A Coffee and Some Habits Friday
Last week when Jeff dropped me off at our local Chapters while he checked out the game store (the dear man does this so I have extra time to browse), I proclaimed I would not be buying any books. Seriously: I have recently added a fair number to an already sizeable To Read pile and did not need another. I was just going to look for real, y’all. Yeah, that lasted all of five minutes and it’s all Gretchen Rubin’s fault. I don’t think I was in Chapters for ten minutes before her new book Better Than Before was tucked under my arm.
I have not read what is perhaps her best-known work – The Happiness Project – so the little blurb-like circular announcement on the front saying this was by the same author was not the biggest draw for me. No, it was the subtitle of Better Than Before that proved to be the tipping point for my picking it up off the shelf: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. (Well, that and the 40% off sticker – hardcover books can be expensive, y’all. But I’m sure you know that.) Because I need help with developing good habits with everyday things, like getting my house organized and flossing more often than the two days before and after a dental checkup.
And the clincher in the whole deal was this: Gretchen Rubin does not take a “one size fits all” approach to habit-changing/formation. From the inside flap of the hardcover:
Most important, Rubin reveals the true secret to habit change: first, you must know yourself. When you shape your habits to suit yourself, you can find success—even if you’ve failed before.
I was all “Wha—?” because it can be so easy to assume I’m just not doing something right when the latest “how to” doesn’t lead to spectacular changes in my life. I had never before considered that the methodology simply was not a fit for me and how I’m wired. For example, I need external accountability. Doing something – like running – is hard for me if I focus merely on the benefits for myself. But make me accountable to, say, a running buddy or an upcoming race and I’m regularly lacing up my running shoes.
At present I’m not yet a quarter of the way through the book, and I’m already looking for ways to find solid external motivators to help me finish up on some projects at home – establishing a more regular writing habit among them. I’m also realizing I can help motivate and encourage others in a way better tailored to them.
In a nutshell, you should check out Better Than Before for yourself.