Ranked as another of the classic self-help books along with titles like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Steven Covey modernized and engendered a niche in the genre of self-improvement through the idea of creating success through targeted methods that boost productivity. While Carnegie’s book focuses on satisfaction through smoother personal relationships and stronger connections, Covey relies on an approach that deals more with the individual’s attitude within the context of that person’s relationship with themselves. The truly revolutionary idea introduced by Covey’s work “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” establishes link between habituation of a behavior through attitude changes to reach a goal. Covey even details a maturity continuum that models how a person can achieve permanence for a habit.
According to these assertions, an “effective” individual might first write down a few goals for themselves to accomplish, and subsequent achieve those goals by systematically modifying their behavior while also paying close attention to their attitude towards goal-oriented tasks. Moreover, Covey postulates that success or greater productivity must come from a long-term approach which requires individuals to change their attitudes towards certain activities. In the book, making the connection between repetitious behaviors or actions and a strong commitment - intentional or unintentional - represented a greater novelty in the psychology of habit forming during its publication in the 1990s, an era without the mechanisms of instant gratification through the Internet and smartphones. In this way, Covey’s notion on how one can choose to modify their habits with the aid of awareness in attitudes (i.e. proactivity, reward systems, empathic communication, etc.) has an even greater relevance today.