Have Any Toys From Childhood That Are Still Important?

For some reason, I lay awake last night thinking about toys. Do you have any toys or “comfort objects” from childhood that are still important to you?

A Key to Good Habits? Don’t Allow Ourselves to Feel Deprived

Do you find that deprivation makes you feel justified in indulging or breaking a good habit?

Are You Chronically Late? 8 Tips for Showing Up on Time

Many people have the habit of constantly running late — and they drive themselves, and other people, crazy.

The Danger of the Finish Line

One thing that took me a long time to realize, in the study of habits: the danger of finish lines.

Has a “Clean Slate” Ever Led You to a Major Habit Change?

The fresh start, the do-over, or the new year is a crucial time, because it offers tremendous opportunity for forming new habits - but it can also pose great risk to existing habits that we want to maintain.

Lost Your Keys Again? Eight Tips to Find Misplaced Objects

Keeping track of my stuff. Not being able to find something is a minor challenge to happiness, of course—but it’s one of those minor things that can make me crazy.

Further Secrets of Adulthood — for Habits

For years, I’ve been writing my “Secrets of Adulthood,” which are the principles I’ve managed to grasp as I’ve become an adult.

Can You Add to This List of Famous Upholders...

I want to provide examples of the Rubin Tendencies from well-known movies, TV shows, and literature, or from memoirs, autobiographies, or biographies.

What are Your Treats?

What exactly counts as a “treat?” A treat is different from a reward, which must be justified or earned. A treat is a small pleasure or indulgence that we give to ourselves just because we want it.

A Better Way to Wake Up

I knew from experience that setting my alarm to 6 A.M. when I was used to 8 P.M. wasn’t going to work in the long run, so I instead committed to pushing the time back for just 15 minutes once a week to give my brain a better chance of adapting.

Want to Read About Writing?

Okay I must stop, or I’ll end up quoting dozens of passages.

Want to Know Yourself Better, to Shape Your Habits Better?

It’s hard, however, to know ourselves. And it’s hard to know the aspects of our nature that are relevant to how we might form habits.

My New Habit for Tackling Nagging Tasks: Power Hour

But how could I form a single habit to cover a bunch of non-recurring, highly diverse tasks?

The Habits We Most Want to Foster, or The Essential Seven

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.

What Habit Would Add the Most to Your Happiness?

When I talk to people about their happiness challenges, they often point to hurdles related to a habit they want to make or break.

Did You See the Movie “Enough Said”?

But what’s the client thinking? Probably…nothing.

Rebels, I’d Love to Hear Your Perspective

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

Strategy of Loophole-Spotting No. 1: False Choice Loophole

Of all of them, perhaps my favorite strategy to study is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting — because the loopholes are so funny.

Are You an “Energizer” or a “De-Energizer” at Work?

Cross and Parker argue that energy is a key factor in understanding who is effective at work, and why. When they analyzed networks of co-workers, knowing whether someone was considered an “energizer” and a “de-energizer” shed a great deal of light on how networks worked, and how productive various people managed to be.

Do You Have These Friends?

We need many kinds of relationships; for one thing, we need friends.

Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier

I knew from experience that setting my alarm to 6 am when I was used to 8 am wasn’t going to work in the long run, so I instead committed to pushing the time back for just 15 minutes once a week to give my brain a better chance of adapting.

How to Spot a Psychopath

I love finding—or inventing—ways to categorize people. I agree with philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who observed, “Every classification throws light on something.”

Questions for You Questioners and Obligers, About Treats

Questioners: do you have trouble giving yourself a treat if you feel that it isn’t “necessary” or “justified”? In other words, do you feel like there has to be a sound reason to give yourself a treat?

Avoid the Dangerous Allure of 'Potato-Chip News'

It’s a highly effective strategy, particularly for people who are attracted to potato-chip news. I’m not attracted to potato-chip news, myself, so it took me a while to understand this challenge.

Once Again: 6 Tips for Writing from George Orwell

I was quite pleased by the number of people who wrote to ask where the list had gone, so I’ve decided to re-post it.

Feeling Lonely? Consider Trying These 7 Strategies

Most people have suffered from loneliness at some point. Have you found any good strategies for making yourself less lonely? What worked—or didn’t work?

Revealed! The Subject of My Next Book

Whenever I start a new book, I think, “This is the most interesting subject of all time. It’s sad, I’ll never enjoy writing another book as much as I enjoy this one.” Every time, I’m convinced. And then I change my mind when I start the next book.

One Way to Boost Happiness? Connect with My Past

I like being back in that environment, to get to listen to law talk and hang out with lawyer friends. It makes me feel more connected to my past, which makes me feel more rooted, more…coherent.

What Kind of Person Are You? The Four Rubin Tendencies

It’s very important to know ourselves, but self-knowledge is challenging.

Feeling Blue? Consider the Beauty of Nature

Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It’s geometrically perfect. It’s tiny and gigantic.