Home » Christine Carter Blog

Why My Husband Infuriates Me

February 19, 2018

The other night, I did something that I am not proud of. We have four teenagers, so dinnertime is never dull, but this particular evening… Read more

How to Have a Good Valentine's Day

How to Create More Loving Relationships

February 12, 2018

Research shows that our feelings of being in love come from what we do and how we behave around our beloveds — more than from… Read more

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

February 2, 2018

Lucky us: We live in a world where many of us have an abundance of choices–where to live, what to do for a living, and,… Read more

3 Things I Wish Parents – and Teens – Knew About Pot

3 Things I Wish More Parents – and Teens – Knew About Pot

January 29, 2018

We live in California, where marijuana is now, as of Jan. 1, legal for recreational use. My four teens report that pot is already very easy to… Read more

Resolutions Slipping? 5 Quick Ways to Stay the Course

January 15, 2018

We all understand that when we first attempt to drive a car or ride a bike, we’ll make mistakes. Behavior change is no different; it’s… Read more

It's not to late to join our Brave Over Perfect coaching group! Our next live call is on January 10th. That gives you plenty of time to listen to the call recording where I laid the foundation for setting goals and thinking about changes you’d like to make in 2018. Our Brave Over Perfect coaching group is a highly effective and extremely inexpensive alternative to life coaching and, for some people, therapy. If you’re interested in personal growth, this is less a lot less work than reading a book (and at only $20 for three calls, it’s totally affordable). Learn more or Register now.

Find more joy and fulfillment this year

January 5, 2018

It’s not to late to join our Brave Over Perfect coaching group! Our next live call is on January 10th. That gives you plenty of time… Read more

Happiness Habits Worth Cultivating

Happiness Habits Worth Cultivating

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year! Do you need some ideas for how to be happy in the New Year?  Check out this oldie but goodie Greater Good graphic!… Read more

Habits are everything

Habits Are Everything

December 29, 2017

You might know how to be happy, but can you do it? Watch a video of any elite athlete or performer before a big game… Read more

Why New Year’s Resolutions Work

December 26, 2017

  Thinking of making a New Year’s Resolution this year? This quick, research-based explanation by Dr. Mike Evans of why New Year’s Resolutions are a… Read more

3 Resolutions to Make You Happier

December 20, 2017

I do understand why people don’t like New Year’s resolutions: they can be a source of failure, year after year. Folks often pick resolutions that… Read more


Making the Holidays More Meaningful – and Less Materialistic

December 15, 2017

Last year about this time, an Instagram photo showing a mountain of shiny wrapped presents – nearly as large as the seven-foot Christmas tree behind it –… Read more

3 Steps to a Low-Stress, High Joy Holiday Season

November 27, 2017

Many people love the idea of the holidays more than their actual experience of them — mostly because their list of holiday-related tasks and obligations… Read more

How to Cope with a Difficult Relative Over the Holidays

November 20, 2017

My paternal grandmother died young, at age 49; within a year of her death, my grandfather had remarried the woman who would become my grandma.… Read more

When is it Better to Just “Fake it”?

November 13, 2017

People seem to be taking issue with my claim that happiness comes when we live with total integrity—when we stop people-pleasing and start living more… Read more

Accessing Authenticity

November 6, 2017

What if you didn’t have to worry about what other people think of you? Does your body sigh with relief at the thought of all… Read more

Happiness Tip: Use the Time Change to Your Benefit

November 3, 2017

Moving our clocks this weekend is going to change our bodies’ principal cue (light) for keeping time with our circadian rhythm. This usually causes us… Read more

What Does it Mean to be Brave Over Perfect?

October 29, 2017

Susie: In the summer of 2016, when I received some horrible news about my health, I sent my family camping and sat on my bed… Read more

Teaching Teens to 'Just Say No'

Teaching Teens to ‘Just Say No’

October 23, 2017

Today’s teens are busy. Last week, one of my teens was sitting in the kitchen replying to her emails while I prepped dinner. “Help me… Read more

What’s Happening With Group Coaching?

October 13, 2017

The feedback from Brave Over Perfect group coaching participants has been great! “Our coaching calls are really fun and valuable. I love them! I don’t LOVE talking… Read more

The Secret to Happiness Webinar

What is the Secret to Happiness?

