Thought Catalog

Are You An Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Or Rebel?

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 08:00 PM PST


It's been so satisfying to have Better Than Before out in the world. (And, I must admit, also very satisfying that it's a bestseller.)

It's fascinating to me to hear how people respond to it — what ideas they find most helpful or most surprising, and how they use the habit strategies themselves.

In particular, many people have asked me for the starter kit, for people who want to launch a Better Than Before habits group, where people work on their habits together.

It's clear to me why so many people want it. For many, many people, the secret weapon of habit-change is outer accountability.

In Better Than Before, I identify the "Four Tendencies": Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Your Tendency makes a big difference when it comes to how you can most easily change your habits. (To take the quiz to identify your Tendency, go here.)

The biggest group? Obliger. Obligers readily meet outer expectations, like work deadlines, but struggle to meet inner expectations, like a New Year's resolution.

Like my friend who never missed track practice in high school, but can't get herself to go running now.

Understand the Patterns in Your Behavior

For Obligers, it's often a huge revelation to understand the pattern of their behavior: When they have external accountability, they follow through. When they don't have it, they struggle.

Change our habits, change our lives.

And, once Obligers understand that external accountability is the key to sticking to their good habits, they often want to figure out ways to give themselves that crucial accountability. Which is a great idea.

One of the best ways to build good habits and happiness effectively – and also one of the most fun ways – is to join or start a habits group.

Some solutions to getting accountability — like hiring a coach, working with a trainer, or taking a class — work extremely well, but they carry a cost; starting a habits group is free.

Consider a Habits Change Group

For this reason, I created a "starter kit" for starting a Better Than Beforehabits change group. If you'd like the starter kit, email me at gretchenrubin1 at gretchenrubin dot com.

Better Than Before habits groups swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give energy and encouragement, and —  most important — provide accountability. (Think AA and Weight Watchers.)

People in the group don't have to be working on the same habits; it's enough that they hold each other accountable. One person might need accountability to write a novel; another, to get a massage; another, to give up fast food.

Track Your Habits

Another tool that I created to help people stick to their good habits is the Better Than Before Day-by-Day Journal. It has writing prompts to help guide you through ways to strengthen your habits, and helps you track your habits — I particularly like its "don't break the chain" feature, because that approach works for so many people.

If you do form a habits group, you could use the Journal to help kick off discussion and to help people report back accurately. I don't know about you, but if I don't write something down, I forget it immediately.

Accountability can be useful for most people, but it's true that for some people (Rebels) it can be counter-productive, and for some people (Obligers), it's essential. This is a good example of something from my Habits Manifesto: We're not much different from other people, but those differences are very important.

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. Research shows that they shape about 40% of our daily experiences, so if we have habits that work for us, we're far more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive. TC mark

This post originally appeared at

26 Ways To Take Your Life Back When You’re Broken

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 07:00 PM PST


There’s an old, outdated assumption that time heals all wounds. But I believe this to be untrue. In the words of Dr. Phil, "Time doesn't change us. It's what we do with that time that changes us." We are all more than capable of taking control back into our own hands when life knocks us down. It’s just a matter of doing so deliberately. Of making changes that will move us forward. Of finding a way to progress with purpose, rather than simply letting life knock us around into whoever we will become next. When you’re feeling lost and disheartened with life, here are 26 simple methods of taking your power back.

1. Get In Shape.

Strong bodies and strong minds go hand-in-hand. Forget about how your workout routine is making you look and start focusing on how it makes you feel – on the strength, the dedication and the structure that it brings to your mindset. By harnessing your physical power, you're reminding yourself that you're capable of so much more than you used to be. In the words of Jillian Michaels, "Fitness isn't about a crunch or a push up. It's about taking your power back."

2. Get out of town.

Take a day, a week or a month to escape your usual surroundings and welcome in the world outside your doorstep. Sometimes a change in mindset is as simple as a change in scenery – and being away from home allows you the space, the freedom and the tranquility to heal on your own terms.

3. Rewrite your story.

The past is nothing more than a story we repeat to ourselves – and allowing ourselves to understand this is an incredibly liberating notion. Visit a narrative therapist who can help you re-frame your experiences, or journal them out until you're able to come to a new understanding of why things happened the way they did. Learn to pinpoint the opportunities for growth within the destruction of your past – and then move forward with those opportunities close to your heart.

4. Invite new people into your life.

The positive effect we are able to have on one another as humans is immeasurable. Sometimes the best way to heal from the toxicity of past relationships is to allow the beauty of new ones to flourish. We all end up thinking, behaving and being like the people we spend the most time around – so choose the ones who make you want to be the best possible version of yourself.

5. Tell your story.

Be honest about your past. Share the pain of everything that’s happened to you and allow your strength in moving past it to inspire other people. Don’t hide or downplay anything that feels important to you. Refuse to apologize for where you’ve been.

6. Be disciplined about self-care.

When we're sick, we take particular care to rest, drink fluids and take medicine – even if it temporarily impedes on our productivity. When we're struggling emotionally, we have to take care of ourselves in much of the same way. By making self-care a priority, you are setting yourself up for a quicker and infinitely less painful recovery.

