile run I never start. Having people over for take-out is better than never having people to an elegant dinner party.”

“Life is too short to save your good china or your good lingerie or your good anything for later because truly, later may never come.”

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

“Studies show that aggressively expressing anger doesn’t relieve anger but amplifies it. On the other hand, not expressing anger often allows it to disappear without leaving ugly traces.”

Laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity. When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently.”

“Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness. In one of those life-isn’t-fair results, it turns out that the happy out-perform the less happy.”

“Contemporary research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in others, friendlier, and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues and citizens.”

“I think self-knowledge is a key to happiness. We can build happy lives only on the foundation of our own natures, our own values, and our own interests.”

“Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have.”

“If I pretend to myself that I’m different from the way I truly am, I’m going to make choices that won’t make me happy.”

“If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.”

“We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”

“Money. It’s a good servant but a bad master.”

“I grasped two things: I wasn’t as happy as I could be, and my life wasn’t going to change unless I made it change.”

“Now that I’ve relinquished my fantasies of all the people I wish I could be, and stopped feeling guilty about not going to the opera or pretending that I want to attend a foreign policy lecture, I have more time for the things that I truly enjoy.”

“I spend a lot of time saying to myself, ‘Well, is that really what I like to do? Is that really something that makes me happy?’ and letting go of the things that don’t make me happy.”

“Writing makes me happy. The thing that inspires me most is reading and just observing the people around me. I think those are the two things that make me want to write.”

“People feel happier when they feel like they’re progressing. When they feel like something in their life is growing or getting better.”

“I am living my real life, this is it. Now is now, and if I waited to be happier, waited to have fun, waited to do the things that I know I ought to do, I might never get the chance.”

“We are happy when we are growing.”

“’Feeling right’ is about living the life that’s right for you—in occupation, location, marital status, and so on. It’s also about virtue: doing your duty.”

“Accept yourself and expect more from yourself.”

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

Related: The Happiness Advantage.

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