So how do you follow up a project like that? Rubin decided to tackle another element of happiness: how to change habits that don’t serve you well and how to develop habits that help you achieve your goals. According to Rubin’s husband, her earlier books tried to answer the question “How do I become happier?” but her new title, Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, answers the question “No, seriously, how do I become happier?”
In her new book, Rubin explores the nature of habit and challenges some basic psychotherapy principles to propose that, rather than awareness and insight, many people just need more external motivation to make the changes they need in their lives. In the following conversation, she focuses on what she considers limitations of psychotherapy as a road map for change.
RH: How did you come to be interested in happiness research? Were you looking for a way out of your own depression?
Rubin: No, I wasn’t. In fact, I distinguish between happiness, ordinary unhappiness, and depression, because I believe that depression is its own category, in need of…