Some people love habits- they make you more productive with less effort. Others can’t stand habits- they make you predictable and less open to spontaneity. Thankfully, one of the biggest points of Gretchen Rubin’s book, BETTER THAN BEFORE, is that habit formation does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. The most important thing to do is get to know yourself, and then use the strategies that work for you.
In order to help you with this, Gretchen provides several chapters on Self-Knowledge. One of her approaches is to divide people into the “Four Tendencies”: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels, and she often suggests specific tips for habit formation in light of these tendencies. Although I never like being pigeon-holed in a category, I do think identifying your most prominent tendency- as defined by Gretchen- is a helpful tool as you set out to establish the habits you are hoping to keep.
I sometimes felt mildly impatient when Gretchen Rubin was discussing certain concepts that seemed obvious to me, but I also think she has a knack for breaking down and describing various behaviors or habit phenomenons. For instance, she labeled many “loopholes” that we consciously and unconsciously use to get out of our good habits, and I found her descriptions insightful, helpful, and often amusing. I definitely had a few “Yup- I totally know what you’re talking about,” moments.
Over-all, I do think BETTER THAN BEFORE is a worthwhile read. In her matter-of-fact but likeable style, Gretchen lays out thought-provoking suggestions for building and sustaining habits. If you actively engage with her ideas, I think the book can be a useful guide and reference to make your life “Better Than Before.”
To read more about Gretchen, you can visit this link: http://gretchenrubin.com/about
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.