October 11, 2017

Everyone I meet eventually asks me this question, usually sooner rather than later. The good news is that there are many secrets to happiness. But… Read more

Your Problems Probably Aren’t Unique

October 11, 2017

Busy people tend to struggle with similar challenges. We get overwhelmed. We have trouble saying no. We take care of others before we take care… Read more

How to Say No Gracefully

Three Steps to Say “No” Gracefully

September 29, 2017

Yesterday, a friend asked me if she could borrow my car to run a long-distance errand because my little car gets better mileage than her… Read more

15 Questions to Ask Kids at Dinner

September 21, 2017

Dinnertime conversation, I’ve found, goes really well when it’s structured. I’ve posed planned questions for my kids at dinnertime since they were in preschool, starting… Read more

How to Fulfill New School Year Resolutions

September 15, 2017

Help your kids change their behavior, so that they can reach their goals. As the summer break wrapped up, I started asking my kids about their… Read more

How to Get Better at Reaching Your Goals

August 30, 2017

Busy women tend to struggle with similar challenges. We get overwhelmed. We take care of others before we take care of ourselves. We question our… Read more


Back-to-School Happiness Advice (Video)

August 14, 2017

We have four teenagers headed to high school — two of them 9th graders at new schools this week. Remember how nerve-wracking it can be… Read more

Welcome, Susie! (And our new website!)

July 18, 2017

Friends! I want you to meet Susie! She and I have been friends since 1995, when we were both hired out of college to mentor teenagers… Read more

A Family Guide for Surviving the Summer

June 19, 2017

While not all of summer is destined to feel like a day at the beach, setting routines and expectations for the season can make it… Read more


How — and Why — to Go on a REAL Vacation

June 12, 2017

Nearly 40 percent of US employees feel like they have too much work to take a vacation. But research suggests you’ll be happier, healthier, and… Read more

A Day Lived in the Sweet Spot (Infographic) - Christine Carter

Eight Ways to Achieve More While Working Less

June 5, 2017

I spend about five hours a day slacking off. Really: I spend that much time doing stuff I enjoy, that isn’t on a task list anywhere.… Read more

A Day Lived in the Sweet Spot (Infographic) - Christine Carter

A Day Lived in the Sweet Spot (Infographic)

June 5, 2017

Read more

What Makes Teens ‘Most Likely to Succeed?’

May 31, 2017

As a sociologist who’s done much research on elite performance and productivity, I’ve given a lot of thought to the skills that lead to success… Read more

Directions for Handling a Toxic Relationship

May 22, 2017

Last week, I had lunch with a friend. As we were walking out, she mentioned that she had to see someone who hadn’t always been… Read more

The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less

How Can I Ever Thank You?

May 15, 2017

Guess what?  My book, The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More By Doing Less, is going to be available in paperback SO SOON on Amazon, Barnes… Read more

Feeling Entitled to a Little Gratitude This Mother’s Day?

May 13, 2017

Here’s an icky confession: Since becoming a mother, I have dreaded Mother’s Day. The whole holiday has, somehow, left me feeling unappreciated. I’ve tended to… Read more

How to Help Your Teen Deal With Stress

May 8, 2017

“Are your kids totally happy and squared away?” a reporter recently asked me earnestly during an interview. Gah. I really hate that question. My kids… Read more

Greater Happiness in 5 Minutes a Day

April 24, 2017

Want a quick hit of happiness? Research demonstrates the incredible power of loving-kindness meditation; in fact, this simple practice might be more effective than Prozac. Also… Read more


Why We Aren’t as Good at Saving the Earth as We Want to Be

April 22, 2017

A little while ago at a birthday soiree, I got to sit across from one of UC Berkeley’s cutting-edge ocean researchers. I asked him to explain… Read more

Confessions of a Bad Meditator

April 17, 2017

When I was in high school, my advisor, Michael Mulligan, called my parents to recommend a special treatment for my anxiety: Transcendental Meditation (“TM”). I was… Read more

10 Conversation Starters for Talking to Teens About Sex

April 3, 2017

Personally, I would love it if we could just have one “sex talk” with our kids and be done with it. Or, it would be… Read more


Happiness Tip: Let Yourself Feel What You Feel

March 27, 2017

We are living in an age of anxiety, and when we feel stressed out (or sad, or disappointed, for that matter) our world offers us… Read more

The Power of Truth Telling

March 26, 2017

Read more


Spend Some Time Alone

March 13, 2017

Usually, you’ll hear me tellin’ ya to spend more time with friends. This is because the best predictor of a person’s happiness is the breadth… Read more

