How I Killed a New ‘Good’ Habit (Almost) — October 11, 2021

How I Killed a New ‘Good’ Habit (Almost)

This summer, I started a new daily Reading Out Loud habit. I started this new habit with two goals in mind: 1) Work on a Positive Mental Attitude; and 2) Practice speaking out loud. Each morning, the first thing I do when I start my workday is to stand up and read a passage out loud from either John C. Maxwell’s, The Maxwell Daily Reader, or Ryan Holiday’s, The Daily Stoic. After 30 days, I had established this new habit and everything was good.

Three months in and I was still going strong. Yes, there were days that I skipped. If I skipped a day, I did not try to make up for the day that I missed. I just picked back up to the present date in the calendar. Then in late September, I noticed that I was starting skip multiple days, and then a week went by and I had not read a single passage.

What went wrong?

1. Instead of sticking to reading one passage a day, I started reading the passages from both books. Then I added a third book.
2. I started taking notes.
3. I removed the books from my desk and put them onto a bookshelf that sits behind and away from me.

What started out as a simple 5-minute task each day, soon began feeling like a chore. Also, when I removed the books from my desk, they became ‘out of sight, out of mind’. To fix things, I put just one of the books back on my desk and I am no longer taking notes. I just spend about 30 seconds reflecting on what the passage means to me and I try to summarize the key points.

This experience has taught me something that I realize I do quite often. I decide to start something new. I have some early success. Then I add too much too quickly and end up killing it completely. In the past, I’ve done this with nutrition, exercise, writing, and even home improvement projects. Hopefully, I will learn from this latest lesson and work to keep things as simple as possible.