Layering Experiences to Achieve Peak Happiness


“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

–Gretchen Rubin

I agree with most of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness and habits advice, but not this particular concept. Maybe that’s just because I’m bad at doing things every day. As a hard-core Rebel, I find routines and daily responsibilities stifling and unhappy-making. But I enjoy certain amounts of consistency and routine in my life. Obviously, routine and novelty conflict, so I’ve spent some time thinking through the right balance. Here’s the framework that works for me.

But first, a caveat: Gretchen’s advice works very well for certain types of habits. Something relatively mundane, like flossing, you can likely add into your daily routine with relatively little psychological backlash. My issue is more with lifestyle changes meant to create more happiness.

Layered Experiences

At the base of Gretchen’s advice is the idea that you need certain actions to become automatic in order to form a habit. That’s true, and it’s good advice (especially in an area like exercise), but we can extract a major benefit without having to do the same things every day. For me, the benefit of repeating certain actions comes in the layering of the experience, not the streak of daily accomplishment.

What is layering experience?

For me (and perhaps you? perhaps everyone?), Continue reading

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Quotes from my Notes #4


Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. -Voltaire

This is one of Gretchen Rubin’s favorite quotes, which I have now adopted. So often, we delay starting projects or habits until we can get everything perfect. But “good enough” is almost always better than “not at all” (which is what happens when we wait for perfect).

What quotes inspire your habits?

Links from Lyse


I read lots (and lots and lots) during the week, absorbing articles and videos from all over the place. At the end of each week, I’ll share a few of those with you!

  • Confessions of a Seduction Addict” — Spoiler alert! This article is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (and many other books!). I have to admit, I was surprised to discover she was the author, because the article comes from her younger days, not her current enlightened and matured state.  Although I never practiced seduction as destructively as she did, I will admit to enjoying the process of making someone fall in love with me. Similarly, I also like the process of learning someone’s soul, which can lead to destructive relationships.
  • What is genius? Since I’m on a Gilbert kick right now, I also watched her TED talk on genius, which I found freeing and beautiful. It’s worth watching for everyone, but especially anyone who identifies as creative.
  • Do we need Shakespeare? Having just finished a year of studying Shakespeare in university, I have pretty strong feelings about this argument. But instead of ranting here, I’ll just link to another article (which I don’t entirely agree with) and let you hash it out in the comments.
  • Just this week I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s blog and podcast (also available on SoundCloud). Rubin researches happiness and habits, which she has written about in The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home, and Better Than Before. I have read The Happiness Project and really loved it. If you’re constantly searching for ways to improve your habits, want to become happier, or wish you were more organized, check out some of her material!

What did you find this week? Love any of these links? Let me know in the comments!