Okay, maybe not “disaster.” But definitely failure, and now I’ve got to process that and bounce back. Come along for the ride with me!
For my August Edition of NMR, I resolved to read for an uninterrupted hour every day. In the interest of full disclosure and honesty, that definitely didn’t happen. Time for a really honest assessment of why. Here are my thoughts:
- I didn’t make it enough of a priority. At the core, that’s the secret recipe for failure. It was something I wanted to do, and believe is important in a long-term sense, but in the short term there was always something “more important.” That’s not all idle excuse – I have a family with 3 young kids and I work a lot to support that family. But still, Big Rock theory is correct.
- I think the goal was poorly framed. An hour of uninterrupted anything isn’t often on the table for me. These blog entries usually take between 15 and 30 minutes for me to write, my workout routine is several 20-minute bursts throughout the day, etc.
- I didn’t lower the relative opportunity cost of reading enough. Choice Architecture is a real thing (and also really fascinating – have fun with that rabbit hole!). Even Apu knows it! I didn’t do enough to put reading in the forefront.
- I didn’t make room for it. I have some smaller distractions that I definitely need to remove in order to free up more time and mental space for reading things of value.
Okay, so I’ve written a ton about bouncing back from failure (so frequently, in fact, that I couldn’t pick just one specific link to embed here – so here are three). Time to tackle this one! I’m going to make September’s resolution an upgrade of August’s. I want to read more. What do I plan to do to learn from August’s setbacks and recover?
- More commitment. I’ve added an actual daily reminder on my calendar with an alarm to poke me. I’m informing my family that they should kick me in the shins if I don’t.
- Re-frame the goal. An hour was too ambitious, and I can be honest about that. I’m changing it to 30 minutes. My prediction is that once I overcome the static friction and get a little momentum, the time will increase on its own. But I can handle a 30-minute commitment easier than a 60-minute one.
- It’s a small move, but right now my Kindle is in my office, but that’s where I’m least likely to read. I work there. Instead, I’m putting it in the living room next to the kids’ bookshelf. That will give me more ability to overlap my reading time with other things and make me more likely to just see my Kindle and pick it up when I’m not super focused on some other work-related task.
- I’ve moved the social media app icons off the home screen of my phone, and put them in a folder called “Read Instead.” It’s a small move, but I think an impactful one.
And lastly, I’m all ears for reader suggestions as to how to carve out more reading time! But I guarantee September’s resolution will be more successful than August’s – how could it not be?