What Happy habits is about
I will start a new project. Not to get all Gretchen Rubin on you (have you read The Happiness Project?), but from now on I will form one new habit a month.
Habits are powerful. There are countless books in the self-help section, which titles suggest that forming constructive habits will have a positive impact on your life. People say it takes 30 continuous days of performing a specific behaviour to form a habit. Whether that is true or not, I’m not sure. But I do know that it is a good place to start when you want to adopt a habit.
Some habits I intent to continue well after one month. Other habits I just want to try on, see how they suit me, find out if they make me happy and know how much constructive motion they give to my life. Afterwards I can decide if I want to maintain them or not. But when I do, then it’s way easier because I already formed the habit.
What Happy Habits isn’t about
There are limits to which habits I will blog about. They must connect to my blog’s theme. So no habits about exercising (although I might take that up again in secret), no habits to eat healthier (perhaps about playing with your food though), no habits on using toothpicks daily (I am doing that most days already anyways). It’s not that I wouldn’t want to encourage those habits, but there are plenty of recourses already on such topics going into way more depth than I ever could. Although, when I think about it, how much can you really say about toothpicks? Anyway, my project is about creating habits that help you find inspiration, make the boring routine fun, encourage you to be kind to others and feed your creative soul. Which brings me to my first month’s habit:
Habit 1: Read for half an hour daily.
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read” – Mark Twain
I will read for creative input and inspiration
When I look at successful, creative entrepreneurs, I have found that many of them make time to read. Good writers are always reading. Austin Kleon for example is a notorious reader. I love the 33 thoughts on reading he wrote down, especially the one about not wasting time on finishing books he doesn’t like.
I simply cannot remember who said this or where I read it (
I just wasted half an hour searching the internet), but I remember someone talking about how you can tell the difference between people who read and those who don’t in conversations. People who read always have something interesting to share or talk about, some new insight or fun fact they just learned or general food for thought on topics that normally wouldn’t occupy their mind.
Forming new ideas had everything to do with connecting 2 topics that haven’t been combined yet. So the more you read, the more input and topics you have. It’s like building a huge database of interesting facts or thoughts, which can directly be translated into new ideas.
I will read to grow my expertise.
“I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” – Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
I want to read more. Reading is a way to acquire knowledge. It is a way to learn. It can help on the road to mastery and expertise. As you might recall from my bucket list, I want to read 350 books. Not just any books. The subject should be play, kindness, happiness, creativity or basically anything related to what my blog is about. I think this idea might have been planted in my head by Steve Pavlina, who quotes Brain Tracey by saying it takes 7 years to become an international expert in your chosen field when you read 50 books a year. 350 is a lot of books. So if I want to get serious about reading, forming a habit is necessary.
I realise that reading certainly isn’t the only way to learn. You can learn a lot from hands-on experience and simply by doing. But I do know that reading countless books will help me develop my in-depth knowledge and grow as a person.
I will keep notes on what I read
When I read, I’m always taking notes. I’ve adopted my personal version of ‘The notecard system’, which is basically a way to create your own database of all the relevant lessons and quotes you collected from what you’ve read, organized by alphabetically grouped topics. This makes it easier to keep track of what I’m learning and find back relevant ideas when I want to re-read them.
I already started such a notecard system. Before I travelled, I tried for a short period to form this habit of reading for half an hour every day . But it completely died when I was in Asia. Now that I’m back and settled, I want to pick it up again.
Aah, I’m excited about this challenge! Do you want to read more as well? If so, why not come and join me this month? Also, tell me what book you’re reading right now. I’m curious. Would you recommend it to me?