7. Change your appearance.

Sometimes we need a deliberate outward change to reflect a subtle internal one. By altering your hair, makeup or style, you're concretely welcoming change into your life – and recognizing that it can be a good thing. In fact, it can even be something that happens on your own terms.

8. Quit what isn't working for you.

When the stakes are down and our lives are lying in shambles, we are paradoxically awarded the ideal opportunity to start over. Use your ill fortune as the excuse you've been waiting for to walk away from that shitty job, toxic relationship or commitment that is making you miserable. If you're going to be forced to start over, you might as well do it once, the right way.

9. Give yourself permission to let go.

Not everything that happens to us has to have a meaning or a lesson. If your past no longer serves you, give yourself permission to let go and forget about the pain that has been holding you back. You dictate your story and you don't have to place emphasis on anything that makes you feel small.

10. Connect with people who've been through something similar.

Seek out the words, company and comforts of those who understand what you're going through. Read their stories, cherish the wisdom they've gleaned and use it as a constant, pervasive reminder that you are never alone.

11. Unplug for an entire week.

If you are able to do so, take a full week of your life and spend it outdoors or on the road, somewhere where your Facebook notifications can't reach you. Sometimes it takes disconnecting from your everyday life to realize how trivial most of your worries are – and how capable you are of existing completely outside of them.

12. Physically de-clutter your life.

Take a full weekend to clean your apartment or home in a way that you never have before – ruthlessly ridding it of everything you no longer use and organizing it in a way that feels mentally refreshing. When our physical environments are in order, it becomes easier to keep our minds uncluttered, too.

13. Strengthen your relationships with the people who love you.

A close friend once told me "There's no time like when you're down on your luck to realize who's really there for you in life." When everything is falling apart, take notice of who is still standing beside you – those are the people who are always going to matter the most. And there's no time like the present to appreciate them for all they're worth.

14. Follow the food guide for a month.

Even the healthiest among us aren't always putting the right foods into our bodies. So for one month, try to do so. Eat the right amounts of fruits, veggies, grains, dairy and meat (or meat alternatives). Notice changes in your energy level and mindset – and then try it all over again the next month.

15. Take a course that teaches you something new.

What we know changes the landscape of who we are. By adding to your internal database of knowledge, you are expanding your horizons and reminding yourself that there is always more to be learned and always more ways for your worldview to shift.

16. Make a budget and stick to it.

It's difficult to feel in control of our lives when our finances are out of control. By coming face-to-face with our spending habits, we're giving ourselves a leg up on conquering them effectively. There's nothing quite as soothing as figuring out a way to live below your means.

17. Establish a healthy source of validation.

None of us are islands. Though we all strive to be strong, independent adults in our day-to-day lives, we all need love and affection. And finding a friend or loved one who is willing to remind you why you're wonderful when you forget it just might be what keeps you afloat on the bad days. Validation is not toxic if you're seeking it in the right places.

18. Become invested in the process of change, not the outcome.

Too often, we pit all of our hopes on future accomplishments that may never come to fruition. Rather than telling yourself 'I'll be happy when…' learn to find joy in the simple process of bettering yourself. Take pride in the fact that you're making changes for yourself, rather than pitting your happiness on the outcome of those changes.

19. Learn a new language.

Learning a new language may be one of the best available ways to remind yourself that there's an entire world out there – one that operates on a completely different premise than yours. Committing to learning a non-native language proves that you could adapt and mould to one of those other realities if you wanted to – which consequently makes you feel a little less defeated by yours.

20. Learn to walk away.

Perhaps the single most important step to regaining control over your life comes through learning to walk away from the situations that are holding you back. It takes an incredible amount of bravery to break away from what you've known. But it also gives way to an incredible opportunity to start over the way you've always wanted to.

21. Let yourself be happier than you are comfortable with.

Too often, we sabotage our own happiness out of a reluctance to trust it. Rather than allowing ourselves to grow into bigger shoes, we declare our feet 'not big enough' and retreat. We have to start allowing ourselves to let go of guilt and self-doubt and start seizing opportunities as they arise. Even if we feel a bit out of our league along the way.

22. Set and enforce boundaries.

There will eternally be people out there who are willing to rob you of your joy in exchange for a dose of their toxicity. And one of the most important lessons we may ever have to learn is that we cannot save those people from themselves. We have to learn to set clear boundaries if we don't want to drown alongside them. Even if it's someone we love.

23. Cut out a vice for 100 days.

The idea of never drinking, smoking or eating junk food again is an intimidating enough mission for any of us to give up on before we've even gotten started. So instead of resolving to cut out one of your vices eternally, try cutting one out for 100 days. It is enough time for you to see the positive affects of what you've done, but a short enough time for the end to always be in sight. And who knows – maybe once you realize how great you feel without one of your vices, it will turn into a permanent lifestyle change.

