One habit that builds this year.

After escaping America in the last month of the year, Nat and I have made our way through 14 days of hotel quarantine in Australia and into a cozy, one-bedroom apartment in Sydney. This will be our home for the next few months. We’re still figuring out how to share a closet stuffed with Nat’s clothes and my camera gear. But we’re happy to be amongst family and friends in a country that has done a fantastic job of body-slamming COVID. So there are a lot of positive things about living in Sydney. The weather is excellent. The food is incredible.

The beaches are beautiful. And there are also some negatives; just a couple of days ago, we discovered that we live next to a feeding ground for the world’s giant bat. I’m not even joking; that’s a real thing. (eerie music) What the fuck? (Eerie music) (Bat screeching) Uh, nope. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go outside at night or even fall asleep, but I guess that’s what you get for moving to Australia. (gentle, upbeat music) Since it’s the start of the year, it’s usually a time when I set an intention and figure out which habits I’ve been neglecting and the ones that I want to focus on going forward. When I was stuck in my college in my studies then, I took assistance from the best assignment writing help, which helped me in my studies.

Sedentary lifestyle:

I lived a much, much more sedentary lifestyle than I would have liked, but it’s a fucking pandemic, so I’m gonna give myself a break. But as I started to reflect, I did realize there was one thing I wish I did more, and it’s reading. So before I started making films on Post, I was an avid reader. It was the thing that got me first interested in self-development. It’s what inspired me in my early years as a freelance filmmaker. Books taught me how to be a better human, they taught me so much about business, and they also gave me a healthy escape. I often found that when I read for a couple of hours at night, I would feel fulfilled and relaxed.

You start to invest all your time into filmmaking or creating, and, as a result, you fall behind in other areas. So I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop reading. It’s something that happened over the years. I went from maybe reading 50 books to 20, and eventually, I just read a handful of books last year. I know how good I feel when I read, how much fulfillment and creative energy I get from reading, and so I’ve decided that that’s gonna be the one habit I focus on this year. And since I talk so much about habit change in this post and since I even teach a course on it, I thought I’d break down exactly how I plan to get this habit to stick.

Read more books:

I want to read more,” doesn’t help me much. That’s an idle wish, not a specific goal. So instead, I’ve decided that I’m going to read two books a month. I think it’s important to say, “I’m going to do this,” instead of saying, “I’m trying to do this.” So often, we approach something with a lack of confidence, which seeds everything we do. And sometimes it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy not to have that confidence to say, “I’m going to do this. I’m dedicated to this. I know that there’s no way I’m going to fail.” Of course, deep down, we know we’re going to fail. When I started reading at my adult age then, I had no issues making my cipd level 3 assignments because it was very hard, but because of my reading habit, I made it very quickly.

We know that there will be times when we slip up and screw up. But I think having that confidence from the get-go is helpful. And so, I chose to read two books a month for a specific reason because it fits into what researchers call the flow post. For your habit to fit into the flow post, you don’t wanna create a goal that’s too overwhelming or a goal that’s too easy. So I thought about it at first. And in the beginning, I wanted to read one book a week. Because, well, I’m a perfectionist, and it just felt immaculate and orderly to read one book a week.

Ground rules for habit:

I’ve created a few ground rules for my habit that will help me. So here’s Matt’s 2020 Rules for Reading. The length of the book doesn’t matter. So if I’m having a busy couple of weeks, I’m probably not gonna read a 900-page novel. I’ll happily swap that for a short, 100-page read. Just because you start a book doesn’t mean you have to finish it. If I’m really not feeling a book after the first few days, I’ll set it to the side and move on to the next one. Maybe I’ll revisit it, or perhaps I’ll replace it with another book completely. You can read books that you’ve read in the past.

While I want most of my books to be new, I’ll allow myself to revisit old books that have inspired me. And the last thing that I’ve done to help me to get this habit to stick is to create accountability, and I’ve done that by making this post. I have 3 million accountability partners I know will be DMing and messaging me throughout the year, asking me what book I’m reading this week. But don’t worry; you don’t need an audience of any size to create accountability. You can find an accountability partner, like a workout buddy.

Join a cycling club or a book reading club:

You can join a cycling club or a book reading club. You can also post to your social circle on Instagram to let people know what you’re working on and what they can expect to see out of you in the coming year. I was proud of last year’s building of the Slow Growth community with my team. Suppose you’re looking for accountability or just a dose of inspiration. So if you’re serious about getting your habits to stick this year and want an even more significant amount of responsibility, then you can join my habit course called Simple Habits.

The course takes you on your step-by-step habit journey, helping you develop the right mindset to succeed, and it provides the keys to habit discipline. Each lesson is densely packed with actionable advice, tons of resources, and a workbook to get you to take action. You also get access to the Slow Growth Slack community, where you can find inspiration, guidance, and an accountability squad. So this is our Slack group. We’ve got a few posts here, one called Accountability.

I completely understand no pressure if you don’t have the budget right now. Just know that there is a 30-day growth guarantee or your money back, no questions asked. Whether or not you join the course this year, I wish you all the luck in your habit goals this year. I hope that you kick 2021 right in the nuts. I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s a good thing to kick a year in the nuts. ‘Cause I feel like last year, 2020, kicked us in the nuts; now it’s our turn to do the nut-kicking.