Anki for Personal Development: It’s not just for school. Here’s why.

Anki is also for self-improvement.

You think Anki’s just for your next exam?

Think again.

It’s one thing to read academic books and remember important information. Sure.

But what I teach here on Improveism isn’t just limited to school.

Some books don’t get some love?

I mean, what about the books that help us improve? Why don’t they get the same love, too?

Because of this, I started experimenting.

I used Anki for self-improvement books.

What’s the reason? The reason is, I thought that “If you couldn’t remember what you read, then how are you supposed to apply it?”

And that’s the start of something.

As stated by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich: “Thoughts are things.”

Without them, you wouldn’t have the desire to better yourself.

Without that single thought you had back then about “improving your study skills”, then you wouldn’t even be reading this blog.

It’s because thoughts can lead you into action.

So, anyway, I’m getting a little off track here.

As I’m saying, you can use Anki to remember the lessons you learn from self-improvement books.

If you’re not yet familiar with the ones I recommend, you can check out the Amazon links I scattered throughout the site.


How I Did It (and The Magical Thing that Happened)

Lately, I’ve been reading stuff to improve my writing.

Well, mainly because I wanted a more conversational, more persuasive style of writing.

So I looked into copywriting.

“What’s copywriting? Is that the one they use to protect intellectual property?”

No, Johnny. That’s copyright.

I’m talking about the art of writing that makes people buy.

Salesmanship in print—that’s copywriting.

Okay, I started reading about it, and they provided reading lists. Yep, to become a better writer, you must read a lot.

But in this case, the books were written by the few greatest marketers of all time.

So you get to know how they speak based on how they write.

You also get to know how they “hook” the readers, and “trap” them into reading their writing all the way to the end.

By the time the reader realizes it, his wallet is out and orders were made.

Because of this almost magical way of writing, I badly wanted to remember their advice.

And just yesterday, I just applied learning techniques to one of the reading assignments entitled “The Boron Letters”.

Why, you ask? Because I thought it wouldn’t make sense if I can’t use the learning techniques that I share here for my own goals.

And here’s what I did.

I created a new account on AnkiWeb, opened up Anki (Desktop) and I started making cards.

Holy crap, after a couple of minutes, I realized something cool just happened.

  • I finished 16 chapters in 1 hour (to be fair, 1 chapter’s just a really short read)
  • I got the most important parts of the letters while avoiding the fluff
  • And lastly, I learned a TON of things didn’t stick the first time I didn’t use this strategy

Alright, now enough of me already.

Here’s how you can do the same if you want to read self-improvement books a.k.a. invest in yourself.

How to Improve Yourself Using Anki

Again, you won’t be able to apply anything if you can’t remember shit.

Wait, what’s that?? You don’t have a self-improvement book?

Worse, you don’t even know where to start? Okay, don’t worry.

I’ll guide you through the process, from start to finish.

I’ll lead your hand in this whole thing because I invented this method after all (hehe).

Step #1. Get yourself a best-selling book from a best-selling author.

Seriously, they’re best-selling for a reason.

For this, if ever you haven’t started your self-improvement journey yet, I recommend you start with your habits.

Habits, seemingly small, make up almost the entirety of our daily lives.

Unless you’re a monk, it’s quite impossible to live your life in 100% mindfulness. So what you need is to master your habits.

For this, I can recommend three excellent books that have already changed a THOUSAND lives on this planet. Here are my favorites: (Amazon afflinks)

  • Atomic Habits by James Clear – the most scientific, most practical book ever created on habits. It tells you how exactly you can create habits, for example, in just 2 minutes. You’ll also learn how easy it is to hack your motivation. If you’re just starting out, you might as well give it a shot. You’ll feel increasingly more incredible after each and every chapter.
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – it’s THE self-improvement book. I mean, everyone seems to recommend it–and for good reason. I haven’t personally read everything in this book, but in the FEW excerpts I had from this book, I was already amazed by how much substance was put in it by the author. You’ll live a happier life, have more satisfying relationships, a great work-life balance, powerful leadership skills, and so on. Definitely a staple.
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – before Atomic Habits, this used to be THE habit book. (well, it still is) It goes into extensive explanations, research, stories on how our habits form. This, in fact, will tell you the most basic principles of habit formation. It’s the first one I’ve read on habits so I somehow hold this book dear, thus I still highly recommend it to those who want a good read.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get to step #2.

Step #2. Open Anki on your computer and start creating some questions while reading.

Yep, that’s right.

But here’s the twist: you make your flashcards more personal, and more practical.

For example, you read that “You cannot control your emotions. But you can control your reactions to your emotions.” and then the author goes on to tell some stories to show it “in action”.

You can make your flashcard questions more personal.

Like this:

This card, if you’re not familiar with how Anki works, will look like this:

Sounds good so far? Alright.

Let’s move on to the final step.

Step #3. Make it Stick!

That means review every single day.

Make the ideas stick into your long-term memory for good.

This way, you can easily recruit those memories from your brain when you need it.

That’s the purpose of our memory after all.

Again, I would like to repeat it again just to stress it out:

“If you couldn’t remember it, then how are you supposed to apply it?”

Guess what? A strong memory doesn’t just help you in school.

It also helps you in life.

Bottom Line: Anki for Self-Improvement

It’s a novel idea that I just devised a little while ago, but I think it should improve over time.

Who knows?

I even had a friend who used Anki to prepare for his interviews, so this “learning faster skill” isn’t just a thing for the university, but in our daily lives as well.

Okay, that’s enough, let me know what you think down below in the comments

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you.

As always, thanks for reading!

Categories Anki

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