You know, for this being Blanche’s Book Club, I realized I don’t really talk much about my reader friend, Miss Blanche!
For background, Blanche is my rescue kitty, and she just recently turned 5! As a Calico, she is very sassy – and she’s equipped with all of her claws (very sharp) and large teeth. She is quick to attack upon hearing “no.”
At times, our relationship has struggled. Whether she’s waking me up at night or ruining all of my belongings, we’ve fought. Over the holidays, Blanche was pretty sick. She had to go to the vet a few times, eat prescription food, and she had to take lots of medicine (guess who had to give it to her?!).
It was a really rough time. When she doesn’t feel good, I don’t feel good, and I often stayed up during the night petting her and trying to make her comfortable enough to sleep in hopes that rest would help her recovery.
She has been feeling better for almost a month now, and I’m hoping we don’t have anymore episodes of illness. Blanche has been suffering from stress – likely because I have been stressed, so we are both working through it.
I have been making an effort to play with Blanche more, and I’m trying to keep my compulsive cleaning to a minimum. Cats like to feel in control of their environment, and when things change, they get nervous.
But over this past month of her good health, she happily sits beside me as I’m reading – sometimes we sit outside on the patio. The other night, I was on the couch reading, and she was in one of her favorite spots, laying inside of a leather tray that’s sitting on my ottoman. I left to go see a movie, and when I returned three hours later, she was still in the same spot having slept the entire time!
Here’s to hoping I don’t jinx her streak of good health! Anyway, let’s get into the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club: “Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives” by Gretchen Rubin. Here’s the description from Amazon.com:
The author of the blockbuster New York Times best sellers The Happiness Project and Happier at Home tackles the critical question: How do we change?
Gretchen Rubin’s answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives. So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?
Better Than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow listeners to understand their habits – and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better Than Before explains the (sometimes counterintuitive) core principles of habit formation.
Along the way Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions – oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:
- Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
- Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit no matter how hard I try. Why?
- How quickly can I change a habit?
- What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
- How can I help someone else change a habit?
- Why can I keep habits that benefit others but can’t make habits that are just for me?
Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits – even before they’ve finished the book.
This is the third book from Rubin that I’ve read. I absolutely LOVED “The Happiness Project” and half-loved its sequel, “Happier at Home”. I was a little skeptical when I picked this one up, but of course I figured, why not?
In short, this one is good, and it’s pretty interesting. Rubin makes it clear that the same habits don’t work for everyone, and that’s just something we have to understand. I think lots of people do things because other people do – whether it’s a certain diet or workout, perhaps trying to get up earlier or go to bed at a certain time. But just because something works for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.
What matters is to be moving in the right direction.
-Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before
So, this book has a lot of information to help you figure out what works for you. Are you a morning or a night person? A starter or a finisher? A spender or a saver?
Although I don’t really think I have any bad habits (at least, none that I can think of), I know there’s better habits I’d like to pick up.
Toward the end of the book, I was starting to get a little annoyed because I just feel like there’s so much pressure for us to be going somewhere all the time or reaching goals or never resting, and sometimes I want to just BE, and I’m an adult and I do what I want. But even Rubin acknowledges this, as she lets herself drink diet soda and has a habit of chewing on plastic coffee stirrers. Hmm.
This is definitely an insightful book, so if you’re looking to change a few habits or pickup some new ones, this may be the book for you!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.
I hope you all have a great weekend and a fun Easter! See you next week 🙂