Book Report: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin



Book Report:  Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin


In this episode 004, it’s time for our Book Report for this month.  Jenny and I discuss the book Better Than Before by my online pretend best friend Gretchen Rubin.  If you want to know how to create new healthy habits or kick some bad habits, this book is key.  Better Than Before is essentially our habits bible and you’ll get a glimpse into why in this episode.


Tune in and Listen Below


What You’ll Hear (and don’t want to miss!)


1:27:  A review of how Peggy has been doing with the monthly challenge of making her bed, flossing her teeth and drinking more water.  The drinking of water is still a bit of a challenge.

3:30: What Are You Diggin Lately?:  Jenny is diggin the Netflix series Queer Eye which fits into our Improvement Project vibe.   Peggy shares her experience getting new head shots for her website.

8:13: Book Report:  Jenny and I discuss the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and answer some questions about the book that Gretchen includes in the book for book clubs or groups that want to dig into habits a bit more.  She’s so great 🙂 

Here are the questions we answer:

9:12:  1) If you could magically, effortlessly change a few habits, which habits would you pick? Why?

10:30: 2) Unlike most habit-formation experts, Gretchen Rubin emphasizes that the most important step in changing a habit is to know yourself. Do you agree? Did reading Better Than Before allow you to see yourself more clearly?

12:57: 3) Are you an Upholder, a Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel? Did the Four Tendencies help you gain a better understanding of your patterns of habit-formation?  Before we answer this question, we go through the details of each tendency so that you can get a better idea of where you may fit in.

17:54: 4) What steps might you take to strengthen your Foundation?  We discuss the habits of sleep, eat and drink, move and declutter.  We get into a little more about the decluttering game called the MinsGame.

21:22: 5) Have you ever found it easier to form a habit (for good or bad) when you were starting something new—when you were taking the first steps, when you had a clean slate?

23:16 6) Have you ever been hit by a Lightning Bolt, so that that your habits changed overnight? What form did it take? Were you surprised by how quickly your habits altered?

25:03 7) Rubin argues that for many people, abstaining is easier than being moderate—which strikes some people as counter-intuitive. Are you an Abstainer, Moderator, or neither?

25:35 8) Convenience and Inconvenience are two of the most familiar and powerful strategies for habit-formation. How have you used convenience or inconvenience to shape your habits?

 27:44 9) In reading the chapter on Loophole-Spotting, did any category sound particularly familiar? What forms do your loopholes take?

30:42 10) What are some of your treats—both healthy and unhealthy?

32:12 11) People exert enormous influence over each other’s habits. Have you ever picked up a habit from someone else?

33:59 12) If you could change a habit of someone close to you, what habit would you choose? Can you think of ways to help that person change a habit?

35:55: You Win or You Learn: Peggy’s win this week is about overcoming challenges associated with the website and Jenny’s learn relates to her morning routine. 


Resources + Links Mentioned in This Episode:


Right click here and save as to download this episode to your computer

Recipe for Turmeric Lemon Ginger Water

Netflix Series Queer Eye

My photographer Paula Tizzard’s website

Book: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Book: The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Decluttering Game:   The MinsGame

Podcast: The Minimalists


Key Quotes:


While discussing the MinsGame: “I know that this is something that is basically what Jenny likes to do for fun every day of the year” -Peggy

Jenny replied with:  “What ever is the opposite condition of a hoarder is the problem that I have”

When discussing the lightning bolt way of taking on new habits: “I tend to take awhile to get used to the idea of taking on new habits.  I start first with thinking about thinking about it, and then I move on to just thinking about it and then after that I get after it.” -Peggy 

While discussing the strategy of inconvenience: “We have a pantry where we store our food.  I put everything that I don’t want to eat on the top shelf because I’m 5′ 2″.  I do not keep a stool in the pantry because I know that everything that is a bad idea is on the top shelf.  It’s also a great way to see a short person hopping for treats” – Jenny

“If you want to change the people around you, change the people around you” . -Jenny quoting the Minimalists


Share your thoughts… We’d love to hear from you!


What was your biggest takeaway or insight from this episode? Leave us a comment or just come and say ‘Hi’ on the socials.  I’m on Instagram and Twitter and Jenny is on Twitter.  You can always get our attention by using the hashtag #TheImprovementProject

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The Improvement Project podcast is hosted by Dr. Peggy Malone and Jenny Couse.  Peggy is a health care provider who encourages her patients every day to create better habits associated with their health and wellness.  She is wife to John and mom to fur baby Calvin the fat orange cat.  Dr. Peggy is also a human being on a mission to create better habits for herself and by doing so, she hopes to inspire others to take up the challenge with her!  Jenny is a marketing professional in the international trade sector.  She and her husband Jeff are parents to hilarious 5 year old Ethan.  Her year of monthly habit resolutions in 2015 piqued her interests in how habits are created and best kept.

Join them weekly to explore how to create healthy habits that stick on the journey to becoming better humans!



Until next time,


Let’s get to work on improving your most important project.  That’s YOU!  Stay focused and get after it!

Thank you so much for listening.

Big Love,

Peggy and Jenny