How do we change?
Author 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?
Rubin’s new book, 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.
Many habit experts offer one-size-fits-all solutions. But as we all know through hard experience, no magic formula exists. The secret, Rubin explains, is to pinpoint the specific strategies will work for us. From finding the right time to begin a new habit, to setting up a counter-intuitive system of reward, to using the pleasure of treats to strengthen our good habits, Rubin identifies the 21 strategies that will allow every reader to find an effective, individual fit.
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.
The Essential Seven:
- Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)
- Exercise regularly
- Save, spend, and earn wisely (save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, stick to a budget)
- Rest, relax, and enjoy (stop watching TV in bed, turn off a cell phone, spend time in nature, cultivate silence, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car)
- Accomplish more, stop procrastinating (practice an instrument, work without interruption, learn a language, maintain a blog)
- Simplify, clear, clean, and organize (make the bed, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle)
- Engage more deeply in relationships—with other people, with God, with the world (call friends, volunteer, have more sex, spend more time with family, attend religious services)
Better Than Before gives readers the thrill of recognition and relief, because at last, they’ll have the vocabulary and framework to change their habits successfully. Questioner or Rebel? Dependent on external accountability—or by inner desire? Love habits—or resist them? Solutions exist.
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.