“The fact is, no one-size-fits-all solution exists. It’s easy to dream that if we copy the habits of productive, creative people, we’ll win similar success. But we each must cultivate the habits that work for us.”
In Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin tackles the subject of habits, and how we can not only change them but understand them. The key to change being knowing ourselves and understanding our habits. The author presents a framework through which we can do this, starting with The Four Tendencies as described in the book:
Upholders – respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations.
Questioners – question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified.
Obligers – respond readily to outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations.
Rebels – resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
By recognizing your tendency, you learn what may or may not work for you, which allows you to develop a foundation for success. From there the author explores a variety of tools and topics related to habits, from strategies to excuses. Better Than Before recognizes that everyone is different and what works for others, what is successful for them, may not yield results for you.
I developed a much better understanding of my own tendencies (a total Obliger), and traps I fall into when trying to develop habits that will benefit me. A lightbulb went off for me several times while reading this book. I recognized the excuses, and more importantly why certain methods I was using were absolutely not working for me and what I can do that will work for me. That is what I truly appreciated about this book. It doesn’t sell or promote one specific idea, but instead gives you the information and the tools you need in order to learn what strategies may work for you.
The book is very well researched and the author’s passion for the topic is evident. Her voice, humour, stories, and examples make it not only an informative but an enjoyable read as well. I would love to see a more condensed version of this book that would act as a pocket guide or quick reference as I know I will be re-visiting its ideas often.
If you struggle with making the changes you want in your life, or find yourself stuck in any way, I absolutely recommend you check out this book. At the end of the day, the work is yours to do, and Better Than Before is a great place to start.
“Whenever you read this, and wherever you are, you’re in the right place to begin.”