June 13, 2024

Back to the Future

 “The only reason a person should exist is to be the best he can be.” Lou Holtz

Years ago, a friend mentioned that he got up early every morning to read for 30 minutes something educational or professional. I did the math; if he did no other reading, he would read 182.5 hours a year.  Ten hours a book equals 18 books a year.

Starting a day in this healthy way could have positive potential benefits.  Shortly afterwards, I began the practice of getting up early for reading (or listening to) something educational every morning for at least half an hour.  (Sport Illustrated, Time and most novels do not count).  In a few months, I had created a habit.  For 20 years or so the routine continued; then it just faded.  While I was enriched   by this ritual, things changed and the pattern was gradually gone.

As 2010 ended, I considered what to resolve for 2011. One official goal stood out: start my day with 30-minutes of reading or listening to something that will enrich my mind and add to my life.   

In recalling how this good habit stopped, I understood my plan needed to include:  

  • ·       Decide each evening what to read the next morning.
  • ·       Be mindful of bedtime.
  • ·       Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual.
  • ·       Don’t check Sports Center scores.
  • ·       Take coffee to my reading chair where my material is laid out.
  • ·       Go public with this goal, which I started December 28, 2010.

John Norcross, co-author of Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward,” notes that successful change takes planning. It is much more than simply specifying a goal —though writing it out purposely is a great first step. Without proper thought and planning a resolution is quickly history.

I’m confident that, by reinitiating this practice, I will enhance the quality of my life and perhaps the lives of those I touch.

 “Pray not for a lighter load but for stronger shoulders.”
 St Augustine.