The New Sex Talk: 3 Tips to Get You Started

March 4, 2017

The summer before I started high school, unbeknownst to me, my mother tasked my father with giving me the “sex talk” on a six-hour road… Read more

Happiness Tip: Lower Your Expectations

February 27, 2017

My father — the most disciplined person I’ve ever known — always quips that his “only goal is to climb a low mountain.” As an… Read more

Three Risky Ways to Fall Deeply in Love

February 13, 2017

Love feels magical and biological—something that just happens to us, something beyond our control. Research shows, however, that love is better thought of as behavioral—or… Read more

Tuesday Tip: Let Someone See Who You Really Are

February 6, 2017

These days, you can have both an actual life AND a life you present to others that’s been optimized for your audience. There can be what… Read more

Tuesday Tip: The Best Habit To Start Now

January 24, 2017

You already know, of course, that getting into a regular exercise routine is probably the best thing you can do for yourself — whether you… Read more

FREE Live Webinar: Awakening Joy in Kids

January 3, 2017

Mark your calendars! I’m hosting a free, 45-minute online webinar on January 10, 2017 with James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna. We’ll be talking about their new… Read more

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Make a New Year’s Resolution

January 2, 2017

Like most self-help authors and coaches, I love New Year’s Resolutions. Weeks ago I started asking my kids what theirs were going to be. I… Read more

Happiness Tip: Take Time to Rest

December 26, 2016

This may be “the happiest time of year” for some, but if it isn’t for you, I think it’s at least in part because we… Read more

20 Questions to Ask This Holiday Season

December 19, 2016

My four teens keep asking me what we are going to talk about at our big Christmas dinner this year. All of them followed this year’s… Read more

The Simplest Way to Feel More Joyful (Right Now)

December 13, 2016

“Abundance can be had simply by consciously receiving what has already been given.” — Sufi Saying Everywhere I go, people ask me this one question:… Read more

Stress-Relieving Tips for the Holidays

December 7, 2016

I joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss how we can avoid disappointment this season and stop being so hard on ourselves, the secret… Read more

How to Enjoy the Holidays

December 5, 2016

My teens are obsessed with Christmas carols this year (and every year). “It’s the holidays!” they exclaim when I suggest that perhaps we could listen to… Read more


How to Buy Happiness

November 29, 2016

Even though we say we can’t buy happiness, we often behave as though we can. Why else would we spend so much time shopping? What… Read more

Why Start Exercising, Now, Over the Holidays?

November 21, 2016

If you are anything like me, you are not inclined to join a gym, or start training for a new race, or begin an exciting new exercise plan right… Read more

How to Practice Extreme Gratitude

November 14, 2016

Ahh, Thanksgiving. For many of us regular gratitude-practicers, this extra grateful time of year can seem like a bit like more of the same. Sometimes… Read more

Take a Hike

November 8, 2016

My grandmother always told me that getting outside for a little walk could clear our heads and lift our spirits; now we have plenty of… Read more


3 Ways to Keep Technology from Ruining Your Relationships

October 31, 2016

In Triumphs of Experience, George Vaillant writes that “there are two pillars of happiness revealed by the seventy-five-year-old Grant Study. One is love. The other… Read more


The Best Way to Protect Yourself From a Cold this Winter

October 24, 2016

“But who could have foreseen . . . that he would die a happy, giving, and beloved man? Only those who understand that happiness is… Read more

Practice Saying No

October 17, 2016

We are coming to that time of the year that is both blessed and cursed with zillions of invitations. Here are some that are in… Read more

Are You Busy or Productive?

October 10, 2016

Until a couple of years ago, every time someone would ask me how I was doing, I would always give the same answer: I am… Read more


How to Help Teens Get More Sleep

October 3, 2016

I am writing this from the front lines: My 16-year-old stepdaughter’s messy bed. It’s a little after 9:00 o’clock. I’m surrounded by various evidence of teenage… Read more

9 Ways to Ease Overwhelm

September 26, 2016

Ever feel like you are constantly drinking from a firehose of information? We have more information (and stuff) coming at us than ever before. In… Read more

Please Stop Interrupting Me!

