The self-help author on how she responds to expectations, keeps up habits and follows obsessions.

In 1996, Gretchen Rubin was working as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she started to think that a legal career wasn’t for her. For one thing, she enjoyed writing, but she found little satisfaction in the dense, technical jargon of the law. “I was like Scarlett O’Hara, and I said, ‘As God is my witness! I will never write in such a confusing, obfuscatory way,’ ” she says. []

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