Tag Archives: Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin – Better Than Before.

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Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives – Gretchen Rubin (2015 Anchor Canada)

Having already tackled the nature of happiness and how to manifest it in daily living, bestselling author and blogger Gretchen Rubin turns her attention to habit making.  Why do we do the things we do, and how can we replace bad habits with good ones that will make for happier, healthier lives?  Much of it, unsurprisingly, comes down to personality – but although that may be expected, it’s what Rubin has to say about how we look at ourselves and accordingly view the world around us that makes all the difference.  As a bonus, Rubin’s casual writing style once again makes “self-help” interesting and accessible – nothing flaky, stuffy, pretentious, or condescending here.

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Gretchen Rubin – The Happiness Project.

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The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun – Gretchen Rubin (Trade edition 2011, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Toronto)
Who is the best candidate for writing a book about happiness? (a) The person who seemingly has happiness wrapped up with a tidy bow, or (b) the downtrodden person plagued with sorrow and pain?
Surprisingly, it appears that the answer may be (a).
Unlike many other stories of this “I’m turning my life around” ilk, author Gretchen Rubin didn’t have that life or death a-ha! moment or experience some gruelling struggle that inspired her to take a look at herself and create dynamic and definitive change. Nope, Rubin’s life was pretty much what most people strive for, actually: a happy marriage and the blessings of children, great relationships with family and friends, a fabulous career, the freedom to explore her creative passions. So…why does a successful woman like that need a Happiness Project? (Well, other than it makes for great book and blog fodder). 😉

I needed to think about this.  How could I discipline myself to feel grateful for my ordinary day?  How could I set a higher standard for myself as a wife, a mother, a writer, a friend?  How could I let go of everyday annoyances to keep a larger, more transcendent perspective?

Month by month, chapter by chapter, Rubin tackles a list of resolutions: “Boost energy,” “Remember Love,” “Be Serious about Play,” “Make Time for Friends,” and so on. By offering up personal anecdotes and relevant passages from her research about happiness, Rubin inspires the reader to seek out his or her own version of these life guidelines. Even though I haven’t taken up the challenge of the Happiness Project (though I keep asking myself why not?) I found Rubin’s stories fascinating, and her examples connected with me.
Definitely food for thought…and perhaps some positive reaction. Are you up for a Happiness Project of your own?
Check out Rubin’s blog at www.happiness-project.com