Review: Better than Before

betterthanbeforeBetter than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Catalog record  |  Goodreads reviews

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?

Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project made her a household name among people who want to bring more joy and gratitude into their lives. Now, Rubin does the same for people who want to set habits and stick to them. Not everyone thinks in terms of habits — we tend to think in terms of goals, but then wonder why we fail at them. Rubin presents the idea that in order to reach our goals (and keep it up after meeting it), we focus on the habits that will get us there. Want to lose weight? Focus on your eating habits and exercise habits. Want to spend more time with your family? Work on your habit to not check email after 6pm.

Rubin also explains why people react differently to setting or creating habits, and she nicely lays out a description of four tendencies and how we can make our innate personality traits work for us, not against us. I took a lot of notes while reading this book, and even when I wasn’t reading it, I often thought about my own habits and what others I could identify to do better in both work and play. Creating habits frees us from making decisions about every little thing, leaving more time to actually get things done — an idea with which I wholeheartedly agree.

– Review by Marleah

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