Better Than Before

Better than BeforeI have been a fan of Gretchen Rubin ever since her bestseller The Happiness Project. One of the things we have in common is that clearing clutter and organizing makes us both happy!

I listened to her new audiobook — Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives — as soon as humanly possible after it was released last week.

Now I need to sit down and read it again — my hard copy just arrived in the mail — with highlighter, Post-its, notepad and pen in hand to capture the wisdom specific to me and to my clients. After all, at its heart, getting and staying Organized For Life is all about identifying and changing old habits and forming new ones. Right?

gretchen rubin four tendencies

The Four Tendencies

Although there are many useful habit-changing strategies presented, the book is not a magic bullet. The premise is that the better you know yourself the easier it becomes to choose strategies that will work for YOU. For starters, do you tend to be an Upholder, a Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel? Once you know, it all becomes clear – why certain strategies have not worked for you in the past, and what you might consider trying next. (I’m a definite Questioner, with a Rebel streak and a touch of Upholder. Click here to take the Four Tendencies Quiz!)

I really identified with the discussion about rewards…and now I know why they don’t work for me. Here is my blog post from 2012 exploring this topic: Does Progress Equal Happiness? And here its Gretchen’s video explanation of Why Rewarding Yourself May Be a Bad Idea For Habits.

Better Than Before sprinkles in some of the Secrets of Adulthood, and other tidbits of wisdom, from The Happiness Project. So, if you haven’t read it yet it’s not a prerequisite. But it you like one of her books, you’ll probably want to read the others too!

Better Than Before will not tell you which habits YOU need to change, or specifically how to do it. But it will definitely point you in the right direction for identifying and creating your own new habits. Things won’t be (can’t ever be) perfect, but they will surely be Better Than Before!

Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Seana Turner on March 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I’m thinking this book might be a good addition to our NAPO-CT library. I’m going to forward this to our librarian. Thanks for sharing – this makes perfect sense to me!!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      You won’t be sorry if you get it for your library!

  2. Sarah Soboleski on March 28, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Great review, Hazel! And I second that thought, Seana, as a fellow NAPO-CT member! Our book club read The Happiness Project last year and loved it, so I bet this will be a winner. My dominant tendency is Upholder.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 28, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      I suspect that a lot of professional organizers are Upholders. Hmmm…you’ve given me a great idea for a POINT survey!

  3. Janet Barclay on March 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I just read The Happiness Project recently (here’s my review) so I’ve been curious about her Gretchen Rubin’s new book. It sounds good!

    I took the quiz, and my dominant tendency is Obliger. That explains why I do so much better with an accountability partner!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 28, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Indeed it does! And the fact that I am not an Obliger explains a lot too!

      • Janet Barclay on April 1, 2015 at 11:53 am

        You’re lucky – it can be very challenging when you resist your inner expectations!

        • Hazel Thornton on April 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm

          Well, yes, but sometimes I resist both inner and outer expectations — my Rebel streak — which pretty much gets me nowhere!

  4. Alice Price on March 28, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I am a questioner – no surprise there!

  5. lucy kelly on March 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Questioner over here!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      In the book she wrote (well, I listened, and she narrated, so she said): If you are a Questioner you are probably questioning the validity of this quiz. LOL!

  6. Sabrina Q. on March 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Great post! Thanks for reviewing this book. I took the survey and it’s pretty much spot on with how I am. I think I may need to buy it. 🙂

    • Hazel Thornton on March 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      I’m surveying POs….do you mind letting us know what category you’re in, Sabrina? You won’t be sorry if you buy the book!

  7. Stacey Agin Murray on March 28, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I’m an Upholder! Thanks for sharing your review and posting a link to the Four Tendencies quiz. It was fascinating.

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