My favorite passage in the book is a reprinting of Johnny Cash’s to-do list: “Not smoke. Kiss June. Not kiss anyone else. Cough. Pee. Eat. Not eat too much. Worry. Go see Mama. Practice piano.” I like the list because it contains the seeds of its own undoing. Habits have an eternal appeal because they remove the element of choice. They hold out the promise that in the future we can improve ourselves almost automatically just by moving through our days, like the evolved operating system in the Spike Jonze movie “Her.” But Johnny Cash understands that temptation is not a virus we can remove. His list isn’t linear, it’s circular. He will never turn into June. He will always be Johnny, and every day he will cough, pee and eat. Just as every day he will have to resist the urge to kiss someone else.
~ Hanna Rosin, Book Review of Gretchen Rubin’s “Better Than Before”