24. Try something that genuinely scares you.

There is nothing that boosts confidence quite like overcoming your fears. Make a deliberate point to take on a challenge that has always scared you when you're feeling down – though it may seem like ridiculous timing to do so, the strength and sense of self-efficacy that will come from conquering your worries will take you further than you could possibly imagine.

25. Look at how far you have come.

Look back at the person who was once so lost and then look at who you've become since then. You may not be all the way to where you'd like to be, but you're on your way. And you're a hell of a lot further than you used to be.

26. Forgive others. Forgive the Universe. Forgive yourself.

Don't allow anger or fear to keep you trapped in a damaging past. Allow yourself the opportunity to forgive those who have hurt you, to forgive the injustices done to you and to forgive yourself for everything you messed up on your path to redemption. Forgive not to relieve other people of accountability, but to finally allow yourself the freedom and space to move on. And to take your damn life back. TC mark

19 Things Only Grownups Who Love Going To Bed Early Can Relate To

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 06:00 PM PST

Twenty20, fivesixthreedays
Twenty20, fivesixthreedays

1. You routinely justify premature exits by explaining that you have a super early meeting the following day, but it's really only true roughly two percent of the time.

2. You’ve mastered the art of the Irish good-bye or the Houdini maneuver, wherein you duck out of a social gathering without saying good-bye to anyone, not even your host. You stopped feeling an ounce of guilt about doing this years ago.

3. You've joked that you'll probably Houdini from your own wedding one day, but it really wasn’t a joke because you can actually see yourself doing that.

4. You would so much rather meet up for early evening drinks than dinner because most people think dinner should be eaten at like 8pm, which means you wouldn't get home until 10pm, which isn’t at all conducive to retiring at a reasonable hour.

5. You've been known to dine as early as 5pm if the mood strikes because, fuck it, you're a grownup and you can do whatever you want. Still, you're kind of excited to get old because senior citizens get to hit up the early bird special and snuggle up in bed circa 8pm without facing any judgment.

6. The morning hours when you're awake before everyone else and no one bugs you via text or email make missing out on nighttime activities totally worthwhile.

7. In fact, you really don't get the whole FOMO thing. JOMO (the joy of missing out) makes exponential more sense to you.

8. You're seriously in awe of “night owls” who tend to stay up until midnight or later. Same goes for those who can function on five hours of sleep or less, which seems like a supernatural talent.

9. New Year’s Eve is your least favorite holiday.

10. Sleep deprivation is your personal hell. You are a dumb, irritable shell of yourself when you don't get seven to eight hours a night.

11. There are very few things you're willing to sacrifice a few hours of sleep for because sleep equals sanity and you shouldn’t have to compromise your mental health for anything.

12. For instance, you really don't understand why anyone would stay up just to finish watching a movie or a TV show, no matter how compelling the narrative. Those things don't vanish overnight and you're totally happy waiting a day or so to find out what happens next.

13. Ditto for awards show. Why push yourself when you can enjoy the red carpet and the opening act, tuck yourself into bed, and review the list of winners first thing in the morning?

14. Bartending, medicine, and comedy were never viable career options for you. Day drinking and “darties,” on the other hand, are things you’re definitely cut out for.

15. Sex is just as awesome at 7pm as it is at 11pm, so why wait to get busy? Plus, there’s always morning sex.

16. Sometimes, you get upset that time is moving too slowly because you're desperate to go to bed but it's a little TOO early so you watch some TV but constantly check the clock until it's finally the 8's.

17. Your friends are well aware of your tendency to turn into a pumpkin at a ridiculously early hour. Some are more understanding than others.

18. You wake up with serious anxiety on the days you're obligated to attend an event that will likely keep you up past your bedtime.

19. Rallying for an event that qualifies as an exception to your no-parties-starting-after-9pm rule (your best friend's birthday, say, or a work related soirée) requires an afternoon nap and/or several shots of espresso or a line of cocaine if that’s your thing. TC mark

22 Things You Most Likely Didn’t Know About A Quarterlife Crisis

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 05:00 PM PST

"Barley There" by Jeff Bergen
“Barley There” by Jeff Bergen

1. Author Abby Wilner claims to have invented the phrase "quarterlife crisis" in 1997 after she graduated from college. She didn't know what to do, so she moved back home. Eventually she co-wrote the books Quarterlife Crisis and A Quarterlifer's Companion.

2. In Wilner's book Quarterlife Crisis, which she co wrote with Alexandra Robbins, the writers contrast a quarterlife crisis with a midlife crisis as the difference between scary instability and numbing stability:

While the midlife crisis revolves around a doomed sense of stagnancy, of a life set on pause while the rest of the world rattles on, the quarterlife crisis is a response to overwhelming instability, constant change, too many choices, and a panicked sense of helplessness. Just as the monotony of a lifestyle stuck in idle can drive a person to question himself intently, so, too, can the uncertainty of a life thrust into chaos.

3. The concept of a quarterlife crisis has been around much longer than the 90s. It's commonly attributed to famed psychologist Erik Erikson, perhaps best known for coining the term "identity crisis."

