Book Review: Better Than Before X Gretchen Rubin

By Local Unnie

Why do I sleep late every night and regret every morning for sleeping late?

Why do I buy new things despite I want to live a simple life?

Why my desk is always messy?

Why do I keep on saying “later” on the things that I must do?

I want to change but why am I not changing?

If you are asking those questions to yourself, it is time to check your “habits”. About 40 percent of our daily activities such as getting up in the morning and brushing, eating, taking a bath, watching TV, sleeping, etc. happen repeatedly. Gretchen Rubin, who is also popular for her book entitled “The Happy Project”, says that only habits can lead the life as desired.

We are not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.

Gretchen Rubin

About the Author:

Gretchen Rubin, is a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, where she was an EIC of the Yale Law Journal. She started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and all of sudden she realized that she wants to be a writer. In her book, Betther than Before, she says that starting is tough but she made it. She is an American author, blogger, and speaker, who has written 3 New York bestsellers. Currently, she shares her adventures in pursuit of happiness and good habits through books.

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand, and Stars

  • What makes people change is not a self-discipline. It is the habit.
  • Before making a habit, you should know yourself first. Are you an upholder, a questioner, an obliger, or a rebel?
    • Upholder: “I do what others expect from me – and what I expect from myself.” These are the people who asks themselves a question of “What are the things to do for today and what should I do today?”
    • Questioner: “I do what I think is the best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it. These are the people who asks themselves a question of “What are the things to do for today and why should I do it?”
    • Obliger: “I do what I have to do. I hate let others down, but I often let myself down.” These are the people who asks themselves a question of “What are the things that I MUST to do?”
    • Rebel: “I do what I want, in my own way. If you tell me to do something, I am less likely to do it.” These are the people who asks themselves a question of “What are the things that I WANT to do?”
  • There is no single solution.
  • Review/assess yourself. The reality may be different from what we perceive. People most often give an overstated self-assessment. Take a note of what you are doing then assess yourself objectively. For instances where people think that they eat less since they are undergoing a diet but most often, people intake more than what they expect.
  • Plan in details to make it a habit. For example, if I plan to go on a diet and will say that I will exercise after my work. This should be more specific like I will exercise every Tuesday and Thursday 10PM after work.
  • Be responsible of what you are doing. Let others know it.
  • It is enough to begin. As we get old, we avoid to start something new. We do not want to get out of our comfort zone but if you do not begin anything, nothing will change. If you have started something, you made a BIG first step already because starting something is much harder than maintaining it. If you are questioning when to start it, the answer is NOW.
  • Do not make excuses. I have lived so well that I can do bad things as a reward. I will start the diet tomorrow so I can eat a lot today. These are the typical excuses we make but to think about it we do not end up with making excuses for once. We keep on making excuses to self-rationalize.
  • We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change. This really inspired me since I know how can one person can may influence the others. This makes me to think my college days where lower batch told me that they learned how to love the organization as I did.

To relate myself with this book, I started to write in online with a sudden incident which made me to realize that why am I afraid of failing? Myself back then in college does not know failure. I tried and tried until I make it. (Hopefully, I could share this incident to you guys.) So I did it. I created a blog with an English text. It was hard (and is still hard) because I have to give information unlike my Korean blog which I do photo focused posts. I let other people know of it. I shared what I am doing and what I want to do to close friends of mine. To not let people down, I am working on it with all my responsibilities. I also set a daily goal in managing this blog. I will do post at least one everyday. Like said above, to start was tough but I believe that it was a big step already. I am ongoing.

Little by little, I will make a change.

Hope you had fun reading. Have a good night/day! 🙂

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