Book Review: Better Than Before

I posted at the end of April that I was diving into Gretchen Rubin‘s new book Better Than Before. It took me a while to finish as I picked up some other books in between reading this one but I’m finished so here is my review!

What kobo.com says:

From the author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home comes a book that tackles the question: How do we make good habits that are easy, effortless, and automatic?
Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives. Rubin provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits–as well as change them for good. Infused with her compelling voice and funny stories, she illustrates the core principles of habit formation with dozens of strategies that she tests out on herself and others. In doing so, she discovers answers to questions such as:

• At times, I’ve picked up a habit overnight, but other times, it’s taken years to develop. Why?

• Why do some people resist habits, while others adopt them eagerly?

• I want to help my child/spouse/colleagues make a change. What can I do?

• Why do I resist other people’s advice on how to change, even if I think they are right?

• How do I make good habits convenient and easy?

Rubin provides tools to help readers better understand themselves, and presents a clear, practical menu of strategies so readers can take an individualized approach. She tackles each strategy herself, and in doing so shows us the importance of knowing ourselves, and our own habit-tendencies. Armed with self-knowledge, we can pursue the habits in ways that will truly work for us, not against us. Going to the gym can be as easy, effortless, and automatic as putting on a seatbelt. We can file expense reports, take time for fun, or pass up that piece of carrot cake without having to decide. With the foundation of good habits, we can build a life that reflects our values and goals.

Better Than Before

What I say: I really enjoyed how Gretchen Rubin researched habits. I love her fresh take on habit making really is based on what type of person you are and practical advice for how to attack new habits and make everyday living better. As an Upholder (someone who responds readily to outer and inner expectations) and an Obliger (someone who meets outer expectations, but struggles to meet expectations they impose on themselves) I enjoyed reading this book because I’m very similar to Gretchen in personality. I’m constantly doling out advice to others to help them improve their world without thinking if it even applies to their style of learning or if they even want new habits. The book gave me a great appreciation for my need to help fix others. It hammered home that I’m someone that needs to abstain from bad habits to ensure I’m staying on track. It also confirmed that I need to schedule and have someone keep me accountable to ensure I’m adapting a new good habit into my life. My favourite quote from the book is near the end and exactly speaks to my lifestyle and habit-making.

Better Than Before Quote

Happy Reading!

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