Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

New York Times Bestseller
Washington Post Bestseller
 
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

Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

There were a couple of good things in here but it mostly didn’t work for me due to medical issues. But, I can see the advice working for a lot of people! ��

Diane

Apr 17, 2015

rated it
it was amazing

This is such a wonderful and inspiring book. Gretchen Rubin’s advice seems to find me just when I need it most.

Better Than Before is all about our daily habits and how we can improve them. Rubin describes habits as “the invisible architecture” of our life.

“We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

She writes that if we practice good habits, it can reduce stress and increase your produ

Better Than Before is all about our daily habits and how we can improve them. Rubin describes habits as “the invisible architecture” of our life.

“We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

She writes that if we practice good habits, it can reduce stress and increase your productivity. For example, if you get in the habit of always flossing your teeth after you brush, you never have to spend time debating whether or not to floss your teeth, or to feel guilty about not flossing enough. Turning it into a daily habit saves time and energy (and it keeps your gums healthy).

“Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.”

Rubin sets out to discover just how we can change our habits for the better, and why some people are so good at adopting positive habits, while others may rebel or object to them. The book is filled with practical advice that is based on real-world examples, and she includes innumerable anecdotes from her own life and from her friends, relatives, and even commenters on her blog.

She identified seven basic areas that most people would like to improve: Healthy eating, Exercise, Finances, Rest and Relaxation, Accomplishments, Clutter, and Relationships. Rubin recommends beginning with what she calls foundation habits, those which help us to sleep, move, eat and drink right, and unclutter.

“Foundation habits tend to reinforce each other — for instance, exercise helps people sleep, and sleep helps people do everything better — so they’re a good place to start for any kind of habit change.”

If you have read Rubin’s earlier bestseller, The Happiness Project (which I also love-love-loved), you already know that Rubin is very organized and systematic in her research. She has plans and goals, and makes lists of ways to improve and track habits. She also recommends scheduling time for the activities that are most important to you. As a fellow list-maker and scheduler, I understand this approach and find the structure comforting.

“How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives.”

I was so inspired by this book that I started my own habits journal, and have adopted several of her suggestions. One of my favorite pieces of advice is about reducing procrastination: Consider if the task can be accomplished in two minutes or less, and if so, do it right away. Getting those small tasks out of the way does indeed make me feel more accomplished, and I feel more prepared to tackle bigger issues.

My five-star rating could be considered generous, but this book was so influential and so inspiring to me that I think it warrants it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their habits.

Update November 2016
I reread this book because I caught myself sliding into some bad habits and wanted to remind myself of Gretchen’s good advice. I’m so glad I did. I love that this book is packed with real examples and such a variety of ideas for how to improve our lives. Still highly recommended.

First read: June 2015
Second read: November 2016

Favorite Anecdotes
From First Things First:

Surprisingly often, when people want to improve their habits, they begin with a habit that won’t deliver much payoff in return for the habit-formation energy required. I knew a guy who was chronically sleep-deprived, never exercised, could never find his keys or his wallet, was constantly late for work, never had time to play the tennis that he loved, and who chewed gum constantly, and he told me, “I’ve got to make some changes. I’m going to give up gum.”

From the loophole called Arranging to Fail:

A friend told me, “I know a guy in L.A. who has some trouble with gambling. The last time I saw him, he said, ‘I just lost a ton of money in Vegas.’ I said, ‘I thought you weren’t supposed to go there anymore.’ He said, ‘I’m not, but I didn’t go there to gamble.’ I asked, ‘So why were you there?’ He said, ‘I bought a new car, and I wanted to take it for a test drive.’ He was absolutely serious.”
We set out to be wrecked.

From the This Doesn’t Count loophole:

We tell ourselves that for some reason, this circumstance doesn’t “count.” I lived in a group house after college, and my housemate’s boyfriend one day said to me, in a patronizing tone, “Boy, I wish I had as much free time as you do, to read for pleasure.” He practically lived with us, so I saw how he spent his time, and I answered,” But you have lots of free time, you watch a ton of sports on television.” He said, “Oh, that doesn’t count.” But everything counts.

It is by studying little things, that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible. — Samuel Johnson
…more