December 25, 2018 » 3 min read
If you are anything like me, you have this huge amount of motivation at the end of each year. You set yourself amazing goals for the new year. And it all works in the first half of January... but come February, it is all forgotten and you are back in your same old daily routine.
At the end of 2018, I was lucky to join The Startup Book Club and as part of that group I got to read Atomic Habits.
First of all, this book is really short. It took me three days or so to finish, so even if you don't get any mind blowing insights out of it, it's not going to waste a lot of your time. It's also written in super easy and accessible language.
Secondly, it is very hands-on. Every chapter presents you with a nice little anecdote, sometimes even about some scientific experiment and then has a call to action. Each chapter builds on top of the previous ones, so at all times you know what the author is trying to get at.
At the end of the book, you will have a little framework for how to get rid of bad habits and how to get into good habits and all you need is a notebook and a few hours of time to bend that framework to support your own life and your own goals.
Everything is this book is incredibly simple and almost common sense and in the end, this framework will not turn you into a superhuman - you still have to exercise self-discipline yourself. For example, I have overloaded myself with tons of new habits that I want to hammer into my life and now, one month later, I can see how I am failing and some of them. Usually I would just give up and tell myself that "I'm just not that kind of person" and go on with life. Now I know that I have this book and this framework, so I can sit down, analyse why some of my desired new habits are not working out and then take corrective action.
I also found one trick in this book quite remarkable: It is not so much about the goal that you set for yourself (i.e. manage to read 20 books per year). It is also not about the systems that you set in place (i.e. buy a Kindle, place it next to your bed, make sure you read every day). It is all about the identity that you envision for yourself (i.e. "I am an avid reader"). If you manage to make yourself believe that this is going to be your future identity and that there will be some benefits waiting for you if you really become that identity, then you will have a lot more intrinsic motivation to use your systems and meet your goals.
My whole life I always just set goals for myself, and then I made sure to meet those goals. This was wrong. Now I need to create new identities for myself and that forces me to think a lot harder about my future, my environment and myself.
I like that. This book really has potential to make a positive impact on anyone's life with relatively little effort.
I would recommend this to anyone, especially while your New Year's Resolutions are still fresh ;)