4. In Erikson's groundbreaking book Childhood and Society, published in 1950, he posits that each stage of life from infancy to old age entails a specific struggle that defines the personality of the individual. The quarterlife crisis can be traced to Stage 6, or young adulthood, when intimacy competes with isolation. After coming out of the identity crisis of adolescence, individuals are ready to form relationships with others through close friendships and romantic relationships that create a sense of stability. The main variable is the fear of rejection. While most people overcome it and form these relationships, others fail to do so and end up in a state of isolation and despair.

5. But most people get beyond it. Erikson saw the quarterlife crisis as a universal rite. Even Erikson went through it. After dropping out of art school in Munich, he spent years wandering around Germany and Italy before taking a job in Vienna as an art, tutor that led him to meet Sigmund Freud's daughter, Anna. At Anna Freud's urging Erikson studied psychoanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute.

6. Bob Dylan had a quarterlife crisis too, but his was early. Dylan was only 20 years old when his first album, Bob Dylan, was released in March 1962. Consisting mostly of covers, the record only has two original songs, including an ode to his idol Woody Guthrie. The album was a flop and record executives referred to it as Hammond's Folly (John Hammond was the legendary talent scout at Columbia who signed Dylan). His next album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, came out a little over a year later in May 1963. It included songs like "Blowin' In The Wind," "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "Masters Of War."

7. French poet Arthur Rimbaud had an even earlier quarterlife crisis. After penning Une Saison en Efer (A Season in Hell) when he was just 19, and Les Illuminations a year later, he gave up poetry for good. He had not yet turned 21 . Nobody knows what actually happen, but most think the years of intense debauchery he'd spent with fellow poet Paul Verlaine had caught up with him and he'd grown weary of his wild ways. He went on to trade coffee and arms between Ethiopia and France. He was very successful, but died young from bone cancer. He only wrote poetry for five years.

8. Bruce Springsteen was 23 when his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. was released in 1973. The first version didn't include quarterlife crisis anthems "Blinded by the Light" and "Spirit in the Night." Clive Davis, president of Columbia at the time, was worried that it lacked commercial appeal, so he asked Springsteen to come up with a few more songs that could potentially work as singles. Springsteen went to the beach and wrote both. In interviews, Bruce Springsteen has said that the late additions are his favorites on Greetings.

9. John Mayer followed up his 2002 single "Your Body is a Wonderland" with "My Georgia," which is about a quarertlife crisis. Mayer dropped out of Berklee College of Music and moved to Atlanta to try his hand at what eventually became stardom. In the song he mentions his crisis completely directly:

I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
Wood in places to make it feel like home
But all I feel's alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
Or just the stirring in my soul

10. In Annie Hall, Woody Allen stars as Alvy Singer, who is experiencing a late quarterlife crisis through his failed relationship with the Diane Keaton. Allen revisited quarterlife crises in many of his films and eventually started casting younger actors to play the parts he used to play himself. Recent examples include: Scoop, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris.

11. Quintessential quarterlife crisis film The Graduate is actually based on a novel by the same name. Charles Webb wrote the book during his final year at Williams College and published it in1963. Webb sold the rights to the film for a one-time payment of $20,000 and never received any royalties. He didn't receive any credit for the adaptation written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, even though most of the dialog in the movie was lifted directly from the book.

Webb went on to live an eccentric life with his wife, Fred (née Eve), and even managed a nudist colony in New Jersey for a while. One of Webb's sons is a performance artist who once cooked a copy of The Graduate, covered it with cranberry sauce and ate it.

12. The Paper Chase is about the quarterlife crisis of a first year student at Harvard Law School, played by seventies heart throb Timothy Bottoms. After being berated by contract law professor Charles W. Kinsfield, Jr., played by John Housman, Bottoms becomes obsessed with acing the class. He also accidentally gets involved with the professor's daughter, played by Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner. The whole thing turns into a weird love-hate triangle. No wonder John Houseman won an Oscar for his gruff performance. No wonder it was adapted into a television series for CBS and Showtime.

13. In Reality Bites, Winona Ryder plays the desperate Leliana, who is always broke and is all messed up over Ethan Hawke. In 1994, everyone was messed up over Ethan Hawke. He is the quarterlife crisis sex symbol and it is all because of Reality Bites. Notable moments include him playing the guitar while reciting Gregory Corso and taking Leliana on a tour of all the places he'd been fired from.

14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind begins when Jim Carey decides to act on a quarterlife crisis impulse and ditch work one day. He goes to Montauk where he encounters, or rather re-encounters, his former lover Clementine, played by Kate Winslet. Neither of them knows that they have ever met before, because their memories have been erased. They are tabula rasa, empty hard drives.

15. The Friends pilot opens with Rachel—Jennifer Aniston—in her wedding dress. She's left her fiancé at the altar. Next thing we know the whole crew is there to take Rachel in, and she is cutting up her credit cards—the ones dad pays for. She becomes a waitress at the Central Perk, and here we go on 10 seasons of group quarterlife crisis. The show is so successful that you can't stop running into the reruns.

