Tag Archives: habits

Video: “What’s One Cupcake?” and the One-Coin Loophole.

In my latest (bestselling) book, Better Than Before, I identify the twenty-one strategies of habit-formation, and one is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the ten categories of loopholes. I love studying loopholes, because they’re so funny. And ingenious! We’re such great advocates for ourselves — in any situation, we can always think of some loophole to invoke.

What is a “loophole?”

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.

In Better Than Before, I describe all ten categories of loopholes; in this video series. I’ve described them, one by one.

The final loophole: The one-coin loophole. This is a very dangerous loophole, because it always applies, and it’s always true! Beware!


I haven’t worked on that project for such a long time, there’s no point in working on it this morning.


One beer won’t make a difference.


What difference does it make if I spend this afternoon at the library or at a video arcade?


Why work on my report today, when the deadline is so far away?


Why should I bother to wear my bike helmet today?

If you want to know why it’s called the “one-coin loophole,” I explain in the video. Here’s the book I mention: a footnote in Erasmus’s Praise of Folly.

Do you find yourself invoking this all-too-applicable loophole? In what context?

It’s dangerous because it’s true.

Podcast 33: Try a Boot Camp — and Have You Ever Experienced a “Lightning Bolt” Change in Habits?

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: Elizabeth gets a gold star for going to bed early, which is a struggle for her. But she’s having trouble working on her young-adult novel. She’s going to try to do it for two days a week.

Also, you’ll hear us talk about our new (and we hope improved, though Elizabeth is doubtful) way of referring to previous episodes, so that you can easily find them here on my site. That’s happiercast.com/33 (or the number of whatever episode you’re looking for).

Plus, if you’d like to get an email alert every time we release a new episode, you can sign up here.

Try This at Home: Try a boot camp for yourself. I mention Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! where he describes how to write a novel in a month. You can also join National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever done a boot camp — if so, what kind?

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: the Strategy of the Lightning Bolt. This Strategy is unique among the twenty-one strategies, because it’s not something you can do; it’s something that happens to you. How about you? Ever experienced this phenomenon? It’s puzzling, interesting, sudden.

The book that hit me like a lightning bolt was Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat.

Listener Questioner: Elizabeth in Tennessee: “Do you have any tips on finishing the little left-over things that need to be done after you’ve moved houses?”

Elizabeth and Gretchen’s Demerit:  We didn’t get a guest for the podcast. The timing didn’t work out. Shoot!


Call for comments, questions, observations! We’re going to spend four weeks talking about my Four Tendencies framework for human nature. We’ve already had many thought-provoking responses, but we want more.


Please, send in our questions and comments by voicemail, email, etc. What’s your experience with yourself, spouse, child, patient, colleague, boss, friend, etc? We’re dying to hear from you.

1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin #33

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Tell us — have you ever tried a boot camp, and if so what kind? Did it work? And share any tricks you’ve used to get yourself to put away those last items.

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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HAPPIER listening!

What Are Your Questions and Comments about Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels?

My sister and I are having a great time doing our podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Coming up, we’ve decided to try something a little different.  We’re going to do a special series on the Four Tendencies framework that I discuss in Better Than Before, my book about habit formation.

With the Four Tendencies, I divide all of humanity into four categories: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.

For four weeks on the podcast, we’re going to focus on the Tendencies. Strengths, weakness, striking patterns…and you’ll get to hear me talk about being an Upholder and Elizabeth talk about being an Obliger. And you’ll get to hear me talk about Elizabeth’s Obligerness and hear her talking about my Upholderness!

Plus we’ll have guests to speak for Questioner and Rebel.

In the meantime, you can read about (more…)

Revealed! The New Jacket for the Paperback of “Better Than Before.”

Big news! (At least it’s big for me.)

At last, I can reveal the jacket art for the paperback of Better Than Before.

It’s fun to do something different with the cover of the hardback and the paperback.

It turns out that it’s very difficult to capture the idea of “habits” in a visual image, and I think the arrows pointing forward and backward do a good job of that. Plus I love the vibrant colors.

But if you don’t like it, please don’t tell me. It’s done, it’s decided. I’m always asking myself, “What are the iron laws of the universe?” There aren’t many. One is (more…)

7 Things I Learned About Myself, from Getting a Dog.

As I may have mentioned, my family and I just got a new puppy — a cockapoo named Barnaby. He’s fourteen weeks old, and super sweet and delightful.

However, he is a dog, and even more so, he’s a puppy. I knew that his arrival in our household would mean big changes — and would also teach me a lot about myself.

So far, here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. is very different from getting up at 6:00 a.m.

It’s just thirty minutes…but it feels like a much bigger gap. For years,  my day has started at 6:00, and I’m hoping that when Barnaby is a little older, I can move my wake-up time back to its usual spot. For now, he’s very eager to go out by 5:30.

2. New York City is an overwhelming place.

I’ve been here for so long that I take it for granted, but being with Barnaby has shown me how noisy and bustling it is. In some ways, that’s good; in some ways, (more…)