Well, tomorrow is the big day. After years of work, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives will hit the shelves. Note my excellent book-jacket-matching cell-phone case!
If I enjoy the process, then the outcome doesn’t matter as much. I’ve had my fun.
I certainly enjoyed the process of writing Better Than Before. Habits! I’m more fascinated by this subject now than when I started my research for the book, and I must say that I was already pretty darned obsessed when I started. It was a joy to write this book — but it was also very difficult. Of all my subjects — which include big subjects like happiness and Winston Churchill — this was the most demanding, because I did the most original analysis (it seems to me). I came up with new vocabulary, figured out a fresh way to pull together the well-established habit-change strategies, and of course, most difficult was figuring out the Four Tendencies framework.
Now that the book is heading out into the world, it has been great fun to get to talk about the book and about habits. In fact, after some interviews, the reporters have emailed me to tell me that after we spoke, they changed some of their habits! Which I love to hear, of course.
I can’t stand to listen or watch myself — but here are some clips if you’re interested:
Rachel Martin interviewed me for NPR’s Weekend Edition — you can listen here. Turns out Rachel is a Questioner, and if this conversation makes you wonder if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, take this quiz to find out.
Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie talked with me about how to break bad habits. You can watch here. A highlight? When Matt ate the M&Ms out of the trash can. Can you tell how surprised I was when he did that? Hilarious! Abstainers, you’re with me, right? Give it up, that’s easier.
I just talked to my husband, and he told me a funny example of my habit principles in action. Each spring break, my husband and I and our two daughters go on a beach vacation with my in-laws — but this year, I’m going on my book tour instead.
“Because you’re not here, everything is happening an hour and half later,” he reported. “We’re all sleeping later and eating later and staying up later.”
Now, when I’m on vacation with them, I don’t consciously order people around. But if I’m there, it’s definitely true that I prefer to do things on the early side. Especially dinner.
So this is a good illustration of how one person — me — affects the eating, sleeping, and waking habits of five other people. That’s the Strategy of Other People.
If you’d like to know more about this strategy, and all the other habit-change strategies that I explore, you can…
–read an excerpt
–download discussion guides for book groups, or work groups, or spirituality groups
– buy it!
—request a free, signed bookplate for yourself, or if you’re giving it as a gift, for other people (U.S. & Canada only, sorry; mailing costs)
–I have something new — a Checklist for Habit Change. It’s a one-pager that lists all 21 habit-change strategies. You identify the habit you want to change, and then fill in the strategies that you could deploy to change it. I think people will find this a really useful tool, but you probably have to read the book first, to understand it.
Thanks for your patience with my self-promotion. In these days of fewer bookstores and shrinking book coverage, we writers have learned to be pretty pushy. I’ve worked so hard on this book; I want to give it a good shot at reaching an audience. Because truly, I think that Better Than Before will help people to succeed in changing their habits, even when they’ve failed before. It’s not that hard…when you know what to do.
Publication is tomorrow, which is a kind of finish line…and I’m reminded of the strange, haunting meditation about finish lines from tennis star Andre Agassi. He’s right; something strange happens around finish lines.
Strange or not, it’s exciting! As always, thank you, my dear readers, for your enthusiasm, your support, and your ideas. I appreciate it so much.