Recently I’ve been on a full on reading binge. My reading ranges from historical autobiographies of useless celebrities to in-depth examinations of business ethics and national energy systems. I swear if it sounds like I might learn something or be entertained I’m down to read.
I recently re-read Shoe Dog it was a combination of my favorite activities running and business. The read was pleasant and that sent me to the business books section for my next reading adventure.
This time, I picked up The Power of Habit. (side note for those of you thinking wow you have a ton of time to read…I should point out I have a 45 minute commute to work..I listen to a lot of books while I drive and workout)
Some of the topics in this book especially the marketing/advertising stuff felt old to me because so much of my life has been spent researching that I knew some of these stories as soon as they were mentioned. Plus this book is a little older so I’m sure these topics have now been rehashed in other settings.
I have to say though it’s really given me some time to stop and think about the way and why of how I do things. Most interesting to me was testing of willpower.
I recently read an article about Ivanka Trump talking about the fact that she can easily suffer from decision fatigue. Which at first sounds ludicrous but the more I read the more I realized I might be fighting similar battles. Trump went on to say with her kids their morning routine is buttoned up. They have two options each morning for breakfast and clothing. Other decisions that need to be made are decided upon for the entire week. Since in her position she makes decisions all day long it’s one way to not get overwhelmed.
Coupled with my new habit book findings, it made me look more closely at our mornings and habits. Three days a week, I wake up before 5am to workout. On those mornings because I know I’ll be short on time when I return home. Because of that I have already picked out my clothes, the boys clothes and breakfast. It’s 3 less decisions I have to make before leaving for work and it saves time. I set the coffee pot to brew at 6am and pre-pack the kids lunches, it’s the only way we get out the door on time. Monday, Wednesday and Friday that’s the system. I have purposely set up habits which cause less decisions to be made. I get to work and I feel more centered. My workout is done, and I’ve arrived to work without having yet having to make a single decision about my day leaving my mind ready and prepped to make decisions. (The workout helps too!)
Look at that! I have good habits….let’s be honest though life is messy and sometimes these habits breakdown and I yell at my kids and we all fight and mumble all the way to the car before I leave for work. On these mornings my brain has already rationalized and made decisions for the entire day, I’m stressed and frustrated and a million other emotions all before 7am. I hate those mornings and my whole day is off. Work is a struggle and if my plan was an evening workout I will struggle through that as well. I also find on those days I’m less concerned with what I’m eating. It’s almost like I don’t have the mental capacity to fight to make a healthy meal and would much rather enjoy the ease of takeout.
The Power of Habit book talks about all of these topics as they apply to work and business but the truth is I see completely how they spill into my own life. Willpower they’ve shown is a muscle that must be flexed in order to grow. And for the past few months I haven’t been flexing much of it. The book draws parallels to how habits and recreating habits can positively affect all aspects of business systems and lives.
As I’m reading through this book I’ve been slowly remembering old habits that I used to have. I used to wake up every weekend before the sun to get in at least one workout before the madness of the day set it. I haven’t been a weekend warrior in months…so I rejoined the gym close to me and for the past two weeks I’ve made 7am workouts a weekend priority. It is possible to relearn good habits. I’ve also flexed my willpower which was rewarding after so long of just giving into eating whatever because it was easier. I put myself first and planned for healthier meals and snacks.
I have no idea if my new morning routines have been working because work has been busy and we’ve been dealing with some medical issues for my son but I don’t feel as anxious as I have in the past about them. They aren’t habit but they aren’t exactly new either. So the jury is still out on if those new patterns are causing good habits…. I’m probably just to busy to notice better or worse.
I love books that can give you a fresh perspective and make you think about the reasons you do things. I also love books that allow me to use them for both work and fitness. Causing good habit overtime will lead to habits becoming the way we approach each situation. I also found the chapter discussing how AA works based on the power of belief to be oddly inspiring. Sometimes you just have to believe in your goals even when no one else will.
I realize right now I must sound like I drank the crazy kool-aid but alas I promise no Jonestown for me. The book as with most life philosophies have some holes. But as a whole I really enjoyed this book. It gave me things to work on in my own life and fitness plans, which right now I’m looking for. Getting back on the horse is a tough ride, so books like this help get the feelings and thoughts flowing.
This is sort of long post without much direction but it’s how I’m feeling currently and if something inspires me to do better my hope is you will find it useful as well.
Question of the Day: Have you read any great books lately?