Better Than Before: a review


So remember when my goal for 2015 was simply to be better? I had heard about Gretchen Rubin's new book Better Than Before a few months ago and I think I entered a Goodreads giveaway or two and then I kind of forgot about it. When I was browsing the Blogging For Books website and saw it pop up, I immediately requested it to review. I was a big fan of Rubin's The Happiness Project so I imagined I would enjoy Better Than Before just as much, if not more.

To sum up what the book is about very shortly it's about how habits impact our lives and the importance of finding habits that suit each of us.

I don't know how many times I read a blog post or see an instagram photo of someone eating a million healthy things and think to myself: "why can't I just get into that habit?" Or how does this person manage to get up two hours early every morning when I struggle to roll out of bed no matter how hard I try?

"There's no magic formula-- not for ourselves, and not for the people around us. We won't make ourselves more creative or productive by copying other people's habits...we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best." 

The book definitely reads more as research full of her facts and findings, but as someone who could possibly read social science research articles all day long, I loved that component to the book. Rubin takes her thoughts and questions and fleshes them out using real world examples that almost anyone can find a way to relate. On that same note, I felt like certain topics were too examined and I lost a little bit of interest during those points.

One chapter that stood out to me the most was on loopholes (nothing stays in vegas | loophole-spotting). As I was reading it I kept thinking oh man this is totally me. She mentions the tomorrow loophole, where we completely forgo what we're trying to achieve because we'll start tomorrow. Something like, tomorrow I'll start a budget so today I might as well buy everything, kind of thinking. Or, tomorrow I'm going to cut back on desserts so I might as well eat this entire box of cookies today. She goes on through the chapter mentioning many other loopholes that I could just as easily relate to in some way.

Overall, I don't know that reading this book will completely solve your problems when it comes to forming better habits, but I can almost guarantee it will give you better insight into why you make the choices you make when it comes to mastering habits.

"Perfection may be an impossible goal, but habits help us to do better. Making headway toward a good habit, doing better than before, saves us from facing the end of another year with the mournful wish, once again, that we'd done things differently." 

Have you read any of Rubin's books? Are you a fan of personal development/self help books?


I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review, my opinions are my own.

18 comments

  1. I am so guilty of that tomorrow mentality. I typically say "I'll start eating healthier tomorrow". I so wish I could just eat healthy every day and not constantly be wanting dessert! Definitely something I need to work on.

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  2. I really want to read this!!

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  3. Looks like a great book! Got to add that to my to-read list!

    dontcoralwithme.com

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  4. I totally get tricked into the loophole thinking at times. I do like self-help though I go in phases with them.

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  5. Well, I totally can relate to the loophole statements! It seems like an interesting book, thanks for reviewing it!

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  6. I've never read her books, but I've heard good things about The Happiness Project and this sounds interesting too. Thanks for sharing! Maybe I'll check it out next time I'm in the mood for non-fiction :)

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  7. i've heard of this book and enjoyed your review!

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  8. I literally just saw this book for the first time this weekend at Target :)

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  9. I really want to get into reading more non-fiction books, putting Rubin's books on my to-read list!

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  10. i haven't read any of her books, but i heard good (and bad) things about the happiness project. i am so the same with the loophole thing - mine is with food and exercise. i may as well eat everything bad in the house and do nothing, i'll exercise and eat healthy tomorrow. i feel like i have been saying that for 10 years, i'm not exaggerating, and its terrifying that i am in no better a position than i was then. when will i finally get over that and start taking care of myself and my body? scary. i just keep saying tomorrow tomorrow and before you know it i'll be 80. jeepers.

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  11. First of all, I've never heard of Blogging for Books but the idea is SO cool! Definitely going to look into that more. And this sounds like a great book! I am totally guilty of the tomorrow loophole - especially when it comes to eating junk! I always think that I just need to eat it to get it out of the house so I can start eating healthier foods... when I really should just throw it out!

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  12. I've never heard of her book but it sounds very interesting. I think those kinds of books are always good to read because you end up trying to better yourself!

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  13. This sounds super interesting! I will look for it; I could use some help with maintaining my habits. I was doing really well with my health challenge for six weeks but with Easter Candy, I have totally fallen out of my new habits! The loophole chapter is me, too! I am always saying: "we will start tomorrow, we will start next week!"

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  14. This book sounds right up my alley - that 'tomorrow loophole' really got to me because I'm guilty of using it very often!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  15. This really sounds so good!! I love the chapter that you described because I have those conversations with myself all the time!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  16. This sounds like a book right up my alley! Sounds like a good read!

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  17. I've been listening to Rubin's Happier podcast for a couple of months now and I think they have really helped me. Thanks for the review of this book... if you had to choose would you recommend Happier of Better than Before?

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