Cover of book Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

by: Gretchen Rubin

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  • Before you begin, identify a few habits that you’d like to adopt, or changes you’d like to make. Then, as you read, consider what steps you want to try. You may even want to note today’s date on your book’s flyleaf, so you’ll remember when you began the process of change.
  • In other words, habits eliminate the need for self-control
  • People with better self-control (or self-regulation, self-discipline, or willpower) are happier and healthier. They’re more altruistic; they have stronger relationships and more career success; they manage stress and conflict better; they live longer; they steer clear of bad habits.
  • And that’s why habits matter so much. With habits, we conserve our self-control.
  • These factors do matter; but in the end, I concluded that the real key to habits is decision making—or, more accurately, the lack of decision making. A habit requires no decision from me, because I’ve already decided. Am I going to brush my teeth when I wake up?
  • Habits speed time, because when every day is the same, experience shortens and blurs; by contrast, time slows down when habits are interrupted, when the brain must process new information.
  • Habit makes it dangerously easy to become numb to our own existence.
  • A “routine” is a string of habits, and a “ritual” is a habit charged with transcendent meaning.
  • Habit is a good servant but a bad master. Although I wanted the benefits that habits offer, I didn’t want to become a bureaucrat of my own life, trapped in paperwork of my own making.
  • Most people, by a huge margin, are Questioners or Obligers. Very few are Rebels, and, to my astonishment, I discovered that the Upholder category is also tiny.
  • The happiest and most successful people are those who have figured out ways to exploit their Tendency to their benefit and, just as important, found ways to counterbalance its limitations.
  • As one of the exercises for the happiness project I undertook a few years ago, I’d identified my twelve “Personal Commandments,” which are the overarching principles by which I want to live my life.
  • Procrastinators, however, are happier when they change their work habits to work more steadily.
  • Overbuyers, by contrast, find excuses to buy.
  • overbuyers should remember that mere acquisition isn’t enough to establish a good habit.
  • Simplicity lovers are attracted by the idea of “less,” of emptiness, bare surfaces and shelves, few choices, a roomy closet.
  • Openers thrill to the excitement of launching a new project, and find pleasure in opening a fresh tube of toothpaste.
  • Openers may be overly optimistic about their ability to take on additional habits.
  • Novelty lovers may embrace habits more readily when they seem less … habit-like.
  • In fact, novelty lovers may do better with a series of short-term activities—thirty-day challenges, for instances—instead of trying to create an enduring, automatic habit.
  • Promotion-focused people concentrate on achievement and advancement, on making gains, on getting more love, praise, pleasure.
  • we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.
  • Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability.
  • Self-measurement brings self-awareness, and self-awareness strengthens our self-control.
  • Accurate monitoring helps determine whether a habit is worth the time, money, or energy it consumes.