Today I want to talk about habit shifts, and how to once again get back into a habit you want to cultivate when you veer off course. I’ve written about it before. The reason I keep writing about it is because habit shifts, like taking care of a physical home, take ongoing care and maintenance. Building habits is like taking care of a home, but it’s your person-as-home, your mental space, your human space. And I, like everyone else, need to clean my house on a fairly regular basis. And the habit of re-starting can be challenging. So I asked a good friend and coach for help. Her answer—and the question she shared with me—worked. It worked really well.
One thing that’s come up after publishing my 2017 reading list is how surprised I am (and others are!) that I was able to read 53 books in a year. True story: in 2016, I probably read 10 books, and finished … well, let’s say I read a lot of half books. It’s easy to get distracted by another book. Shiny object syndrome is real, and I found that I had started to skim everything. My obsessive reading of internet articles had made me a bad reader. This was a wake-up call. If I couldn’t finish a book, was I really learning? Here are the habits I changed last year to increase my reading. And also, my rules for how to decide when NOT to read a book.
Every year I do an annual review, and the process teaches me so much. It’s invaluable. Central to my work in studying who we are and why we do what we do is a steady aim of building life-worthy habits. I’m fascinated by my daily, monthly, and yearly habits, and how to continually improve my own performance. I’ve decided to go ahead and (gulp) share it, in entirety. I’m a bit nervous to do so, because when I started writing it, it was just for me. The insights are personal and raw, and it recaps a year that professionally, felt often like a struggle and a challenge. No triumph, no magic wand. There were solid successes: The mastermind program I built went well, and sustained my end of my agreements with my partner. The podcast was a surprise, and a delight. But writing? That was really hard this year. It felt like a failure.