How did I go? I read 36 books during this period of time. I think that’s not bad progress and hope to keep that up for the rest of the year. I want to share my learnings during this process and my techniques that kept me motivated.
What did I learn?
I chose to read non-fiction books hoping to learn something new. I have been reading a variety of genres from leadership to science to biography. Here are my top 3 books so far this year and what they have taught me.
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins taught me the importance of mental strength and how I can push past my limit to achieve more
Radical Candor by Kim Scott taught me how to be better for my team at work and cultivate an environment that people want to work in
Deep Work by Cal Newport taught me how to focus deeply and helped me with getting things done
I have been choosing books to read based on situations that I want to improve in my life. I hope to learn something new that I can put it into practice every time I read a book. It has been quite rewarding so far to see that I can make a positive change based on something that I just read about. I believe that was essential for me to maintain my habit. However that alone was not nearly enough to maintain this new habit, so now let’s talk about the techniques I have used to help me stick with this resolution.
How did I do it?
I approached this goal on two levels, the personal level and the day to day practical level. On a personal level, my resolution was to become a reader. Not just someone who reads occasionally, but someone who is eager to read, to learn and to improve. I believe this is much more powerful than setting the goal by the number of books or pages. While the action of reading is the same, the motivation is fundamentally different. By wanting to become a reader, I choose to read because that’s who I want to be, rather than reading because that’s something I want to do. And every time I read, I am reinforcing that identify and it creates a virtuous cycle that encourages me to read more.
On the practical level, I set myself the goal of reading at least 30 minutes a day. Here are the reasons why I chose that as a goal,
Measurable — Setting aside 30 minutes is all I need to do and I can easily measure my progress
Achievable — 30 minutes is not a significant time commitment and there is no reason why I can’t do that
Easy to restart — When inevitably I fail to keep up, I can start again tomorrow with a clean slate
No Upper limit — I can read more than 30 minutes if I have the time and it feels good because I am exceeding my target
The way I framed my goal set me up for success and I believe that helped me maintain momentum throughout this time period.
In addition to setting an achievable goal, I also used different techniques to help me along the way.
I track my reading using an app like Goodreads so I have an objective view of my progress
I share my goal with my friends to keep me accountable