You have just purchased a great new personal development book. NY Times Bestseller List. Saw it on your morning television show. Oprah even endorsed it.
But will anything REALLY change in your life after you’ve read it? You really want things to change. You wouldn’t have purchased the book if you didn’t need it. But, how do you do it? They say only 10% of purchasers even get past the first chapter, let alone finish the book.
Are you part of the 90%?
How stocked are your bookshelves or crammed is your Kindle with information you’ve purchased because it’s promised to fix everything in your life? And what’s really changed?
Here are a few tips to help you get more out of that arsenal of personal development in which you’ve invested:
The first step is to get accountable to someone that you will finish the book. This is a very easy step to brush off, but committing to someone else sends a very powerful message to your subconscious mind.
And never underestimate the gift that keeps on giving … guilt! There’s a TON of power in the avoidance of feeling guilty for not completing a task you’ve committed to someone else you would tackle.
Tell your accountability partner when you plan to finish reading the book, and that you will be giving them weekly updates on your progress. More about those weekly progress reports in a minute.
Next, schedule an end date of when you want to internalize the book. Then, work backward. Note the number of chapters and determine the number of chapters you must read to complete the book by your chosen end date. Commit the dates to your calendar tracking system.
Then, for every chapter you read, do two things:
- Write down a Yes or No to the question, “Did I read my chapter today?”
- Write down the most compelling piece of information you gleaned from what you read.
These two pieces of information are going to be what are in the progress reports you give your accountability partner each week.
Once you’ve finished the book, review your progress reports and celebrate your victory with your accountability partner.
Why does this work?
There are a couple of forces at play here. The first is being accountable to someone else. We all want to look good to our friends, so being on the hook to complete the book will definitely get you to extend yourself. You might not be 100%, but you will definitely get much more done than if you didn’t have an accountability partner.
The next force at play is tracking what you are doing. Being intentional with your time is key. You probably spend the bulk of your life on autopilot … just a blur of events that get lost in the past … day after blinking day. Stop that hamster wheel! Work to create a very specific plan of attack and you will have the chance to make course corrections along the way.
This also provides a learning opportunity for your next book-reading project. You’re creating a work history for yourself. You’ll be able to see when you might be pulled off track. You will make mistakes and slip up sometimes. It is only when you have no clue as to when it is happening that you can find yourself behind the eight ball.
Upon completion of the book and reviewing your progress reports, you’ve locked the information in your long-term memory. Now it’s time to put it into action. Follow the exact same system you used to finish the book in the first place.
- Find someone to account for you to implement the new information in your life.
- Set up the days you will work on implementing the system.
- Write down the key thing or things you did to implement the new information on that day.
- Share your progress reports with your accountability partner.
- Celebrate your success and review your progress reports when complete.
If the new information you learned will take a long time to implement, grab a goal planning sheet and break it down into manageable parts. Be sure to set milestones and celebrate on the way.
Now get accountable and get yourself going! Get more bang from your Amazon dollar!