Last Great Book I Read: Better Than Before

Okay, before I begin, let me state: this is not my typical read.  I typically gravitate toward novels, memoirs, generally fiction from the New York Times bestseller list.  Better Than Before, a book based on habits research and personality tendencies was not something I normally would pick up.

However...I cannot say enough good things about this book!  It has changed the way I think about myself, family members, and friends, and helped me to understand why certain people do things a certain way - because we all have different habit tendencies!  If this sounds a bit bizarre, I suggest you start here.  I first discovered this book via an interview on The Lively Show with the author, Gretchen Rubin (you may have heard of her, author of The Happiness Project, among other titles).

She explains the four habit tendencies: questioner, obliger, upholder, and rebel.  After listening to this podcast, I was pretty sure I was a questioner, but took the 5-minute quiz to confirm.  Inspired by a new understanding of why I do things the way that I do them, I badgered my family into taking the quiz as well, and learned our habit tendencies are all over the board!  We have a bunch of upholders, a few obligers, no rebels, and I'm the lone questioner.  Still feel like I'm talking gibberish? Here's a quick blurb about the four tendencies.

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations 
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

Okay, here's one thing little habit I read about that might help it click.  Are you one of those people who moves things closer to their destination?  For example, you found a book in the kitchen that you want to return to your bedside table.  But the bedside table is just too far to walk for whatever reason (oatmeal on the stove, baby on the play mat, too lazy, whatever).  So instead, you put that object close to the path to that destination, knowing that when you do walk upstairs, you'll bring it with you, making for less trips back and forth.  Make sense?  

For the longest time, I didn't understand why my husband wouldn't help me along with this process.  He'd see the book as he'd pass it going up the stairs, why didn't he take it to the bedside table for me?  After hearing about this being a frequent habit of many people, I thought "Why don't I ask him why he doesn't move these things," thinking it was so obvious.  To my surprise, he said, "well I just thought you liked leaving stuff around the house, it never occurred to me to move it for you."  Light bulb!  We're different habit tendencies, we think differently!  Something I thought was so obvious he was completely oblivious to.

I could go on and on.  If this sounds remotely interesting to you, I encourage you to check out the book or Gretchen Rubin's podcast Happier for more info.  Onward and upward!


1 comment

Abby Abby said...

I'm currently reading Fangirl. Have you heard of it? So far so good! I'll put this on one of my bookmarks! I love recommendations like these.