A Little Happier: Preparation Is a Key Aspect of Performance.

Did you ever give any thought to how exams were distributed and collected? Or any other aspects of preparation for a task?

I’ve long been haunted by this line: “Be sure to read all instructions carefully; turn over your test papers and begin.” In fact, in my college application essay, that was the final line.

In writing Better Than Before, I spent a lot of time thinking about how beginnings and endings can influence our ability to shape our habits — the Strategy of the Clean Slate, the Strategy of First Steps, and the Strategy of Reward are two strategies where they show up.

Beginnings and endings matter a lot. I pay much more attention to them than I used to do.

Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:


Happier listening!

  • Katy

    If you’re going to write a negative review, no need to bother!


    • gretchenrubin

      This was meant as a little joke. I guess it didn’t land.

      • Susie

        I liked it!

  • Wow! I am amazed that your collage was so lax with the exam procedure! Here in Perth, Australia my university was very strict on the process. It was much like your high school experience and the invigilator would even collect the exams from us individually at the end. A good point and also an insight into how different an experience exams are.

  • MaggieRose59

    Preparation is key to so many things. If I need to lose a few pounds, I never just say “today I’m starting my diet”. I plan ahead. I need to plan my menu in advance and go shopping to be sure I have plenty of the right foods on hand. I need to clean out my cupboards of anything that might be too tempting. And especially I need to prepare mentally for the challenge. I look ahead to the possible scenarios and plot my strategy. If we are going out to breakfast with friends, or out to dinner, I plan ahead what I am going to have so I don’t even have to look at the menu. Even if it’s a buffet, I think ahead what I am going to have and set my limits. Planning ahead is really the key to success for me.