Gretchen Rubin

About the Book

Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40% of our behavior almost daily, so if we change our habits, we change our lives.

But that observation just raises the question: “Okay, how do I change my habits?” These resources will help you get started. Alas, no magic, one-size-fits-all solution exists—you must know yourself, and choose the strategies that work for you. It turns out that it’s not hard to change your habits, if you know what to do.

Once you’re ready, the best time to begin is now.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, has helped millions of readers to get happier. Now she tackles the critical question: How can we make good habits and break bad ones?

With her signature mix of rigorous research, easy humor, and personal experimentation, she investigates how we can change our habits—really. In a book that’s bursting with big, provocative ideas, Rubin shows readers how to create the habits that will transform their lives, even if they’ve failed before.

As observed in the review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, “The Happiness Project lays out life’s essential goals…Her new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, serves as a kind of detailed instruction manual on how to achieve them.”  Or, as her husband says in Better Than Before, “’With your books about happiness, you were trying to answer the question “How do I become happier?” And this habits book is “No, seriously, how do I become happier?’”

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?
  • I want to help someone else make a change. But how?
  • Why do practically all dieters gain the weight back—plus more?
  • How quickly can I change a habit?
  • How can I get myself to stick to a new habit?
  • Do the same strategies work for shaping simple habits (like wearing a seat belt) work for complex habits (like drinking less)?
  • Why can I make time for everyone else, but can’t make time for myself?

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.

Better Than Before identifies the many strategies that we can use to make or break our habits. The most fun strategy? Treats. The funniest? Loophole-Spotting.

As the New York Times observed, “A greater awareness of habit—those powerful, unconscious behaviors that Rubin calls the ‘invis­ible architecture of daily life’—can change lives in profound ways.”

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.

Whether readers want to get more sleep, eat more healthfully, stop checking their phone, or finish a project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will start readers working on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

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