Wow, what a week. First, before I get into today's reading pick, I just want to say a big thank you to all of you who have bought, read, posted about, and/or reviewed OFF THE CLOCK this week. I appreciate all the book love so much! And I'm thrilled that so many of you are enjoying it! I'm really excited to continue the series, and hearing your thoughts on who you're hoping to see in future books and such really gets me jazzed up. And for those asking, the next book is going to be about...Lane! :) I start on his story next and I can't wait. And if you haven't gotten your copy yet? What are you waiting for? ;)
Okay, so onto today's reading pick. I know that not everyone is a New Year, New Start kind of person. My husband definitely isn't. He thinks it's silly to start something because of a particular point in the calendar. "Just start when you want to start." BUT, I am a person that gets that big sigh of ahh... at the beginning of the year. It's a physical and mental sense of having a fresh start, of renewal, and of all this exciting possibility ahead.
And though this year I thankfully don't have to do the official start-a-diet thing because I've been on the wagon with that since fall and am sticking to it, I do have other goals for the year. The main ones being: Less stress. More intention. More joy.
This last year was a crazy busy one. I said yes to too much and ended up feeling burnt out by October. Writing became a slog, my story was fighting me, I was dreading getting to my desk. That is no bueno. I have my dream job. I don't want to work myself into a rut. I LOVE writing. I don't want to lose the joy of that.
So this year, my main action item is to be much more intentional and structured about my time. I'm going to use my fancy new planner (more on that in another post where I have room to fangirl about my planner. :) ) I am going to block off writing time and turn off the internet during that time. (I need a digital detox in general.) And I'm going to say no to things that will crunch my time too much.
And all of those things require one thing--forming new habits, which is where today's Friday Reads pick comes in. See? I was getting to the point. Eventually. :)
I've been a fan of Gretchen Rubin's work since The Happiness Project. I like her anecdotal and chatty style and how she breaks down big concepts like happiness and, now, habits.
Better than Before is a quick read and will give you insight into how your personality plays into how you form habits. There are Four Tendencies (of personality) that explain a whole lot. You can read more about the four tendencies on her blog. But I've discovered that I'm an Upholder, meaning I respond readily to inner and outer expectations (i.e. I'm a rule follower and stick to my word but also can set internal expectations on myself and keep them.)
For instance, in my job as a writer, I don't need anyone monitoring me or looking over my shoulder to make sure I work. I say that I'm going to write a book and I do. Because that's what I've told myself I'm going to do. However, with the outer expectations thing, this also means that if I'm at a crosswalk with ZERO cars coming, I still won't cross until the sign says, "Walk." It's annoying, but has always been part of my personality. Hubs, on the other hand, is a Questioner (questions outer expectations). So, he's the one to say, "The Walk sign is to protect you only if there are actual cars coming. Cross the street, woman!." Lol. So I'm that girl who wants to do everything just right.
So why is this important for habit formation? Well, being an Upholder means I'm going to be the person who reacts well to detailed to do lists and keeping a planner. I love having a list and knowing exactly what I need to do that day. Plus, checking off a list is fun. I even have gold star stickers for days where I hit my word count. Hey, don't knock Kindergarten-style rewards. Gold stars are the stuff.
There's a lot more in the book about different aspects of your personality and how that fits into habits, so I highly recommend you check it you if you're trying to start some new habits this year.
About the book:
The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, 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 readers 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 counter-intuitive) 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.
BONUS FRIDAY PICK:
In addition to Better Than Before, I've also gone through this workbook this week -- Your Best Year by Lisa Jacobs. This is more geared to those who are running a small business or blog or writers like me. But I found it helpful in setting up goals for the year and for looking back at 2015 and analyzing what worked and what didn't. The link is to the paperback, but you can also go directly to her site and pay for a download and print it out yourself to fill out, which is what I did.
If you haven't gotten your FREE reading journal (especially designed for romance readers) for the new year, be sure to sign up for my updates. The printable journal will come to your inbox after sign up. :) Click the banner at the top or click here to sign up.
So have you set any goals for 2016? Has anyone read either of these?