Book Club – Ep. 0 (Willpower Instinct, Intro)

Watch HERE

Hello, fellow peoples of the interwebs!

Welcome to Episode 0 of the “Life Coaching with Ryan” Book Club! In this quick-isode, I’ll lay out the plan for the book club in general, and talk specifically about how I’m going to approach the first book in the series.

A few items of note:

  • The plan is to complete one book each month.
  • I will be posting Instagram stories as I complete chapters (educate4_life).
  • I will be posting full episodes on Mondays.
  • I will likely suggest “homework” each episode, and possibly during stories, as we go — just like I would in a coaching session.
  • BUT this isn’t a study group (at least not yet!), or we would be moving WAY slower…
    • If there is an interest in starting such a group, please let me know!
  • I don’t plan on hitting every point of every chapter — just what stood out to me. I’m looking to you all to offer additional insights in the comments, so don’t be shy! Respectful, but not shy. 😉
  • HAVE FUN! This space is all about play and discovering new opportunities for self-improvement together.

With that said, let’s move on to the book!

Book 1: The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

“Wait… One book each month? But I started the book and she recommends working with it over ten weeks, like her continuing studies course! Like, there is literal work in here!”

Yeah, I know, you’re thinking, Ten weeks of work in four?! Whiskey Tango, Ryan! Like I said, we’re going through this book as a reading club, not a study group. Ten weeks is a long time to spend if this isn’t your jam. My goal is to expose you (and myself) to helpful ideas and possible strategies to use in your daily lives. In the case of this book, Kelly McGonigal also suggests trying what sounds interesting NOW; everything else can wait (the book will still be there, as will these episodes). There is no rush; reading first to understand and then to implement is totally groovy.

As we go, I’ll likely reference page numbers. I’m reading the paperback, so I might reference a page number that doesn’t line up for you if you are reading the Kindle edition or listening along with the audio book. With that heads up out of the way, let’s check in about the intro.


Dr. McGonigal (can I call you Kelly?) starts out by dispelling our common fear that we need to be perfect. In fact, compassionately studying how we are not perfect will go a long way toward helping us achieve what we truly desire. We’re invited to become experimental scientists and explore this content with levity. She also gives us our first assignment: Choose Your Willpower Challenge. She breaks this challenge into three categories —

  • “I will”
  • “I won’t”
  • “I want”

My challenge is a combination “I will”/”I want” — I want to build my coaching practice, so I will take more actions in alignment with that goal. This book club is one “I will”. I’m also working on a podcast. I have a lot of distractions in my life that I LOVE, which I think become excuses for why I didn’t “get more done” on any given day. More than anything, I get overwhelmed when I think about how lofty my goals are, and distractions feel better in the immediate than the discomfort I feel when I think about failing (if you don’t follow Brooke Castillo, I highly recommend you check out her material on this subject).

So as we go through this book together, I’ll be putting the exercises into that context. What about you? What are you struggling with? What do you want more of in your life? Less of? What is a major goal you are working towards? Let me know in the comments, and I look forward to seeing you next time!

– Ryan

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