I just finished reading Break The Twitch: a practical guide to minimalism, intentional living & doing more of what matters by Anthony Ongaro and it is the perfect book for anyone looking to make a change in your current habits. I had hoped to finish it right after it came out in December but got caught up in work stuff as I wanted to make sure I could really take time off around Christmas and New Years. Hindsight 20/20, it is probably a good thing I didn’t finish it in December as I would have cringed even more every time a box with specific markings on it arrived at my doorstep before the holidays.
Breaking the Twitch
One of the great things I like about this book is that it really sets the stage early on as the quote below is the first line of the introduction.
People don’t buy products—they buy better versions of themselves.
The book in my mind gets separated into three different parts :
- The introduction of the book is where Anthony talks very specifically about how digging into his Amazon purchasing history he was able to figure out that he was buying so much stuff on a whim. He also briefly dissects some of the purchases he made and his rational prior to the purchases compared to the actual outcome.
- The second part of the book is where he starts to give more detailed examples and ideas to help you the reader identify places in your life where you might be doing things impulsively. Also, how those impulses can create some really strong habits as he found out personally. Finally, he brings up how technology has maybe helped pay a huge role in fostering the habits.
- The final part of the book really brings everything together and talks about strategies to take for breaking bad habits (or Twitches). Additionally, it talks about Minimalism and how that can help play a role in breaking and creating new habits.
Even though the book has the underlying true story of Anthony’s Amazon purchases, what he discovered helps provide specific examples of correcting and uncovering bad habits. So if you are you thinking of changing some of your habits this year, the book lays out some good approaches he took for Breaking the Twitch. As you can tell I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. With that said, most of the stuff in the book isn’t rocket science and the themes of what he is saying most people already know. In my opinion, the value or what sets this book apart is that he does a good job breaking his thoughts down into bits that can be easily tackled.
My Running Story…
Let’s be honest if I said we should run a 5k next month, and you haven’t run for over a year, your head might spin. At the time it would seem like such a hurdle to climb and you might not even know where to start because you’re too focused on the end result and not what could you do TODAY! Or as it is described in the book the Minimal Viable Action.
Minimally Viable Action—the smallest, most immediate step you can take that is doing what you want to do.
For my example, I was that person and a couple of years ago I decided to just go out and run (in the dead of winter at that) with my non-GPS watch, my old pair of running shoes, and whatever other cold weather workout clothes (or layers) I could find. I told myself I would run two blocks but after being out there I made it much further and then the next time I made it farther until having to walk. Each time I made it longer and sometimes faster until eventually it was just a habit and I was feeling healthier and had a good routine. When the month was up I realized I had already ran a 5k and running another one wasn’t going to be an issue.
Some final thoughts…
Reading a book like this helps give you motivation and encouragement as you reflect on yourself. Knowing that you are not alone and others, though on different paths have probably been faced to walk down a similar path.
Remember that simplifying your life and designing a space that aligns with your intentions takes time—as the old adage goes, it is a journey, not a destination.
Anthony Ongaro, Break the Twitch
However, don’t just take my word for it since you can read some of the book before you buy, Anthony has posted the introduction chapter of his book on his site which you can find here.
To learn more about the book and see what others had to say check out Anthony’s book page on the Break the Twitch site here. If you want to see/follow along with more of Anthony’s work you can find him on Twitter @BreakTheTwitch, his website, and or his YouTube channel. I have been following along since 2016, where during my running example above I wrote about the Power of a Habit and linked so some of his older posts which helped motivate me at that time to push through.
What Twitches or habits have you noticed yourself having that you would like changed? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.