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Updated: Aug 11, 2020



If anything can help us stop procrastinating, start exercising, or get organized, It's Gretchen Rubin. She also the author of "The Happiness Project.

Most of us have HABITS WE'D LIKE TO CHANGE, and there's no shortage of advice and motivational speakers. BUT bottom line is there is no MAGIC, no ONE SIZE FITS ALL, Solution.

Have you ever wondered: Why do we find it tough to create a habit for something we love to do? or How can we keep our healthy habits when we're surrounded buy temptations? or How can we help someone else change a habit? In Better Than Before, Gretchen identifies every approach that actually works. She answers the most perplexing questions about habits.

In this book, Rubin reveals the secret to habit change: One of which is we must know ourselves. When we shape our habits to suit ourselves, we can find success. Whether you want to eat more healthfully, stop checking devices, or finish a project, this book will start to help you work on your habits right away.

ASK YOURSELF: What are the habits you are looking to change? Or What habit do you want to develop or adopt? Can you think of a couple? Maybe it's to sleep well, walk daily, or to stop procrastinating. As we go through the book, consider what steps you want to try. Begin the process of change.


Better than Before tackles the question: How do we change? ANSWER- By using habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40% of our behaviour almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future.

Next question becomes HOW DO WE CHANGE HABITS?

No one size solution fits all exists. It's easy to think that if you copy the habits of productive, creative people, we'll be similarly successful. WE MUST CULTIVATE HABITS THAT WORK FOR US!!

Some people start small, some big. Some like accountability, others defy accountability. Some thrive with breaks, others can't break the chain. NO SUCH WONDER HABIT FORUMLA. Most important formula is to KNOW OURSELVES- and choose the strategies that work for us.

HABIT MANIFESTOS: What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while. Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong. Focus on actions, not outcomes. By giving something up, we may gain. Things often get harder before they get easier. When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves. Everyone is different. It's easier to change our surrounding than ourselves. We can't make people change, but when we change, others may change. We manage what we monitor. Begin NOW when you are ready.


The Four Tendencies: The happiest most successful people are those who have figured out ways to exploit their tendency to their benefits and found ways to counterbalance its limitations. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO EXPECTATIONS?

Upholders: respond to both outer expectations and inner expectations: What's on the schedule and to do list? What's expected from others and self?

Questioners: question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it's justified. Only respond to expectations if conclude it makes sense. What needs to get done today and why?

Obligers: respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. What must I do today? External accountability. Drop everything when feel obligated.

Rebels: resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. What do I want to do today? Resist control, rules, and expectations.

Distinctions/Different Solutions

There's not magic formula. We won't make oiurselves more creative and successful by copying other people's habits. We must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.

ASK YOURSELF: How do I like to spend my time? What time of day do I feel energized? What activities take up my time thats aren't useful? What can I do for hours without feeling board? Do I have anything on my calendar that I anticipate with pleasure?

ASK YOURSELF: What do I value? What's most satisfying to me: Saving time, or money, or effort? If I had $500 I had to spend on fun, how would I spend it?

MY CURRENT HABITS: If I could change one habit in my life what would it be? If people around me could change one habit, what would they choose? What is one habit I have that I'd like to see my children adopt? or not?



We manage what we monitor. Eg. Call one client every day. vs. be self aware. Actual measurement is crucial. Monitoring allows us to see if habit is worth time energy effort. MONITOR ANYTHING ESSENTIAL TO YOU. EG. Blood sugar levels


First things first: Where should we start. Good to start with habits that strengthen self-control. They serve as habits for forming other habits. Foundation habits tend to reinforce each other. EG. Habits to help us to: sleep, move, eat and drink right, unclutter. What comes first for you?


When it's on the calendar is happens. Scheduling makes us far more likely to convert and activity into a habit. Habits grow stronger and fastest when they are repeated in predictable ways. What we do everyday matters more than what we do once in a while. Scheduling helps eliminate decision making, increases self-command, and fights procrastination.


Someone is watching! Not enough to schedule, we must also create a strategy of accountability. Accountability means we face consequences for what we're doing. Eg. Library Late fees. Face to face meetings. Loyalty cards. What are some ways you can be held accountable?


Mind Meister


First Steps

First step is the toughest. Starting is often far harder than continuing. Now is often the unpopular time to start. Stopping or putting off halts momentum, breeds guilt, makes us feel bad about losing ground, and worse breaks habit. This is what I am doing today.. Don't rethink or revisit habit just start. What would a first step be for you?

Clean Slate

Fresh start feels energizing and gives a sense of possibility. Fresh start triggers habit change. Fresh start can help launch new habit with less effort.

Lightning Bolt

Strategy of the lightning bolt- unleash an enormous force. New knowledge belief and ideas can hit us like a lightning bolt and invoke energy and new habit. Eg. Milestone event. We are smacked with some new idea, circumstances that jolts us into change.



Much easier to give up something completely than moderately.

Convenience & Inconvenience

We are influenced by sheer convenience. We are more likely to do something if it is convenient. How can you make your new adopting habits more convenient and habits you want to get rid of less convenient.


Anticipate and minimize temptations both in your environment and mind. Peter Gollwitzer (Implementation Intention) "If.... happens, then I will do......"


Why we should be excused from habit. Eg. Tomorrow logic., Lack of control, False choice (too busy), doesn't count, YOLO. SPOT and REJECT loopholes.


Distract yourself in the right way. Deliberately shifting your attention. EG. PING on phone.


The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. Intrinsic motivation: Challenge, curiosity, control, mastery, imagination, cooperation, competition, recognition. Build rewards into the habits themselves. EG. Losing weight, eating healthy, working out. Reward is slim, fit healthy, light, energized.


Small treasure or treat that we give ourselves just because we want it. We give ourselves treats we feel energized, cared for and and contented, which boosts self-command and healthy habits. What treats do you give yourself?


Couple two activities together, one that you need or want to do, with one that you don't want to particularly do. In order to accomplish both. It's not a reward, its' not a treat, it's pairing. EG. STARBUCKS DAUGHTER HOMEWORK. What could you pair together?



One of the greatest puzzles of habit is the problem of clarity. We want one thing but also another that conflict. We are unclear or abstract. FOCUS ON THE CONCRETE. Get clear on values and clear on action. RED-HARRING HABIT- Loudly claim the habit we want to adopt. What is your Red-Herring habit? I am going to.....


Identify, this is the person that I am and this is the person I'd like to be. We tend to believe what we hear ourselves say. Practice describing ourselves in positive ways.. EG. I'm lazy. I can't resist a sale. I love how I feel after exercising. I am financially responsible. Discover your new identity.

Other People

Associate yourself with other people who will improve you. Consider how other people affect your habits. EG. I love dating people who enjoy eating healthy, exercising and who have self regulation around alcohol. ALSO, notice how you affect others peoples habits.

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