Happy Habit-ing.

A short critique of Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before

New Day, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before (2015)

Hi friends!

For my nonfictional read this past month I decided to explore the psychology behind habit formation in Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before. This book had been perched on my shelf for awhile, and as I found myself on the cusp of starting back to work, it seemed like a perfect time to crack it open.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve read some of Rubin’s other works. The Happiness Project helped me through one of my most difficult years of teaching; Happier at Home was an enjoyable read as well. While her subject matter may appear prosaic, Rubin has a way of organizing and articulating the quirks of human personality that I always appreciate. Her books always leave me with a healthy dose of self-reflection.

This book did not disappoint.

Rubin begins by separating human habit into “The Four Tendencies”, which are assigned to four distinct types of people, in regard to their habit formation:

Upholder: Meets outer expectations; meets inner expectations

Rebel: Resists outer expectations; resists inner expectations

Questioner: Resists outer expectations; meets inner expectations

Obliger: Meets outer expectations; resists inner expectations


The rest of the book explores these personality types, and the many pitfalls each one encounters.

All too frequently I found myself thinking, “Me too!” when I read about how we justify our bad habits (Don’t I deserve a treat?) and delay the good ones (I already ate a donut today, so I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow).

Anyway, it’s worth a read. It’ll leave you scrutinizing your own habits, and call into question how you spend your time.

How can I improve? How can I achieve my goals?

These are questions worthy of asking.

Once again, Rubin encourages us to keep searching for a healthier, happier life.

And who doesn’t appreciate that?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: