Tuesday night I was lucky enough to attend a discussion and signing with writers Gretchen Rubin and Arianna Huffington at the Upper West Side Barnes and Nobel. I originally was drawn to this event because Gretchen Rubin has been one of my favorite authors since I randomly discovered her book, The Happiness Project, at the library almost five years ago. The event was included as part of her tour to promote her new book, Better Than Before.
It was a good thing that I arrived early and was able to grab a second row seat in the center as the room quickly filled! Arriving early gave me time to do some research on Ms. Huffington who, as it turns out, is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post! While this was exciting news, I was still confused as to the connection between these two women.
Once the discussion got underway, I quickly realized why Gretchen and Arianna were paired together. Both are extremely successful, driven women trying to balance it all while striving for happiness – which is a universal desire that everyone can relate to, right? Below I noted some of my favorite points that each author made throughout the evening:
- Gretchen’s new book, Better Than Before, is about habits. We might think we want to make better or healthier choices in life, but in reality, we don’t. We want to create habits – so we don’t even have to think about making the right choice! We just do it.
- Beware of the Finish Line. Training for a race, doing a 30 day challenge, or even giving something up for Lent creates a Finish Line in our minds. Instead, to keep a healthy activity going, think of these things as milestones instead of a destination.
- Some people are “abstainers” – they are either all or nothing. Some people are “moderators” – they can have a couple cookies and not eat the entire box. Knowing what you are will help you make or break habits. Which one are you?
- Repetition alone will not work to make or break our habits unfortunately. Having said that, a solid support team is extremely helpful.
- Gretchen’s number one rule to live by that has shaped who she has become – “Be Gretchen!” (a.k.a. be you!)
- Actions don’t have to be big to form a habit, so don’t let the thought of big changes intimidate you. Small changes can be just as effective!
- Her book, Thrive, includes small actions that will help you do just that – such as get thirty minutes more sleep than you currently do and meditate for five minutes a day.
- Don’t hold on to anything that drains you. Her main example? Grudges.
- Our world has measured success in money and power, but there is a third leg too – well-being. Without this, the success won’t last long.
- Technology can be a great tool, but don’t let it become the master.
- Living a more balanced (and well rested!) life doesn’t mean that we won’t have time to accomplish all of our goals. On the contrary, it makes us more effective human beings capable of achieving them.
- Arianna’s number one rule to live by that has shaped who she has become – “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” (Rumi)
Lastly, an attendee pointed out that Gretchen’s book is about creating and/or breaking habits that work on autopilot, yet Arianna’s book focuses on being mindful and present throughout life. She asked the authors if they thought their books contradicted each other. Both women answered in the negative. People can be in the habit of brushing their teeth or showering before work as Gretchen discusses in Better Than Before, but they can (and should!) still be present in the moment while doing these everyday tasks as Arianna discusses in Thrive.
I really enjoyed listening to and meeting both of these women. It was the perfect motivation for me as I kick off the eight week Tone It Up Bikini Series starting on Monday (more on that coming to the blog later)! As I mentioned, I’m currently only a couple chapters into Better Than Before. While at Barnes and Nobel, I picked up a (now signed!) copy of Thrive which I cannot wait to read. I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts about these two books. Have you read them? If so, what did you think? What other books are you guys planning to read this summer? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay fit and fabulous,