16.The creators of the wildly successful Thirtysomething, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, tried to cash in on quarterlife crises with the web series Quarterlife. It debuted on TV in 2008. Turns out twentysomethings don't want to watch their own misery. It was one of the biggest flops in television history: NBC cancelled it after just one episode.

17. There is a quarterlife crisis at the center of Roberto Bolaño's breakthrough novel The Savage Detectives. No longer content with their role as leaders of the poet gang The Visceral Realists, characters Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano decide to leave Mexico City and travel to France and Spain respectively. Many of their friends don't understand why they want to venture out into the world. One especially poignant interchange occurs when Belano is trying to explain this to his ex-girlfriend, who insists that she'll travel later in life once she has the means to do so comfortably. Belano is dumbfounded. He replies: "you won't be young anymore."

18. Jean-Paul Sartre's existential masterpiece La Nausée (Nausea) begins right after his protagonist Antoine Roquentin has overcome his quarterlife crisis. After six years of traveling he decides to return to France and work on his biography of an 18th century political figure. This sudden change leads him into an existential crisis.

“He desperately searches for meaning in the things that used to make him happy, only to realize that there is none.”

In the end Roquentin realizes that it's up to the individual to create their own meaning in life, which he sees as a great freedom, but also a great responsibility.

19. Albert Camus's novel L'Étranger (The Stranger) starts when his protagonist Meursault learns of his mother's death. This sends him into a quarterlife crisis that leaves him detached, but oddly at peace. But then a random series of events leads him to impulsively kill a man. The court's inability to understand why he committed murder and his lack of emotion about his mother's death puts him at odds with the society he lives in. In the end he's sentenced to death partially because no one understands him. Camus would revisit this theme of the individual in the midst of crisis over and over again in his fiction and philosophy, notably in The Fall, where his protagonist has just had a midlife crisis.

20. Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis tells the story of Gregor Samsa, who is stressed out about having to work a horrible job to support his family. Then he wakes up one morning transformed into a cockroach. Kafka's novel The Trial is largely the story of a quarterlife crisis too. When we first meet his protagonist, Joseph K., everything has been going great for him. Then he's arrested, but is never told why. Overwhelmed by his crisis, K. becomes increasingly indifferent to it. One particularly good example occurs when K.'s uncle tries to introduce him to a powerful lawyer he thinks might be able to help. Instead of rushing to meet him K. gets sidetracked and ends up fooling around with the lawyer's maid.

21. Psychology professor Dr. Oliver Robinson recently published a study concluding that a quarterlife crisis is a beneficial experience. He broke it down into four stages: a feeling of being locked to a job or a relationship, the realization that change is possible, rebuilding a new life, and then developing new commitments more in tune with personal interests and values. Robinson suggests that the once these stages are resolved the results can be positive:

The results will help to reassure those people who are experiencing this transition that it is a commonly experienced part of early adult life, and that there is a proven pattern of positive change that results from it.

22. Even if you're not feeling so positive about everything, you should relax. Many experts point out that it's usually a good idea to put your situation in context and remember that most people end up working until they are about 60 years old. So if you're having a hard time figuring it all out when your 25, you should rest easy knowing that you still have about 35 years left to get your shit together. TC mark

Want to read more from this author? Check out his book, The Illiterate, available on Amazon and iBooks.


So What If I Don’t ‘Need’ You? I Want You.

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 04:00 PM PST


I could definitely live without you.

And listen, I know that’s not exactly the most romantic way to start this off. But we’re not ones for bullshit-packaged-into-something-pretty anyways. We like our honesty of the brutal variety, the kind of truthfulness that can sometimes hurt. The realness that can sting.

We’re not trying to be one of my adolescent diary entries. And frankly, I’m relieved.

You and I, we’re not into pretending for the sake of ease. We don’t want the right answers. We’re not looking to say what the other just wants to hear. Our pasts have been littered with far too much of that. We know bullshit still smells, no matter how hard you try to disguise it with potpourri.

I’m not going to lace this with flowery shit just because it might sound nice. Lots of things sound nice. Broken promises sound nice. Pre-breaking. The stuff right before the falling and cracking glasses. We can convince ourselves anything is lovely, if we just sip on the Kool Aid a little longer. We can stay high on the delusion just one more night. Feed us those pretty lies, we’ll down them with a voracity.

But I don’t want to do that with you. And, I hope, you don’t want to do that with me. Maybe we’re just getting too old to deal with it. The idea of playing games just seems exhausting. The thought I can’t be honest with you isn’t attractive. I don’t care to seem cool or detached. I’m neither of those things. So why let you believe I’m something I’m not?

You know nothing about me is smooth, like the way I laugh too loudly at jokes that don’t even deserve such hearty cackles. Or how I’ll attempt a sexual advance and accidentally end up smacking you in the face. I’m not your airbrushed Playboy woman; I’m flawed and nervous and have a tendency to trip on my own two feet when you look at me with those brown eyes.

