About this project
Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change
This is for anyone who has struggled.
Anyone who has gone through loss, who is struggling with a major life change, who is frustrated.
Anyone who, like me, has struggled to make changes in their lives. I was stuck there 9 years ago, and I'd lost hope. Then I scraped and dug my way out of it, and I am proof that change is possible.
This book will help you make any change:
- Eating healthy
- Getting out of debt
- Overcoming procrastination
- Losing weight
- Dealing with frustrations & stress
- Improving relationships
- Simplifying & decluttering
- Meditating and being mindful
- Dealing with major life changes
- And much more
This book starts about being about habit change, but it's much more ... it's about how to live, and how to master the process of change. It's about dealing with major life changes, and small frustrating ones too.
In the process of creating a small change in your life, by following the steps in this book ... you'll start to develop core Zen skills I've learned from my studies, to find peace, contentment, and the ability to adjust to situations as they change.
In practicing these skills, you begin to truly understand them. And in understanding these skills, you'll start to overcome your struggles.
This is a volume of condensed learning about the process of change, and the nature of our minds. And a how-to on how to change your habits and overcome procrastination.
It started with my struggle with change — in 2005, I was an overweight, sedentary, broke, deeply-in-debt, junk-food-eating smoker surrounded by clutter and no time for my wife or kids. I was stuck, desperate, overwhelmed, with no idea how to get out.
But then I learned the principles of change, by doing a ton of research, studying those who were successful at change, and making some small changes. One at a time. Through these experiments, I learned things that help with any change.
Over the next few years, I changed everything ... one step at a time:
- Quit smoking
- Started running, ran several marathons & a 50-mile ultramarathon
- Started eating healthier, eventually became vegan
- Lost 60 lbs.
- Simplified and got rid of clutter
- Got out of debt
- Started a successful blog, quit my day job
- Overcame procrastination, wrote numerous books
- Found time for my health, family, writing, reading
- And much more
Since then I've helped tens of thousands of struggling people change their lives through habit change. I've learned what works, and what doesn't, and honed my habit method.
The Heart of Any Problem
Going deeper than the mechanics of habit change, this book will teach you how to get at the heart of any problem you face in life. Any struggle you're facing: procrastination, unhappiness with ourselves, anger with others, stress and worry, dealing with loss or illness.
What is the heart of any struggle? It's attachment to our ideals. Attachment to comfort and the way we'd like things, attachment to how we think people should act, how we should act, how things should go.
We all face this problem, and we can't avoid having ideals. These ideals can be useful, but when we become too tightly attached to them, we create problems for ourselves: frustration, irritation, anger, disappointment, stress, worry.
This stops us from making habit changes, and makes dealing with other people and major changes in our lives much more difficult.
By getting to the heart of your struggles, you will find the way to overcome them.
Change yourself, change the world
When you back this project, it's not just to get a copy of my book. I'd like you to be a part of a movement, and backing this says that you think this is a worthy movement.
What movement? My hope is that this book will help you change your life — to help you change habits, become more focused, procrastinate less, and find peace.
And if you can change yourself, you've changed a small part of the world.
By changing ourselves, we become the example of change for others around us.
We become inspiration for further change, and that spreads into the world.
My deepest wish is for you to use this book and create change in yourself, and everyone around you.
If this happens, we've succeeded.
As I wrote this book, I tested it out on a small group of alpha testers who implemented it and gave me feedback. I called them the Change Labs group, and they were instrumental in shaping this book.
"Leo has distilled a ton of actionable wisdom into the Zen Habits book and I couldn't recommend it enough. Change Labs, a program to alpha test the tools and processes in the book, was one of the most memorable things I've done this year and I can't wait to read it!"
"The Change Labs concept has brought fundamental changes to my life. I struggled with severe procrastination in my illustration work which I can say I have overcome during this year. Working both on the fundamentals (underlying fears) both on habits (making 20 min drawing an everyday priority) have lifted me to a different level. I have just finished a 240 page children's story book in a quality and time frame I never dreamed I was able to. This was a great proof for me.
"I also love the simplicity of his concepts. No bullshit, just pure inspiration and actions."
- Cecilia Simonyi
"Working with Leo challenged some deeply rooted beliefs about how to lead a fulfilling life.
"It was like having a eureka moment; a paradigm shift occurred.
"You come out with new ways of thinking and a new arsenal of tools to deal with difficulties."
