On my quest for personal development, I am working my way through those staple books that if you haven’t read for yourself, you’ve probably at least heard about at some point or another (or maybe seen it on a friend or family member’s bookshelf). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey has been sitting in my “to be read” list for quite some time. I started reading it on my solo trip to Wakayama at the end of April. I planned to treat it like any book- read it cover to cover and maybe come back to it later if it lived up to the hype. But as I read it, Covey encourages the reader to read more thoroughly and thoughtfully, as if we would be teaching others about what we read. He encourages going back to sections, revisiting and rereading. Normally when author’s do this I sort of take it with a grain of salt and forge ahead. But perhaps it was my mindset at this particular moment with this particular book, but I decided to heed his advice and took it one step further. Rather than flying through the book, not really absorbing all the information that I admittedly often do when reading any kind of book, I decided to heed his advice and read this one very intentionally. Here’s how I plan to do that:
Seven Habits, Seven Months
I started reading the book at the end of April. Since there were 8 months left in the year, I plan to use one month to focus on one habit. The final month I will spend bringing it all together. In using a full month to focus on a habit I can find ways to incorporate it meaningfully in my everyday life. There is the added bonus that habits have been found to take 21-30 days to actually make habits! So it seemed like a perfect way to really try to develop these qualities and make them personal habits.
Read a little bit about a Habit everyday
So, each month gets a habit. May is Habit 1, June gets Habit 2, July Habit 3, and so on. Everyday, as part of my Miracle Morning routine, I read a little bit of that chapter/habit. I will note that I don’t do a lot of reading as part of my Miracle Morning- I usually only spend about 5 minutes on it because I read pretty regularly at night. So, it seems to be just about enough to make it through a month. If I finish re-reading before the month is over, I’ll just go back to particular sections that resonated with me and re-read those.
Make it one of my monthly goals
In my Bullet Journal, I have started using the first page of a new month to write down my goals for the month. Just the exercise of writing down goals for the month and having them in a place that I’ll see at least a few times a week is really helping me focus in on them. So in my goals I write down the habit of the month I’m working on. Having this keeps them in sight and in mind, which increases their presence in my mind and has increased my ability to think about it regularly and use the habits mindfully.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m reading about it every day, or because it’s the first thing I see in my month via my bullet journal (or a likely combination of the two), but it has allowed me to be more cognizant of the habit and how it is (or isn’t) playing out in my daily life. I try to spend some time each day (currently random and unscheduled) to think about how I can live the habit out more effectively in my life, or think about times I haven’t and how I can move forward from past mistakes with this new awareness. Whether it’s on my walk to work, during a shower, on a run or before I drift off to sleep, I’m keeping it tucked in my mind ready to access so that I can find ways that make sense for me to put into practice.
Each month, I’ll be writing about the previous month and habit. If there’s something that was particularly useful for me that I did to live out the habit, any hacks I used in my planning to help me stay on track, things that stood out for me in my reading, I plan to share that in a monthly recap. I’ve already completed one month, so I’ll be filling you all in on how that went soon!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my little project. Have you read Steven Covey’s book? Are there any personal development practices you’ve adapted into your routines and how have you done it? Everyone’s personal development journeys are different and I love to see what other people are doing to improve themselves. Leave a comment and let me know!
Thanks so much for stopping by. Get home safe!