In 2018 I started reading and ended up finishing an astonishing amount of books, if you read my 2018 goals post from last year you’ll know that this was never a specific goal I had in mind. As much as I want to say it somehow just happened out of the blue, there were some steps I took that enabled me to read, read and then read some more. Now that we’ve reached 2019 we’re about 20 days in, I’ve already finished one book, and am currently reading two more.
I feel like I’ve soaked up the idea of reading like a sponge, I was always a bookworm and will always be one, but there was a period of stagnant reading, or should I say absolutely no reading done at all, and that saddens me. I missed out on it. Yet, thankfully my love for it never completely diminished. Hence why this year I’ve made a promise to myself to continue on my journey, and we shall where it takes me.
For me, reading is like travelling, travelling to alternate dimensions, to the past, or even to the future, to another planet where maybe humans do not exist but humanity does. Well, maybe it doesn’t sometimes, other things exist instead.
Be intentional with your time – we all know that we have 24 hours in a day, the majority of those hours are made for sleeping, which is imperative for good health, increased efficiency, increased productivity, better mood and more. As a result, the rest of the day is usually spread between working, eating, resting, and as technology grows, more wasting away our time on social media platforms. People like myself who read, don’t magically have more time than anyone else, we’re just more intentional, we decide when to read and then just do it.
Reduce the negative associations – before I physically started to read, there were a few negative associations I had with reading, mainly it was the travelling, both on public transport, and by walk to the library that sort of put me off wanting to go at all. Thankfully, there are many online platforms that you can use to read which reduces the stresses that come with using physical books. My favourite app so far is Libby which is connected to my library where I can read the books I’ve borrowed off my phone and organise them without having to worry about travelling at all.
Have a to-be-read list – this seems like a no-brainer but once you realise there’s almost an infinite number of books which you can read and essentially you don’t have the time to read them all, having a list of books that you want to read helps reduce that stress and also makes it easier to take the step of physically reading a book. If you’re struggling with finding which books to read, you can always follow someone’s recommendations, as long as it’s from someone you admire, a close friend or an online influencer, or that you have similar tastes to.
Set realistic goals – as with any habit that you’re trying to form and improve at, understand that things take time and that by overreaching you’re practically setting yourself up for failure. For example, if you’ve been out of the reading game for a long time and decide to set a goal of reading 100 books at the start of the year, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and will most likely fail, it may even be the case that your love of reading diminishes. Instead take it monthly and set yourself a goal of reading 20 books in a year, not only is this more manageable but you’re likely to surpass the goal itself.
Read smarter, not harder – by reading smart I mean, don’t read books that feel pointless to you, why read a book on efficiency if you’re an efficient person? Instead, read those that relate to your current situation, that actually interests you, that could help with areas of life that you struggle with, read with the intention of bettering yourself, expanding your mind or even escaping reality into a fictitious world. Read what’s right for you, not for someone else.
Remove the distractions – as I mentioned earlier there’s a limited amount of time we have each day, and by focusing on the things we do want to get done, in this case, reading, it’s essential to remove the distractions. This could be turning off your phone, signing out of social media sites or getting rid of those pop-up notifications, turning on website blockers that reduce the temptations of watching Netflix or Youtube. Once you’ve done this, you’ll realise it’s hard to not read, since there’s not much else to do.
These steps to getting yourself to read more if done regularly will become a habit to the point where not reading will make you feel empty and unusual, but if done right in a way that’s suitable for you, will leave you craving knowledge kickstarting the habit.
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