- Kavi Thancanamootoo
"Learning new habits with Leo was the best thing that happened to me in a very long time. Life changer. Forever grateful Leo ..."
Where the Money Will Go
I'm asking for $44,700, which will pay for:
- An editor ($1,200)
- Book designer ($5,000)
- Printing ($7,000)
- Shipping ($3,500)
- Kickstarter/Amazon payments fee ($4,000)
Publishing project manager ($5,000)
- Website, ebook, video production ($6,000)
- International shipping additional cost $2,000
- Leo's salary $7,000
- Taxes: $4,000
Note: the above positions are already filled.
In addition, there might be a few possible additional printing costs and unexpected costs, so I'd love a little padding on our budget.
(Edited: I added international shipping costs, a small salary for myself, and other production costs that weren't initially included, and removed the cost of an event, which I'll pay for from my salary.)
Stretch funding goal
I'd love it if we could go over the $45,000 minimum goal. If you guys can help me get to a higher funding figure, this will allow me to:
- Print a 2nd, less-limited edition to sell on Amazon and elsewhere
- Get paid (a little more) for some of my own time
- See that this is a viable model for publishing future books
- Show the world that this topic is important
So don't stop helping this project if we hit the minimum!
BONUS: If we get to higher than the goal, I promise to start making videos to send out to all backers — videos about my writing routine, my workouts, how I cook my healthy meals, parenting, etc. And one of my beautiful wife and kids. I'll make one new video for every $15K over the $45K goal. Update: I've recorded some bonus videos already, more to come!
I'm offering a number of bonuses for different reward levels here on Kickstarter, not available anywhere else:
- First, the limited-edition digital and print versions of this book are not going to be sold anywhere else for at least 6 months, until I do a 2nd edition.
- Exclusive webinar with Lift: I'm going to hold a limited webinar (200-person limit) with the CEO of the Lift habit app, on creating habits. This will be held in December 2014.
- Bonus guides: I'm creating special guides for the reward levels from the Print Edition level and higher. They'll be PDF guides to 1) procrastination & effectiveness; and 2) mindfulness. These won't be available anywhere else. Read more.
- Early bird feedback: For the $98+ reward level, I'm going to give you first access to the web version of the book in December (you'll still get 3 copies of the print edition when it's ready), before anyone else. This will give you a chance to give me feedback that could change the book before it's printed.
- 10-person webinars: For the $300+ reward level, I'm going to hold a webinars for 10 people at a time, where all 10 people in the webinar can ask me questions. They'll last about an hour, and I'll schedule them in December & January, so you can pick whatever date/time works best for your schedule. These webinars are more intimate than the webinar above.
- 3-month coaching & private event: At the $1,500 level, I'm taking on 15 people in a small-group coaching program that will last from January through March, and end in a private event in San Francisco. The coaching will be on habits and dealing with life changes and other struggles — basically, what I cover in the book — and you can ask me questions and work with the other people in the program, getting accountability and support. The event will be with me, and will last an entire weekend in April, and will include seminars and group activities and guest speakers and tea and food and maybe some meditation. It'll be fun! You'll need to pay your own way to get there, and your own accommodations. Read more about the coaching program & event.
- Speak at your event: At the top level, I'll give a talk at your conference or private event. I almost never give talks, so this is a pretty exclusive bonus. I'll speak for up to an hour, on a topic we agree upon, and can be available for Q&A after or whatever else you like (within reason). You'll also have to pay for my airfare, on top of the $10,000.
Special Thanks to My Team
I didn't create this book alone:
Risks and challenges
I'm confident this book will be printed, but there are a few risks and challenges to note:
1. Possible delays from the printer — though I've been published by a traditional publisher and have self-published numerous ebooks, I've never printed a book on my own before. But I'm using a highly-recommended professional printer, so I'm confident things will go well.
2. Shipping delays — We'll be using a fulfillment company to ship the books out once printed, and it's possible this will take a little longer than I'd like, so we'll all have to breathe if there are any delays.
3. Technical glitches — I'll be publishing this book on the web and in a few digital editions (Kindle, epub for the iPad, and PDF), so there is always the possibility of technical glitches that delay things. But I've done these before, and they're not that difficult.
All of this is doable, and I don't anticipate major problems.
See the estimated timeline here: http://zenhabitsbook.com/timeline/Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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