Top Quotes from Gretchen Rubin

One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good.

Gretchen Rubin

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.

Gretchen Rubin

Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It’s geometrically perfect. It’s tiny and gigantic. You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard – or, in my case, in the trees lining New York City sidewalks, or in the clouds above skyscrapers.

Gretchen Rubin

Turn off your email; turn off your phone; disconnect from the Internet; figure out a way to set limits so you can concentrate when you need to, and disengage when you need to. Technology is a good servant but a bad master.

Gretchen Rubin

I have a lucky perfume. I love beautiful smells, but I save one of my favorite perfumes to wear only when I feel like I need some extra luck.

Gretchen Rubin

Being taken for granted is an unpleasant but sincere form of praise. Ironically, the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted.

Gretchen Rubin

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Lower the bar. Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending a weekend cleaning out the basement.

Gretchen Rubin

In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find – and I hear from other people that they agree – that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness.

Gretchen Rubin

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. Treats give us greater vitality, which boosts self-control, which helps us maintain our healthy habits.

Gretchen Rubin

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 outperform the less happy. Happy people work more hours each week – and they work more in their free time, too.

Gretchen Rubin

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 outperform the less happy. Happy people work more hours each week – and they work more in their free time, too.

Gretchen Rubin

One thing I wish I could tell my younger self: take photos of everyday life, not special occasions; later, that’s what will be interesting to you.

Gretchen Rubin

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.

Gretchen Rubin

Some kind of clutter is difficult – letting go of things with sentimental value, sifting through papers – but some clutter I find very refreshing to clear. I drive my daughters nuts because I’m always wandering into their rooms to clear clutter.

Gretchen Rubin

No leader did more for his country than Winston Churchill. Brave, magnanimous, traditional, he was like a king-general from Britain’s heroic past. His gigantic qualities set him apart from ordinary humanity; there seemed no danger he feared, no effort too great for his limitless energies.

Gretchen Rubin

People are powerfully moved by imagination, belief, and knowledge. They can consider the past and future. They can make changes in their behavior out of reason in a way that animals can’t do.

Gretchen Rubin

I get such a buzz out of cleaning closets.

Gretchen Rubin

I love cunning containers as much as anyone, but I’ve found that if I get rid of everything I don’t need, I often don’t need a container at all.

Gretchen Rubin

I’m constantly on the hunt for insights about happiness or ideas about how to be happier – which probably makes me a somewhat tiresome companion at times.

Gretchen Rubin

I’ve found that I snack less and concentrate better when I chew on a plastic stirrer – the kind that you get to stir your to-go coffee. I picked up this habit from my husband, who loves to chew on things. His favorite chew-toy is a plastic pen top, and gnawed pen tops and little bits of plastic litter our apartment.

Gretchen Rubin

I’d always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations. One day, I’d stop twisting my hair, and wearing running shoes all the time, and eating exactly the same food every day. I’d remember my friends’ birthdays, I’d learn Photoshop, I wouldn’t let my daughter watch TV during breakfast. I’d read Shakespeare.

Gretchen Rubin

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.

Gretchen Rubin

Each week, I post a video about some ‘Pigeon of Discontent’ raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the ‘Bluebird of Happiness,’ we’re also plagued by those small but pesky ‘Pigeons of Discontent.’

Gretchen Rubin

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.

Gretchen Rubin

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.

Gretchen Rubin

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.

Gretchen Rubin

Watching TV is companionable: you share an experience, you can comment on the action here and there for a bit of conversation… it’s a way of showing someone that you want his or her company and engaging in a low-key, pleasant, undemanding way.

Gretchen Rubin

Often, if there’s something that I want to do, but somehow can’t get myself to do, it’s because I don’t have clarity. This lack of clarity often arises from a feeling of ambivalence – I want to do something, but I don’t want to do it; or I want one thing, but I also want something else that conflicts with it.

Gretchen Rubin

Superstition is the irrational belief that an object or behavior has the power to influence an outcome, when there’s no logical connection between them. Most of us aren’t superstitious – but most of us are a ‘littlestitious.’

