I read tons of books.

When people asked me how they could learn to read more, I told them I read X nr of pages a day. When I was 13/14 I actually read 1 book a day. Although it was an unhealthy habit for multiple reasons (I had to repass exams during the holidays to mention one) I learned a lot about creating habits.

When I started to work, I gave myself the limit of 30 pages a day.
When I got kids, this limit became 10 pages a day. A lot less, yet still +3600 pages a year. A lot more then most people I know.

My advice to people these days is to start creating a habit of reading a nr of pages every day, even if it’s only 1 page. 365 pages a year, is one book a year. Better then nothing.

For that I realized lately that there is a better way to create habits. A chain calendar.

This year I participated in a creative initiative, where people are encouraged to create one creative idea per day. (www.eenideeperdag.be )
And every day you did that, is counted. When you don’t publish an idea, the next day you start back at 0.

Such a creativity chain is very addictive. The first few days were very easy for me, I had a lot of creative idea’s. By the end, I felt stuck, yet, the fact that I had already such a long chain, I did not gave up.
In the end I published new idea’s for 64 days in a row (The maximum period.) Not because I am a genius. I could do it, because they have put a great system in place.

While I wrote this post, I realized that I have been using similar systems in most parts of my life.

  • Nr of steps I am talking (on my walking desk)
  • the weekly blogging of my who is serie 
  • my weekly republishing of who is agile
  • I think that Foursquare reward system is also a habit creating system
  • My daily tweets at @Retroflection (I hope you agree that 1264 days in row is a nice chain

What habit have you created to enhance your life?


5 Responses to “Creating new habits: the chain calendar”

  1. On the time we (can) spend on reading, there is a quote from a french writer, Daniel Pennac, I really like: “La question n’est pas de savoir si j’ai le temps de lire ou pas, mais si je m’offre ou non le bonheur d’être lecteur.”

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  4. Smetty says:

    My wife and I started reading books (fiction) together. I read out loud, she listens. Usually on a saturday and/or sunday morning. Advantage: 1) it seems like it’s easier for us to spend we-time on reading than me-time 2) reading together = sharing thoughts, feelings etc. We have read more than 20 books by now and we’re still counting…

  5. yhanoulle says:

    wow, I’m impressed