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?
Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.
Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:
• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
• Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
• How quickly can I change a habit?
• What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
• How can I help someone else change a habit?
• Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?
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.
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About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on the linked subjects of habits, happiness, and human nature. She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, Happier at Home and The Happiness Project. Rubin has an enormous following, in print and online; her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages, and on her popular daily blog, gretchenrubin.com, she reports on her adventures in pursuit of habits and happiness. Rubin started her career in law, and was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Read an Excerpt
The Fateful Tendencies We Bring into the World
Excerpted from "Better Than Before"
Copyright © 2015 Gretchen Rubin.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Note to the Reader xi
Decide Not to Decide: Introduction 1
The Fateful Tendencies We Bring into the World the Four Tendencies 15
Different Solutions for Different People: Distinctions 31
Pillars of Habits
We Manage What We Monitor: Monitoring 45
First Things First: Foundation 58
If It's On The Calendar, It Happens: Scheduling 74
Someone's Watching: Accountability 91
The Best Time to Begin
It's Enough to Begin: First Steps 103
Temporary Becomes Permanent: Clean Slate 115
Data Point of One: Lightning Bolt 122
Desire, Ease, and Excuses
Free From French Fries: Abstaining 135
It's Hard To Make Things Easier: Convenience 144
Change My Surroundings, Not Myself: Inconvenience 154
A Stumble May Prevent a Fall: Safeguards 160
Nothing Stays In Vegas: Loophole-Spotting 170
Wait Fifteen Minutes: Distraction 183
No Finish Line: Reward 191
Just Because: Treats 201
Sitting Is The New Smoking: Pairing 211
Unique, Just Like Everyone Else
Choose My Bale of Hay: Clarity 223
I'm The Fussy One: Identity 236
Not Everyone Is Like Me: Other People 245
Everyday Life in Utopia: Conclusion 257
Quiz: The Four Tendencies 267
Resources to Request 271
Start a Better than Before Habits Group 273
Suggestions for Further Reading 275
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was really full of great ideas. Gretchen offers advice, tells stories to drive the point home, and breaks it down by personality type. This book would benefit almost anyone who was willing to sit down and read it. The Good: Gretchen introduces us first to the 7 essential changes people try to make. Just about every thing some one tries to change will fall into one of these categories. She then breaks everyone into one of 4 categories, with admitting that some people bleed into other categories. I was really resistant at first being one of four, but in reading further I found myself reacting a certain way in every scenario. It’s brilliant really, how true my reaction is to my category. She then offers really helpful advice to actually making new habits and breaking bad ones by using example after example of how to get started. Gretchen lays out an array of pitfalls for each type of person and how to counter them. There is no excuse good enough. Gretchen exposed every weakness I had tried. I was really impressed that she was able to name every type of roadblock for change, and then offer ways to counter them. She also offers many tips on ways you can monitor yourself, to make sure you stick to your habits, or stick to breaking those bad ones. I am serious when I tell you that I took notes on this book. I am pretty sure this is the sort of book you should read, highlight and then reread whenever you hit a roadblock in your efforts. The Bad: The only thing I can really complain about is Gretchen’s attempt to persuade the reader about her diet. While it is worth looking into because it worked for her, this is not her area of expertise, nor is it the reason people pick this book up. Stating a certain diet as being the only way to lose weight in a self help book, is just dangerous. Also, all her talking about how working out doesn’t help people loose weight was really disheartening. I am sure fitness experts will agree that this isn’t entirely correct either. There is plenty of research to suggest that her information is not correct. Conclusion: I would recommend this book to those trying to break or make a habit. It has enough information for the reader to walk away more informed, if nothing else. While I don’t agree with all of what she said, her methods for habits make too much sense to ignore.
I came to Gretchen through her blog, and got interested in her work. I signed up for the pre-order of this book, because I know from my own experience that habits(good and bad) are the foundation of an organized life. Gretchen has many valuable insights in the book, to help you both know yourself better, and know how to make or break habits easier. When you understand the principles outlined in the book, a lot of things begin to make sense. Check out her blog and podcasts as well, worth your time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to change their habits, or simply to understand better where they come from.
I loved this book! It helped me clarify so many of my habits-why things have and have not worked for me. It's a very thought provoking read.
Better Than Before gave me great insight into my way of thinking about habits.
In this book I read things I already knew, but I learned new stuff about creating and establishing habits, too. The author uses an autobiographical style to tell about what she learned through research and experimentation with herself and with others, like her sister. Like other reviewers have said, there is a lot of the author writing about herself which I skimmed over after a while. I wanted to find the nuggets that would be helpful to me, which I was able to do. This book was a worthwhile read. I learned about myths of making and breaking habits, ways that work for some and not for others and why, and new outlooks about how to make habit creating more successful. If you seriously want to break or create habits in your life, this book can give you background information to help you do that.
Unable to get past sample despite purchasing book. Any ideas what to do??
I've found each of Rubin's books helpful and enjoyable, but this one came at just the right time for me. I've made my notes, printed my forms from her website and am ready give up old habits and make new ones! I'm determined to be Better Than Before!
The insights this book has are already changing the way I go about my day. I'm journaling more, focusing on building better habits that will improve my life! Gretchen's ideas are helpful and written with pizzazz! I highly recommend you give this a read, and might want a notebook handy to jot your own ideas in!
Awesome book. Really helped me see why I am having issues sticking to my habits and what I can do to get myself to stick to good habits.
I was creating/breaking habits before I even finished the book. She is so down to earth and give very real world advise. I could see myself in her examples and loved being able to apply her advise to my life - right where I am.
Really helpful book