Before & After:Obliger Figures Out How To Exercise Regularly

Occasionally, I post an interesting before-and-after story submitted by a reader about how he or she successfully changed a habit. I love to hear people’s stories about habit change.

The Perfect Office Design

Most of us can’t change much about the design of our offices, but these elements at least furnish a few ideas.

Do You Ever Yield to a Temptation...

We tell ourselves that we’re acting out of consideration for others and making generous, unselfish decisions. Or, more strategically, we decide we must do something in order to fit in to a social situation.

Quiz Yourself: What Kind of Play Do You Enjoy?

For a happy life, it’s not enough to have an absence of bad feelings — we also need sources of good feelings.

Did the Quiz Help You Determine Your Tendency?

I’m very gratified that so many thousands of people have taken the quiz — and even more gratified by the notes at the end. The comments are fascinating.

Do You Wish You Spent Less Time Watching “Potato-Chip News?

When trying to stick to a good habit, many people are challenged by the dangerous allure of “potato-chip news.”

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener

Have you found any strategies that have helped you be a better listener?

Like Jung and Wharton...

It sounds so easy to know yourself — after all, you hang out with yourself all day! But it’s very, very challenging. We’re so distracted by how we wish we were, or by what think we ought to be, or by what other people expect from us…we lose touch with what’s actually true.

Trying to Keep a Resolution?

When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps reject them.

Going to Make a New Year’s Resolution? Consider These 5 Tips

If my happiness and habits research has convinced me of anything, it has convinced me that resolutions – made right – can make a huge difference in boosting happiness.

Fighting Holiday Food Temptation? Try These 13 Tips

The holidays are supposed to be a festive time, but many people feel anxiety and regret around food and drink—the holiday season is so full of temptation.

Consider This New Yorker Cover

As the cover shows, simplicity lovers and abundance lovers thrive in different environments. For instance, a simplicity lover is likely to work better in an office that’s quiet, with minimal decoration; the abundance lover in an office that’s lively and crammed with visual details.

Questions for Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels

It’s very important to know ourselves, but self-knowledge is challenging. If you want to know yourself, it’s key to know where you fit into the Four Tendencies, that describe how people tend to respond to expectations.

Six Things I Learned

Here’s what I learned about myself.

Why You Must Give Yourself Treats

“Treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role.

A Surprising Way to Feel Better About Yourself.

Although it’s always tempting to think, “I’m doing too much, I’m so stressed out, I can’t ask this of myself, I need to cut back.” But it may be that asking more of ourselves will actually make us feel more competent, more energized, and less stressed.

What Appeals to You?

The very words we choose to characterize our habits can make them seem more or less appealing.

What Habits Are Best for Creativity?

Often, people make the case for adopting a particular habit by pointing to a renowned figure who practiced that habit, with great success.

Daylight Saving Time

We all love to “fall back” and to get that extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. It’s a great boon to get a little extra sleep.

12 Rules for Making Better Habits

Writing a personal manifesto is a great exercise for clarifying your thinking — and it’s also a creative, absorbing process.

Buddhism Has Eight “Auspicious Symbols”

I particularly love Buddhism’s eight auspicious symbols.

Secret of Adulthood

Agree, disagree? I asked people about the habits they most wanted to change. I found that most habits fall into the “Essential Seven“:


I’ve concluded that when dealing with temptation, people are either “Moderators” or “Abstainers.”

Important: Do Not Overfeed.

In talking about their attempts to have healthier eating habits, people often told me that an important person in their life made this aim more difficult.

Questioners, What Questions Do You Ask About Your Habits?

Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.

Are You a “People-Pleaser?” What Do You Feel Obliged to Do?

Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.

Do You Resist When Anyone Asks or Tells You to Do Something?

Many experts suggest a magical, one-size-fits-all solution, but we all know from experience, that alas, such an answer doesn’t exist.

Can a Vine Behave like an Olive Tree? No.

We can’t change our fundamental nature. We have to form the habits that work for us.

How to Make an Exception to Your Rules

How can we make an exception to a good habit, without disrupting that good habit