Much like everyone else in 2020 I also watched the Tiger King on Netflix, but unlike many other years, in 2020 I was able to read some books. Quite a few books actually. Whilst many of my friends read constantly I have always found more challenging to take the free time to read, usually if I’m on a kayaking trip with a lot of travel time I can get some reading in but it never came naturally. However in 2020 I implemented a new strategy to try and get myself to read more books. It’s a pretty simple strategy so I’d love to share it with you, it starts off with just 10 minutes today. 10 minutes is not that much time is easy to find it’s easy to make 10 minutes it’s easy to watch 10 minutes less of YouTube, it’s easy to wake up 10 minutes earlier. So every day I would set a timer for 10 minutes and read 10 minutes of whatever book I was reading at that time. Overtime I gradually increase this amount and currently I am up to periods of 30 minutes daily. Sometimes more. Through this gradual daily chipping away method I was actually able to get quite a few books read this year.
Which brings me on nicely to the best book I read in 2020. "Atomic habits" by James Clear. I had actually heard of it a few different times on various podcasts and the final straw which took me over the edge to read it was being recommended by Flow Motion Aerials drone pilot (the guy who shot that incredible drone shot of Dane’s first D in Chile late 2019) Rapheal Boudreault-Simard whilst I was recording an episode of my podcast with him (check out Question You Never Thought to ask: The WhiteWater kayaking podcast #29 everywhere podcasts can be found). The book is all about the science of building good habits and breaking bad habits. It’s a quick read, it’s laid out in a format with good chapter review and each chapter builds on the last.
My favourite chapter was probably on environment design to help good habits and break bad. For example if I’m planning to workout in the morning I’ll put out my workout clothes the night before. If that is still not enough of a nudge I’ll put those workout clothes at my bedroom door so I have to step over them to ignore them, making them more difficult to ignore.
You can use the same idea in reverse to break a bad habit. We now keep the unhealthy snacks in my house behind a bunch of healthier food choices.
I had more takeaways from this book than any other I read in 2020 and I actually gifted a copy to my sister for Christmas.
If you only read one book in 2021 and you only read it 5 mins per day Atomic Habits by James Clear is the one I recommend.
What book would you recommend I read this year?