Last night I enjoyed an evening with my sister-in-laws, Danielle and Jenny, at the book signing of Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen is the author of best seller’s the Happiness Project and Happier at Home. In her newest book, she examines the impact of habits. The evening was hosted by Canadian Living and included a talk by Gretchen and a question and answer session followed by a book signing.
Gretchen shared that as she thought and wrote about happiness she started to focus more and more on habits, developing the 4 tendencies framework including: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels (see link to an online quiz on her website here). While she said that no one group was better than another, the majority of individuals fall into the obliger or questioner category. The important thing is to know yourself, figure out how to make the most of your strengths and to counterbalance the weaknesses. She described habits as”the invisible architecture of everyday life” and said that “if we can change our habits, we can change our lives”.
After an overview of the tendencies, there was a question and answer session. Gretchen was asked about the correlation between her career as a lawyer and transition to being an author. She feels that her professional skills of research and writing have been helpful preparation for being a writer.
A question dealt with ‘falling off the wagon’ and Gretchen described a few of her 21 strategies including the importance of safeguards being in place in anticipation of potential challenges. A couple of strategies included self-compassion and loop-hole spotting. She shared the importance of a habits manifesto (below) and identifying things that make us feel better including having a strategy of loading ourselves with healthy treats.
Gretchen was inspiring and it was an enjoyable evening. I am looking forward to reading Better than Before and rereading the Happier books. Last evening was not the last of her Toronto appearances. She lectured at the Rotman School of Business and I heard an interview on CBC radio during my afternoon commute.