Having read the benefits of book clubs, we sought to start our own last year, mainly to fill time during the restrictions imposed during 2020. However, it didn’t quite work out in the way we hoped, and we fell at the first hurdle. Perhaps it was the choice of book (we opted for fiction), or maybe it was that we were just reading without any clear direction.
In my opinion, we were reading something which didn’t appeal to the whole group. I struggled through it, even opting to listen to it on audio to force myself through it. Some of us finished it, some didn’t, and I’m not sure some even really got started with it.
What we needed was a book that would appeal to all, and most importantly, would have a positive impact upon those that were reading it. As a business book club, it needed to be about more than just having a social read for the fun of it, but where to start?
Fast forward a few months to the New Year and another lockdown to contend with; naturally, energies were low, and we knew that to get through the dark days and uncertainty ahead, we needed to find a way to motivate ourselves.
Introducing Atomic Habits
Following a few months of health issues undoubtedly brought on by the stress of the events of 2020, I knew I had to make a change, but without freedom and the ability to get back to normality, I was unsure where to start. All I knew was that I had to find a way to gain control of the things that were very much within my control.
This was when I stumbled across Atomic Habits. It was supposed to be a Christmas break read, but I just couldn’t find the motivation to open it up. Instead, I made the most of spending quality time with my family and recharging my batteries. But as 2021 started with the same anxious feelings of the previous year, I knew I couldn’t delay it any further.
For me personally, this book has got me through the third lockdown with a sense of accomplishment. It has helped me remove negative habits from my life and replace them with positive, and most importantly, healthy habits. As a result, I’ve not touched alcohol since the New Year, have cooked healthy meals daily and lost over a stone and a half. But most importantly, those changes have found their way into my work life too. I have more energy which results in more ideas, and I can better support my colleagues in their development, something I want to really focus on this year.
Bringing back book club
I found that this book had such an impact in such a short space of time that I gifted it to all my colleagues. But knowing how hard it is to open a book when your head just isn’t in it is the exact reason the book club was reintroduced.
The difference in the book club approach this time was that we all had a clear reason as to why we would benefit from reading it, both individually and as a group, and this was outlined upfront. Parameters were also set for how much of the book needed to be read before the first session, along with a little bit of homework to prepare for in advance of the session. Everyone was given ample time so that no excuses could be made for not being prepared.
The day of the book club
As we’ve not been physically together since December 2020, we opted for a virtual team lunch. We allowed ourselves a good couple of hours to discuss our thoughts on the book and our learnings, most notably what bad habits had it brought to light and what positive ones we planned to bring into our lives.
What stood out was how deep down we are all dealing with the same challenges and frustrations, but in different ways, and most importantly, the way they impact us is shaped by the habits we adopt every day. This session allowed us to have an open, honest and frank conversation about how we navigate those challenges and the habits we need to put in place or overcome to move forward and live our best lives.
Also, for consideration was how we’re constantly encouraged to set goals across all aspects of our lives. Still, we often don’t spend enough time considering the systems we need to put in place (also known as what we do) to achieve our desired outcome.
Commenting on the session, Account Director Ellis Noble said, “I have always been quite hesitant to read self help motivational books because of the connotations of cheesy American gurus like Tony Robbins, but Atomic Habits has really helped me reshape my mindset about habits. Reading the book has already helped me change my language when talking about myself, and think about positive affirmations to help me change my bad habits into good ones.”
As the saying goes, nothing changes if nothing changes, so as the session came to a close, we each shared a negative and positive habit we planned to work on over the coming weeks for us to reflect on in our next session. We’ll also be delving deeper into the book before considering our next read.
So, if you’ve already read Atomic Habits, let us know your recommendations by tweeting us @kccomms.