Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is a few years old now (published in 2015), however a lot of the content is very helpful in making better choices for yourself and crafting those choices into new, better habits. I am a huge proponent of creating healthy habits, specifically around finances and health, which are not only the two biggest stressors of Americans today, but also the two biggest categories in most people’s new year’s resolutions. I’ve also read Gretchen Rubin’s first book, The Happiness Project, and picked up a lot of good tips on goals setting and things to do on a daily basis to be happier (smile more, laugh, help others, give compliments). Both of these books are great to re-read at the beginning of the year, to get you into a mindset of setting new goals and developing new habits to make you better than ever!
In Better Than Before, Gretchen tackles habits – how to make good habits and how to break bad ones, and ultimately how to transform your life for the better.
Start New Habits
Gretchen says that habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and using self-control. Once we develop habits (good or bad), daily actions become routine, we don’t even have to think about doing things and we therefore operate on auto pilot most of the time. Athough most people want better habits in their life, we don’t necessarily know how to get started. This book explores what motivates us to start a habit and how to stick with a habit. I thought Gretchen Rubin offered a lot of insight and advice to just get us started.
7 Essential Habits
The essential habits in this books are habits to improve yourself and really sum up the basis of everyone’s goals in life. Unfortuantely, not everyone has the motivation or know-how to get these habits started. The “Essential 7” habits are:
- Eat more healthfully.
- Exercise regularly.
- Save, spend and earn wisely.
- Rest, relax and enjoy life.
- Accomplish more, stop procrastinating.
- Simplify, clear, clean and organize.
- Engage more deeply in relationships.
Better Than Before not only defines the essential habits in detail, but also discusses ways to accomplish them.
The Four Tendencies
Your personality and motivators can determine the amount of willpower you have to start a habit, as well as what type of expectations (internal or external) engage you. Gretchen has created a framework of different tendencies that can help you find the best way to change your habits. The “Four Tendencies” are: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. To easily find out which one your are, you can take her quiz which also gives you additional insight into your personality.
Additionally, people are impacted by what they read, hear and see; habits spread, but unfortunately, not always for the good. You can conquer obstacles by understanding your personality type and becoming aware of things that may derail your progress.
New Year, New Habits for You
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to start a new habit themselves, especially if you have a new year’s resolution you want to make sure you keep. This book also helps you understand how to motivate others, so if you are a parent, leader or manager, you can pick up some good ideas to help achieve your goals as a family or team this year. Through this book, I found we can not only understand ourselves better and how we can set ourselves up for success, but also how what we do and what we say impacts others. The creation of good habits can provide you more control over your future. We are creatures of habit and developing and sticking to good habits will offer lifelong benefits. Better Than Before is an insightful, easy read to help you get on the right track to start and maintain healthy habits for life!
Additionally, to pick up more tips on happiness and habits, visit Gretchen Rubin’s website where you can read her blog or listen to her podcasts. They are truly insightful and inspire you to start new habits today!