Happiness + Weight Loss Habits!

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Hello M’fitties!

As you know, I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for quite a while now and near the back of the book, I keep certain notes. I’ve been visiting chapters about once every 3 weeks to relax and “date” myself–aka give myself a rest day to read what I want.


(Sitting at Starbucks in Chapters Indigo)

I’m one of those people who comes in, reads books, and leaves without purchasing anything. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this?

Lately, I’ve been reading a book called Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. She also wrote The Happiness Project, which I liked reading. This book is all about forming lasting habits that’ll set you up for success. I guess you could say that even in my spare time, I like learning about self-development. It’s like I never rest. I’ve learned a whole bunch of habits that not only would spark more productivity, but also help with weight loss and organization. Here are some notes I made at the back of my book!

better than before

Notes from Books I’ve read (like Better than Before):

  • Habits are when you decide NOT to decide. It eliminates the need for self-control.
  • Habits don’t have a finish line.
  • Loop Holes:

    • “I deserve this!”: You give yourself permission to do something “bad” because you’ve been so “good”.
    • “I’ll start tomorrow.”: Somehow you feel you’ll have more self-control tomorrow, so you’ll continue to overindulge today.
    • False Choice: “It’ll either be like this, or like that.” Isn’t there a medium in-between? Are you being realistic with all the outcomes? Isn’t there a balance? Aren’t there alternatives?
    • Lack of Control: You argue that circumstances causes you to make bad decisions.
    • Planning to Fail: You arrange it so that you succumb to bad decisions.
    • “This doesn’t count”: (comes too often with myself when I’m eating bites of snacks here and there!)
    • Quesitonnable Assumption: Sound reasonable, but they’re all-or-nothing and/or self-sabotaging. Sort of like False Choice. (ex. “I gotta make the most out of this buffet so I have to eat a lot!”, or “I overslept 15 minutes and now I only have 15 minutes left to study before class. I might as well not get into it and just spend 15 minutes doing whatever.”)
    • Concern for others: Doing things for others when we’re actually doing it for own own benefit. (“Mom baked this cookie for me; she’ll be upset if I don’t eat it so I’ll eat it for her.”)
    • Fake self-actualization: excuses disguised to embrace oneself. You let yourself fail to “learn from the mistakes”. (YOLO, so why not eat the brownie? But actually, it should be YOLO. and you’ll feel better in the long run without eating that brownie. It’s all about how you feel about your decision afterwards. If you feel good, then go for it. Gretchen says, “The real aim isn’t to enjoy a few pleasures right now, but to build habits that’ll make us happier in the long term.”)
    • One-coin loophole: Not believing that doing 1 thing can help us get closer to the goal in the long run: Every habit has 2 coins: 1 for the habit itself and 1 for the maintenance of the habit. Every time you do the habit, no matter what the results, you are protecting and reinforcing that habit–and that’s what counts. Each time you disengage with it, you take away from the habit. Every little step counts. Each coin will make you slightly richer–you just have to save up the pile.
  • Procrastination: When you haven’t started a project, you get anxious that you haven’t started. Then you’re reluctant TO start. And that generates even more anxiety. And so…
    • Well-begun is half-done.
    • Don’t get it perfect; get it GOING.
    • Starting = harder than continuing.
    • All you need is momentum.
    • Don’t get it perfect; get it GOING.
    • Starting = harder than continuing.