There’d be no point in lying to you when I know you can already see through me. And truth be told? It’s scary. It’s terrifying to be around someone who holds me and kisses me, and I just know how fully transparent I am the entire time.

So no, I don’t need you. I could live my life without you and probably still find happiness and success. I bet I’d fall in love with someone else, maybe start a family. Get a French Bulldog. Put sweaters on him when he was cold in the winter. I’d take a class at the local community center, maybe try pottery. Remember I suck at anything involving my hands, so I’d quit after two classes. I’d do all the things I want to do.

Losing you wouldn’t be the end of me. With enough time, I’d be just fine.

But I want you. And doesn’t that mean so much more? You are not imperative to my survival. You are not a pair of lungs pumping oxygen through my body. I don’t drink you to avoid dehydration. I don’t depend on you for anything. But I want you so badly, I can feel it pulsing in my blood. I can taste you for hours after we say goodbye and all I have is the faint smell of you on my sweater.

I want you, and not just sexually, I want you when I am standing in the grocery store and wonder what clever pun you’d rattle off about the stupid magazine cover on the stand. I want you when I’m driving and a random song comes on that I know you’d somehow have far too much trivia on to make sense, but that’s why it’s the fucking best. I want you when you are stressed out and things don’t feel fair. I want you when you are upset, want to sit with you while we figure it out.

You aren’t the man who will make or break me. I have learned those men do not exist. I may have given some that power, once, back then, but it wasn’t something they waltzed in with. I chose to surrender it.

I do not need you in my life. But I really, really want you in it. TC mark

60 Dead And 100 Taken Hostage As Paris Rocked By Bombs And Shootings Only Ten Months After The Charlie Hebdo Attacks

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 03:27 PM PST

Four attacks in and around central Paris tonight, three simultaneously, killed a reported 60 dead individuals however this number is all over the place in the press and likely won’t be known definitely for days. The attacks occur only ten months after the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January.

“I was on my way to my sister’s when I heard shots being fired. Then I saw three people dead on the ground, I know they were dead because they were being wrapped up in plastic bags.”

One of the three attacks took place near the stadium where France and Germany were playing soccer via suicide bombers. The below Vine claims to be of the exact moment a bomb went off near the match.

The three other attacks were reportedly carried out by men with guns who later shot up a shopping mall and took 100 or so hostages inside a concert hall many of which Sky News is characterizing as “youngsters.” This hostage situation is currently ongoing as of 6:00pm EST and the President Francois Hollande has declared a national state of emergency which includes closing all of France’s borders.

Below is a scene from one of the shooting sites.

The below are highlights of the aftermath of the attacks from Twitter.

With the hostage situation this is likely a long way from over. No one has yet taken responsibility for the attacks but jihadists were allegedly celebrating the attacks on social media.

UPDATE (1:08AM EST): The fog of chaos resulted in nearly all of the initial figures reported being incorrect. There were over 100 casualties, some say as high as 153. Additionally, either six or seven targets were attacked including the suicide bombings. The hostage situation was handled quickly by French counter-terrorism officers but there were some civilian casualties. TC mark

Don’t Spend The Winter Wishing For Love

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 03:00 PM PST


They call it snuggle weather for a reason. Everyone starts pairing off and holing up with the first person they can find, because it’s too damn cold and too damn dark to do anything else. There are still options to be social – bars still host happy hours, intramural sports leagues still provide winter seasons, friends still occasionally invite you to a birthday dinner.

But when nighttime starts settling over you before it’s even 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the air is instantly biting the minute you walk outside, and the sullen moods of neighboring passengers on the commute home from work start seeping into your skin, it’s practically impossible to convince yourself to do anything besides go home and immediately put on pajamas.

If you do manage to get yourself off the couch and back out into the world with other humans, it’s not with the same hope, excitement, and feeling of possibility that you have in the spring, summer, and fall. You’re not thinking about the people you might meet, the night you’re going to have, the Ted Mosby-esque hope that you’ll have a chance encounter with the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. None of that seems likely right now. Going out in the winter is more like a slow, painful, do-this-or-you’re-gonna-feel-guilty kind of experience.

The warm, sunny days of outdoor seating and 9 o’clock sunsets are long gone. So here you are, in the dead of the darkest season, feeling lonely and sad and staring longingly at the Snapchats and Instagrams of people who seem so happily coupled off. You watch couples in commercials wearing warm socks and cuddling on the couch under thick blankets and you feel like this would all just be bearable if only you had that.

When the wetness of snow seeps into your boots everywhere you walk, or you grow tired of heading to work in darkness and leaving work in darkness, you dwell on an imaginary winter love, because you feel like if you just had somebody right now, it would make all this shittiness go away. So sometimes you just spend the whole season thinking about this imaginary person, and sometimes you actually pair up with somebody – often someone with whom the connection isn’t that strong, or someone who you would normally never go for. But they’re a warm body, a link to the outside world, a way to feel like you’re still out there, searching for love, without really having to do that much.