September 19, 2016

Several years ago, I devised a system for quickly getting into the “zone” while I wrote. Free from distractions and interruptions, I wrote quickly, joyfully,… Read more

Why Being a Stepmom Makes Me a Better Parent

September 16, 2016

Though you probably didn’t realize that today is a national holiday celebrating blended families (who knew?), I’m taking a moment to relish being a stepmom.… Read more

Color Your World With Kindness

September 9, 2016

Small acts of kindness can positively change the feelings and attitudes of everyone around you! Read more

Why I Aim to be a “Deeply Disciplined Half-Ass”

September 5, 2016

Throughout my life, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with hard work. I credit both my past successes and my past anxiety problems to how hard I’ve… Read more

Grit Needs Passion, Not Fear

August 29, 2016

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein When I first started writing about how to foster… Read more

How to Achieve Your Goals on Autopilot - Christine Carter

How to Achieve Your Goals on Autopilot

August 22, 2016

At each turn of each season, lots of achievement-oriented people set goals. The start of the school year is my favorite time to do this for… Read more

Why Staring into Space is an Important Strategy for Success

August 15, 2016

The answer is a cliché: You were probably in the shower. Creativity doesn’t come from the bathroom, we know, but it sure does seem highly… Read more

Restoring Teens’ Identities

August 12, 2016

There are so many ways to make other people’s lives better. This video inspired me to think about how I can best use my own talents to help people… Read more


Are You a People Pleaser?

August 1, 2016

People ask me all the time what the secret to happiness is. “If you had to pick just one thing,” they wonder, “what would be… Read more

How To Remain Productive Over The Summer

July 25, 2016

Researchers believe that the brains in both humans and animals evolved to feel calmed by repetitive behavior, and that our daily rituals and habits are… Read more


How to Only Do Things You Actually Want to Do

July 19, 2016

Earlier this spring I started getting loads of requests for help managing too-long task lists, and so I published this process for organizing them. Ineffective… Read more

19 Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress

July 15, 2016

A new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds extraordinary levels of workplace stress, with… Read more

What Kids Really Want From Vacation

July 8, 2016

As a follow up to how — and why — you need to take a real vacation, I offer you this sound advice from Kid… Read more

Feeling Time Starved?

July 5, 2016

Are you feeling anxious or frustrated that you don’t have enough time? If you’ve got 20 minutes, I’ve got a new free webinar you’ll appreciate.… Read more


Parent Shaming

June 20, 2016

Parent shaming is not a happiness habit. Parenting isn’t easy for anyone. Seek out ways to support each other rather than breaking each other down. Read more

Father’s Day Inspiration

June 19, 2016

In honor of my dear old dad, who is decidedly NOT old, and who is redefining aging for me and my children every day. #HappyFathersDay Read more

Keep Loving Each Other

June 17, 2016

“Keep loving each other, keep respecting each other, and keep on dancing.” –Jimmy Fallon Read more

This is What I Hope I’ve Taught You

June 7, 2016

My daughter, Fiona, came back from her first year away from school last week.* Picking her up I felt such a sadness looking at her… Read more

At 100, Still Running for Her Life

June 3, 2016

I love this lady! There’s so much we can all learn from her spirit and determination. “Do the thing that you don’t like to do… Read more

The Science of Finding Flow - Christine Carter

Want to accomplish more (while working less)?

May 31, 2016

The search for the elusive ideal work-life balance is futile. You’re much better off putting effort into finding your flow. Need help? Check out my… Read more

Tuesday Tip: Create an Anti-busyness Ritual

May 31, 2016

Researchers believe that the brains in both humans and animals evolved to feel calmed by repetitive behavior, and that our daily rituals are a primary… Read more

Create a More Effective To Do List

May 24, 2016

Ah, the to-do list. Lately, I’ve had dozens of calls from high-achievers (a Head of School, a university athletic coach, a tech industry Chief Marketing… Read more

There is No Failure

May 20, 2016

Oprah speaks so many truths here, but I do love this line: “You get just as much from your losses as you do from your… Read more

Five Surprising Steps to a More Effective To-Do List

May 18, 2016

Ah, the to-do list. Lately, I’ve had dozens of calls from high-achievers (a Head of School, a university athletic coach, a tech industry Chief Marketing… Read more

Tuesday Tip: Focus on One Thing at a Time

May 10, 2016

In his awesome book The Organized Mind, cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Levitin has quantified how overwhelmed by information the poor human brain is: “In 2011, Americans… Read more


The Three Components of an Effective Apology

August 10, 2015

People make mistakes all the time. Not just bad people, or weak people. All people. Our mistakes are what make us human. And even when… Read more