Book Review: Better Than Before

Hey there! How have you been? I know it’s been a minute, but I did say my goal was to post once a week and I’m still meeting that goal… so it’s fine. 😉

Switching gears a little bit today to talk about habits, specifically how to create habits that you want in your life, and squash the ones that aren’t serving you.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is not a new book. In fact, she’s already written 1-2 follow up books that dig deeper into some of the ideas/theories she brings up here. I find it extremely difficult to change my own habits, and this book gave me some great insight into why some attempts at habit formation work for me, and others don’t.

The overall concept is that there are four essential “tendencies”; the Rebel, the Questioner, the Obliger, and the Upholder. Each of these tendencies respond to inner and outer expectations differently, and knowing this information about yourself helps you understand how to cultivate and create habits that will make you happier and healthier.

The book itself goes through different theories of how to create and develop habits, and how each of the tendencies respond to each method of habit formation. I found it interesting that most people are either questioners or obligers, meaning they only respond to either inner (questioners) or outer (obligers) expectations. I’m an obliger, which explains why all those attempts to start an early morning workout schedule by sheer force of will have failed every. single. time.

This book is great for anyone who is interested in habits and habit formation. Whether you want to change unwanted habits, create new ones, or just gain a better understanding of how habits are formed. The methods and ideas here can not only be applied to introducing good habits around health and nutrition, but around business practices like setting appropriate boundaries or keeping to a work schedule. I’m applying this to launching my own business by designating my husband as my business manager (actually he designated himself if we’re being honest). He is providing outward accountability for me because when I create budgets and business plans, I’m creating them for him and not myself.

Interested in learning more about the Four Tendencies?? Gretchen Rubin’s other book, The Four Tendencies, digs deep into each tendency and what it means to be, love, raise, and work with Upholder, Rebel, Questioner, and Obliger.