better than before [book review]

Nonfiction: Self-Help

The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change? 

Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?

Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

We can build our habits only on the foundation of our own nature.

Abstainer. Lark. Sprinter. Underbuyer. Simplicity Lover. Finisher. Novelty Lover. Prevention-Focused. Big Steps. 

These are all new labels I can add to myself because of this book. For some, adding labels can be discouraging; however, I find labels help me understand who I am and how I function.

For example, I cannot just have one of anything. So, it's better for me to abstain than to try to moderate.
I love--and work better--early in the morning. That makes me a Lark. 

Gretchen breaks down more tendencies and ways to define our nature in this book and teaches how to use those tendencies to create a habit. 

When we allow ourselves to function within our nature, habits are more easy to create and continue. Over the next couple Mondays, I'll show you how I've put this book into practice with some of my new habits that cause me to leave space in my brain for big decisions. 

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to decide where to go out to eat, though, so if you have any ideas for that, I'm all ears.

Favorite Quotes:

[T]he real key to habits is decision making--or, more accurately, the lack of decision making. A habit requires no decision from me, because I've already decided.

I get so distracted by the way I wish I were, or the way I assume I am, that I lose sight of what's actually true.

[B]eing "too tired" is the most common reason people give for procrastination.

Keeping up is easier than catching up.

Something that can be done at any time is often done at no time.

[F]or Abstainers, having something makes them want it more; for Moderators, having something makes them want it less.

The harder it is to do something, the harder it is to do it impulsively.

"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." -Dwight Eisenhower

[S]ome people are serial goal setters, rather than habit formers.

[M]y sense of identity makes it easier or harder to change a habit.

I can't make people change, but when I change, others may change; and when others change, I may change.

Check out Gretchen's Podcast

Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth talk about tips on how to be happier in life--they include Try This at Home as well as Happiness Demerits and Gold Stars!

If you took the Four Tendencies Quiz, write a comment with what you got! I'm an Upholder.