But dwelling on imaginary, perfect, ABC Thursday night-drama worthy love that fixes your sadness and makes everything better is not going to help you. And neither is pairing off with someone you don’t really want to be with. Because winter love, if it’s found with the wrong intentions – like just wanting someone, anyone, to fill a void – isn’t really love at all. It’s just a bandaid.

It’s okay to want someone. It’s okay to dislike being alone. It’s human nature to want to join forces with someone you love and make it through the shorter, sadder days by holding onto each other. But don’t waste away four or five months of your year by staring out the window and daydreaming about storybook romances.

If you can’t fall in love with someone right now, figure out how to fall back in love with your life. If you (understandably) don’t want to leave the house as often, take this time to challenge your mind. Start making a steady way through that list of books you’ve been meaning to read for the last five years. Use the infinite number of streaming options available right at your finger tips to watch a documentary about something you know little about. Learn how to play the guitar or use Photoshop – there are an infinite number of people on YouTube who will teach you for free. Take up knitting. Take up coding. Take up painting. Take up Spanish.

It’s okay to be sad, tired, a little lethargic. But keep doing the things that remind you that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. Spring will make its way back. A time will come again when it stays light outside after 5 o’clock. People will take their dogs on walks and sip Bloody Mary’s on restaurant patios. You just have to get through winter first. Yes, it would be easier to do that with your soulmate by your side. But you can do it without them for a little while. You can read things, learn things, watch things, explore new things; you can still love your life, you can still enjoy being with yourself – even in the dead of winter. TC mark

25 Tiny Ways The Love Of Your Life Is Bound To Drive You Crazy (Because That’s Just Life)

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 02:00 PM PST

Twenty20, rgags
Twenty20, rgags

1. They’ll spill something on you at a really bad time, like when you’re late for work or just not in a that’s-okay-honey-bear! mindset.

2. They'll do a shit job of cleaning up after they break something and you’ll  pay the price exactly three days later, when you step on a tiny shard of glass that makes you gush vats of blood and proves impossible to excavate.

3. They'll tell you that you said or did something that you definitely didn't say or do. And no matter how much counter evidence you provide, they won’t budge from their rickety, that’s-what-happened-sweetie! pedestal.

4. They will stubbornly refuse to believe you about something related to a topic that falls within your area of expertise.

5. They'll remember a joint experience incorrectly but insist that they're right so emphatically that you’ll question your sanity a little.

6. They'll fail to remember a moment from your history as a couple that you’ve long considered important. As you pile on the descriptive details in a desperate attempt to trigger an aha! in your best friend slash lover, they'll look back at you with a blank face, rendering that oh-so-special moment totally meaningless.

7. They'll wake up in an amazing mood on a day you're feeling meh for whatever reason, which will make wallowing in your sad face state of mind that much ickier.

8. They'll ask you to fetch something that's obviously closer to wherever they're situated at the time.

9. They'll insist on showing you how yellow or green their snot is when you're not at all in the mood to stomach gross stuff.

10. They will fail to laugh at a joke you find hilarious, thereby robbing you of anticipated glory.

11. They'll take a super long, steamy shower when you're desperate to get on with your own grooming routine.

12. They'll finish the milk right before you can pour a smidge into your morning coffee.

13. They'll buy the wrong brand of toilet paper or tampons or body lotion or some other product you're VERY particular about for good reason.

14. They’ll reveal something to your friends or family that you’ve told them a million times over to keep secret.

15. They'll hate an outfit you genuinely love. You won't change clothes, but you will feel less joy wearing them.

16. They'll ask you to throw something out that you treasure, like a piece of artwork you purchased before getting together or a teddy bear you're not quite ready to part with.

17. They'll spend money on something you definitely don't want or need and the item will only be returnable for store credit.

18. They'll suggest going to a movie that ends up sucking.

19. They'll think you're angry when you're definitely not and then try to make you happy but their well-intentioned overtures will be super annoying and, ironically, angering.

20. They'll embarrass you, by accident or not, at a time when you're not at all in the mood to be humiliated.

21. They'll take credit for something you're definitely responsible for.

22. They'll fail to read your save-me-from-crazy signals at a party, leaving you to suffer in the company of someone dreadful.

23. They'll think they've won an argument they definitely didn't win and their false sense of satisfaction will irk you more than whatever caused you to fight in the first place.

24. Their selective hearing will kick in at the least opportune time, like when you shout a critical request as you rush out the door. Or they'll mishear you at a time when every single syllable of instructions is absolutely critical.

25. Worse yet, they'll hear you but totally misconstrue the meaning behind your words and they’ll be confused, hurt, or mad as hell as a result. Then you’ll have to explain yourself a bazillion times over until they finally get it. Or at least stop caring. TC mark

Why Life Transitions Are The Best Times To Make New Habits (Even When Things Are Crazy)

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 01:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / __James__
Twenty20 / __James__

Most of us have strong feelings about habits.

We love the ones that help us be better and we hate the ones that hold us back. But have you ever thought about how habits affect our happiness?