  • Pairing: Pair 1 dreadful activity with a positive one
    • Watch TV and go on the treadmill
    • You can only shower if you’ve exercised.
    • Commercial cleaning (clean something each time a commercial comes on)
    • When you eat, you sit down.
  • Attack a secret bad habit by doing it in public view
    • Would you steal someone else’s food in plain view?
  • Bright-line Rules: No questions asked; Always or Never done; these are rules you follow automatically. Eg:
    • I always move my body first thing in the morning.
    • I always say yes to sex if it’s asked.
    • I always stay vegetarian before dinner.
    • I never have more than 3 of anything (episodes, bites of dessert, etc)
  • Tie habits with an identity: you identify yourself with an action as opposed to feeling like you’re obligated to the action.
    • I do yoga VS. I am a Yogi.
  • Cravings: It’s easier to extinguish your 1st desire than to manage all the ones that follow it.
    • Saying “no” to a food can be freeing. You FREE yourself from candies, french fries, etc (from poison!)
    • Strengthen good habits by making them more convenient. Squash bad ones by making then LESS convenient
      • Ex. increase the amount of physique or mental energy required to do it (like leaving your cellphone in the next room)
      • Hide triggers/cues (like putting the video controller on the very top shelf)
      • Delay it.
        • Wait 15 minutes.
        • Do 25 jumping jacks.
        • Concentrate on the bottom of your feet
        • Keep your hands busy
        • Smell peppermint essential oil
      • Engage in incompatible activity (like solving a puzzle while trying to snack)
      • Block it altogether (give away the TV)
      • Raise the cost of the habit
      • Eat with your non-dominant hand. Eat with Chopsticks!
    • Write “If I do/don’t do ______, then _______(write positive/negative outcome here)___” before engaging in the habit!

  • Rewards for good habits? No!:
    • External rewards are harmful to forming habits, which are supposed to be done automatically by nature. Rewards require mental decision(aka “does this count?” “What’s my prize?”)
    • Find the reward within the habit itself so there’s no external reward. The reward is in the habit (aka the habit saves money, increases creativity, etc)
    • Treats are better than rewards. Treat yourself because you just want it; not because you earned it. Don’t justify treating yourself.
  • If you screw up:
    • A stumble may prevent a fall.
    • Shame and guilt doesn’t act as safeguards to help you stick to good habits. People who show less guilt and more compassion regain more self-control.
    • Stumbles = habit formation process. It’s not a failure.
    • Fail SMALL. Not big. Don’t screw over the rest of your day just because the first 3 hours didn’t go well. Divide your day into quarters and achieve each quarter (because sometimes 1 entire day can seem long). Each quarter, you get a clean slate.
    • If you’re going to make exceptions, ENJOY THEM. Make sure you will not regret it later, otherwise it’s not worth it. Make exceptions worth it by enjoying them.
      • Prep in advance for exceptions and write them down.
      • Exceptions work with specificity. When they’re limited and have a cut-off point (ex. “I usually eat low carb, but for this thanksgiving I’ll allow myself to have 1 cup of turkey stuffing.” Note that no other foods are exceptions, the there is a limited quantity to the exception.)

Notes To Myself:

  • Stop buying out: A dozen eggs costs $3. A serving of chicken from Chipotle is $2.80. The comparison is hardly deniable.
  • The time you contemplate starting, you could have already been 50% there.
  • Deciding to do the task means you’re more than halfway done.
  • If you love me, then take me. If not, then leave me.
  • You dream 24 hours a day–awake, and then asleep.
  • Faith = believing unconditionally
  • Anything that challenges your belief feels unsafe.
  • Anger, jealousy, envy, hate, and lust are all fiery energies.
  • We abuse ourselves more than others abuse us. If someone abuses us more severely than we do to ourselves, we walk away. If it’s a little less, we tolerate it endlessly.

  • GET! EXCITED! ABOUT! IT! <–This is for myself to look forward to one ordinary/unexciting task each day. Even if I loathe it, I make myself get excited about it, and then it doesn’t seem so bad.
  • Try no S’s: Snacks, seconds, sweets, someone else’s food.
  • Surround yourself with people whose habits and personalities you want to incorporate yourself. I’ts the small things that eventually transform you; so spend time with people that you admire.
  • Be confident and optimistic in your commands (yes, you CAN be that picky eater at the restaurant that waiters hate! Embrace the fact that you’re picky and wear it proud. Just be nice about it!). People will adapt and accept them.
  • Don’t compare yourself. Find a solution that works for you. There are lots of great products to assist you on your journey, such as those at www.isaaxcess.ca, meaning it is easier than ever before to put together your bespoke weight loss plan.
  • Time enjoyed in life isn’t time wasted. Just because you’re not “working” doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time. Taking “vacations” gives you more strength and sustains your working habits to be even stronger and more productive than not taking times to relax.

What’s your favourite section at the bookstore?

What are you currently reading?

Have you read Better than Before?