Gretchen Rubin

I collect axioms, paradoxes, maxims, teaching stories, proverbs, and aphorisms of all sorts, because I love to see complex ideas distilled into a few words.

Gretchen Rubin

I’m always trying to figure out ways to keep hold of memories. My one-sentence journal, for instance.

Gretchen Rubin

Potato-chip news’ is news that’s repetitive, requires little effort to absorb, and is consumable in massive quantities: true crime, natural disasters, political punditry, celebrity gossip, sports gossip, or endless photographs of beautiful houses, food, or clothes.

Gretchen Rubin

I love finding – or inventing – ways to categorize people.

Gretchen Rubin

The days are long, but the years are short.

Gretchen Rubin

Getting paperwork under control makes me feel more in control of my life generally.

Gretchen Rubin

People often assume that the same approach will work for everyone, that the same habits will work for everyone, and that everyone has the same aptitude and appetite for forming habits, but from my observation, that’s not true.

Gretchen Rubin

If you’ve had something for more than six months, and it’s still not repaired, it’s clutter.

Gretchen Rubin

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.

Gretchen Rubin

It’s easier to get rid of things when you’re giving them to someone who can use them, but don’t let this kind intention become a source of clutter itself. I have a friend who has multiple piles all over her house, each lovingly destined for a particular recipient.

Gretchen Rubin

I really work on paying attention to the clues my self is giving myself. For instance, I think of myself in the third person. That allows me to manage myself better.

Gretchen Rubin

Enthusiasm is a form of social courage.

Gretchen Rubin

Now, the term ‘friend’ is a little loose. People mock the ‘friending’ on social media, and say, ‘Gosh, no one could have 300 friends!’ Well, there are all kinds of friends. Those kinds of ‘friends,’ and work friends, and childhood friends, and dear friends, and neighborhood friends, and we-walk-our-dogs-at-the-same-time friends, etc.

Gretchen Rubin

Work done by other people sounds easy. How hard can it be to take care of a newborn who sleeps 20 hours a day? How hard can it be to keep track of your billable hours? To travel for one night for business? To get a 4-year-old ready for school? To return a few phone calls? To load the dishwasher? To fill out some forms?

Gretchen Rubin

A series of small but real accomplishments gives people the energy and confidence to continue. For instance, a person who wants to write a novel might resolve to write one sentence each day. Or a person who wants to start running might resolve to run for one minute.

Gretchen Rubin

When we’re trying to form and keep habits, we often search – even unconsciously – for loopholes. We look for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation.

Gretchen Rubin

If you’d like to watch less television, try putting the remote away in a very inconvenient place and making yourself put it away every time you use it. If it’s a big pain to turn on the TV and to change channels, you might find yourself drifting to other activities that will be more satisfying in the long run.

Gretchen Rubin

Whenever I’m trying to decide how to spend my precious time, energy, or money, I ask myself a series of questions. ‘Will this broaden or deepen my relationships?’ ‘Will this contribute to an atmosphere of growth in my life?’ ‘Is this a way to ‘Be Gretchen?’ and ‘Will this help connect me to my past?’

Gretchen Rubin

Often, the more reliably you perform a task, the less likely it is for someone to notice that you’re doing it and to feel grateful and to feel any impulse to help or to take a turn.

Gretchen Rubin

I do better with routines and predictability. I don’t react well when there’s a sudden change in the schedule.

Gretchen Rubin

Try to never say ‘yes’ on the phone; instead, say, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ When you’re actually speaking to someone, the desire to be accommodating is very strong, and can lead you to say ‘yes’ without enough consideration.

Gretchen Rubin

You can love someone but not want to keep a gift from that person. It’s okay to pass an item along to someone who will appreciate it more.

Gretchen Rubin

The more I examine the issue of clutter, the more effort I put into combating it, because it really does act as a weight.

Gretchen Rubin

One major challenge within happiness is loneliness. The more I’ve learned about happiness, the more I’ve come to believe that loneliness is a terrible, common, and important obstacle to consider.

Gretchen Rubin