Today's guest on The School of Greatness podcast has thought a lot about this.

Gretchen Rubin is a hugely successful author and blogger (and former attorney) who researches the best ways to create happy, healthy lifestyles.

In her newest book, she studies how to use your personality strengths and weaknesses to mindfully create habits that work to your advantage. On a deeper level, she talks about how all of the small daily choices we make add up to our whole lives, and how we can save energy by making good choices a habit.

I loved connecting with and learning from Gretchen in this conversation and can't wait for you to as well in Episode 187 with Gretchen Rubin.

"It doesn't matter what you're thinking. It matters what you're doing."

Some questions I ask:

  • What are the questions you can ask yourself to discover how to become happier?
  • What's the one habit that gives you the most freedom in your daily life?
  • How does money play with happiness?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The 4 Tendencies of How We Meet Expectations
    • Obligers – people who meet others' expectations but not their own
    • Upholders – people who meet others' and their own expectations
    • Questioners – people who question every expectation – they need reasons for everything
    • Rebels – people who resist all expectations
      Habits are all about decision-making: behaviors that are on auto-pilot
  • Why life transitions are the best times to make new habits (even when things are crazy)
  • What kind of lifestyles cause unhappiness

Plus much more… TC mark

"It's better to do something as a habit than not at all."

This post originally appeared at

28 Little Tricks Confident People Use To Overpower Self-Doubt

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 12:00 PM PST


I'm a really confident person, and I always have been, but I definitely have days where I can't quite channel that self-assured, powerful girl who isn't afraid of anything. It's completely normal. No one can be 100% on their game all the time. Whether you're going on a first date, a job interview or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and can't get your confidence going, here are 28 easy ways to turn it on again.

1. Keep photos of yourself where you think you look your best on your phone. I totally have mornings where I feel like a nasty little troll and don't want to get out of bed. Looking through some of my ~*fire*~ selfies gives me a little boost, as conceited as that might sound. Keep a few photos in your phone of moments when you felt your happiest, prettiest or most confident.

2. Stand up straight. Good posture makes you look more powerful and in-control.

3. Lipstick. Nothing makes me feel more confident than a bright red mouth.

4. Wear your favorite piece of clothing. If you're going into a stressful situation or just having a bad day, wearing something that comforts you or makes you look amazing can help.

5. Or your favorite shoes. Heels always work for me.

6. Just smile. If you're feeling less than brave, sometimes putting on a smile – even if you don't feel it inside – can change your outlook.

7. Breathe. A few deep breaths can calm you and center your mind.

8. Write down little affirmations to look to. You don't have to say them out loud in the mirror unless you want to, but having little snippets that remind you that yes, you can do this can be helpful.

9. Text your bestie and ask for a little love. There's no shame in asking someone you love for a compliment or two.

10. Set a goal and accomplish it. Knowing you can do something you set out to do is powerful.

11. Have a little glass of wine. Don't get wasted, just get buzzed. If you're going into a situation where you feel uncomfortable, sometimes a little bit of booze helps take the edge off.

12. Know your value. You're an important person. You have friends and family who love you, just as you are. Don't get bogged down in self-hate, because it's really not productive.

13. Listen to Kanye West. No one is more confident than Kanye West.

14. Exercise. Even just a few minutes of cardio or strength training, from lifting weights to ballet, can give you extra energy and remind you of your body's strength, both inner and outer.

15. Wear a bright color. Red is my magical confidence color, but maybe yours is hot pink. Maybe it's black! Whatever it is, wear it when you need a boost.

16. Go do something nice for yourself. Get your nails done, get a massage or finally cut all your hair off. Treat yourself! A little renewal never hurt anybody.

17. Write down five (or more) things you like about yourself. It sounds dumb, but it works.

18. Take a ~*fire selfie.*~ Whatever, it works for me. As trite as it may be, a handful of "likes" from people on the Internet can make you feel awesome about yourself.

19. Channel a Kardashian. Say what you will about the Kardashian-Jenner family, but their confidence levels are off the charts. They know they look good.

20. Write down X amount of times you conquered a challenge. Maybe you bounced back from a bad breakup or got praised at school or work. Just recalling these moments can be powerful reminders.

21. Surround yourself with supportive friends. Don't waste your time on someone who doesn't build you up. Support your friends, too.

22. "X" out any negative thoughts. Focus on being positive.

23. Learn a new skill. You accomplished something new! You're awesome. Feel as triumphant as you did when you were little and learned how to read.

24. Trust yourself. If you don't believe in your own capabilities, who will?

25. Put on perfume. A big spritz (or five) of my favorite scent makes me feel untouchable.

26. Look to someone you admire. Maybe it's a politician, celebrity or even a family member. Try to emulate what it is about them that you admire.

27. Ask for what you want. Don't be shy. Know what you want and get it! Once you've done this a few times, it gets easier and easier – I promise.

28. Be grateful. Put all your blessings and thanks into perspective. Sometimes it takes a little humbling to put your brain and your heart in the right place. TC mark