Better Than Before by Gretchen Ruben

As some of you may know, one of my unofficial New Year's goals was to read 50 books this year. We're eleven weeks into the year, and I've read eleven books, so I'm well on my way to hitting that goal. I've been reading a great mix of fiction and non-fiction, and this one, Better Than Before by Gretchen Ruben, has been one of the best ones I've read so far. 

This book is a non-fiction self-help book that talks about habits. How to develop new habits that can benefit our lives, and how to great rid of bad ones. Gretchen explains how everyone falls into one of four categories: upholders, obligers, questioners, and rebels. Upholders love habits and rules, so its not hard for them to stick to something once they start it. Questioners question everything, but once they see the value in a habit, they're able to typically stick to it without many problems. Obligers (me), find it easy to do things for other people, but find it hard to do things for themselves. Making habits is especially hard for them because there is no one to hold them accountable to their actions. The last group, rebels, don't like habits and rules because they don't like people telling them that they should or should not do things. 

The book did an awesome job at diving into each of the four groups and telling how you can overcome the pitfalls with your specific category and how you personally can make habits and stick to them. 

Some things that I have been trying hard to work on for years now are cutting back on sugar, and reading my scriptures daily. Gretchen says in her book that when people want to make a new habit they set drastic goals that they can't stick to. When someone wants to eat less sugar they typically say, "I'm never going to touch a single thing with added sugar ever again", and then a week later (typically only hours for me), they're diving head first into a plate of cupcakes with no plans of stopping until they're all gone. I've tried to kick the sugar habit so many times this way, and have failed every attempt. 

She suggests instead to make obtainable smaller habits that can eventually lead up to bigger and better things. Instead of cutting sugar completely our of my life, I told myself, "I will no longer eat chocolate chips!" This may sound like such a small thing... but when I feel stressed or overwhelmed or anxious,  I usually grab a big handful of chocolate chips, and then wash it down with a big chug of milk (straight from the gallon of course). It's officially been 10 days since the last time that I've eaten a chocolate chip, (which used to happen several times a day), and for the first time I really feel empowered that I've stuck to a habit like this! I'm hoping overtime I can wean myself off of more things, and eventually work up to a sugar free life. 

Another habit I've been working on is reading my scriptures. Derek and I read together every night before bed (because you know, I'm accountable to him #obligers), but my personal scripture study has been terrible the last five years (minus when I was pregnant with Em and read the entire bible in 100 days... still can't believe I did that). I was at a church meeting when one of my friends said, "You just gotta do it", and gave me basically no option in the world except for me to read my scriptures. I'm 18 days in, and have now been reading my scriptures everyday, along with morning prayer which has basically never been a thing in my life (I'm revealing way too much about my lack of spirituality right now I realize, I've just always been more of a nighttime prayer). 

Beyond the habits I was hoping to start, this book just gives you such great advice on life skills, how to keep a cleaner and happier home,  and how to be more productive and set goals for yourself. I really can't get enough of it. Since reading it, I've been trying to apply it's principles in every aspect of my life, and you can ask Derek, I've been 10 times less stressed, and more productive in the last three weeks than I've been in the last year of my life. I feel like this book has truly given me the kick in the pants that I  needed to start becoming the person that I know I can be. 

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my own personal review without compensation from Blogging For Books. All thoughts, opinions, and dirty habits are my own. 


  1. I a will look for this book. With easter coming, sugar is all around. And very yummy I might add. Good thing there are detox diets after Holidays.

  2. I've been looking for a good new book to read! Great post!


  3. I'm going to have to check this out ASAP!

  4. I read "The Happiness Project" a few years back and ,as cheesy as this sounds, it really changed my life. Gretchen Rubin is an amazing author and I am so excited that I have another book of hers to add to the list!
    xx Annie

  5. great post !

  6. You've been reading a book a week?! I'm so impressed! I feel good if I need two books a year. lol. I can't help it if reading makes me sleepy.

  7. This sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

  8. excited to check this one out! glad you enjoyed it!

  9. I read the Happiness Project by her, but now I'll have to check this one out :)