Simple Ways to Read More

Did you set reading goals at the beginning of 2021? How are they going for you? I ask because it's not uncommon to see 'read more' appear on a lot of resolution lists and people often fall off halfway through the year. And it's not because most of us don't love reading. We do! We just lose sight of properly prioritizing reading. It's the first thing cut from the list when we feel we're too busy, because it feels like an indulgence or luxury rather than something essential or productive.


But I disagree. I think it's both essential and productive. I learn new things from reading, yes, but it's also self-care. It's mentally stimulating, it allows my brain to relax and focus on something outside myself and my life's little problems, it's soothing, comforting, enjoyable, and all around something I know I love to do. And yet, I too can go weeks without picking up a book if I'm not paying attention. So I'm sharing, for my own benefit and yours, some easy ways to read more:

Break it down. One of the daily tasks of my 75 Hard challenge is reading 10 pages a day of a non-fiction, self-help type book. Just 10 pages. And I have to say, it's been the most full-proof way to get more reading in. I've mentioned before that one goal setting tip is to break it down into the smallest possible first step, one that is so simple it's impossible to skip or ignore, like flossing one single tooth. Of course you're going to floss all of them, once you started. You're just getting over the first hurdle. And this is the same concept. I'm reading a book right now that each chapter is about 10 pages, so that works as a cut off when I think 'I just don't have the time today.' I do, for just 10 pages. If you're struggling with that first step, just commit to one page. Just one, then 5, then 10. It very quickly becomes a daily habit that you miss if you don't get to it. It's definitely helped reading jump much higher on my priority list.

Schedule the time. Like only reading 10 pages, it doesn't need to be huge 2+ hour chunks of time. You can schedule in a shorter time, just as long as you put something in your calendar. You have to commit the time just like any other goal. You schedule 8 hours for sleep and 8 for work, an hour for working out, meal times, showering, laundry, etc, so just put it in the calendar and commit to reading time like any other appointment or task. It might sound silly but how nice will it be to get to those few minutes of 'me time' on your daily schedule.

Create a reading space. I love settling into a comfortable space to read. I have a cozy chair to lean back in, where the lighting is bright. I also make a drink or snack and light a candle, and make sure a blanket is nearby. This is for longer reading sessions but even for short ones, I prefer to be comfortable. You won't look forward to your book if you have to squint or listen to your stomach rumble or think about how cold you are.

Embrace the audiobook. A lot of people are resistant to audiobooks, but I there are certain ones that I love so much more as an audio version. Celebrity autobiographies for one - stories about Rob Lowe and Holly Madison just come to life so much more when they're told in the voice of... well, Rob Lowe and Holly Madison. There's so much feeling in their voices that add to the dimension of the book. Not everything is suited for this medium but you'll definitely find something that is. That way, you can listen to it while you're exercising, cooking, cleaning the house, or any other physical task that doesn't require mental concentration. I get just as much enjoyment out of audiobooks during these times as I do TV shows, YouTube videos, music, or podcasts.

Read more than one book at a time. I like to match my book to my mood. I listen to celebrity books while I walk and clean, yes, but I'm not in the mood for them before bed or feel like learning a new subject. No need to start and finish just one book before you open another. A lot of people have at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going at the same time. That way, you can choose based on your mood and not feel forced to finish your book on goal setting and productivity when you're tired and want to relax in a bath.

Bring at least one with you. You just never know when you'll find downtime. And instead of scrolling instagram, you could be reading if you had remembered to bring a book with you. I'm a fan of e-books for this reason, which my library has plenty of. And the wait is often substantially less than for the physical copy. So whenever I'm waiting in the car while John runs into the bank, or while I was being the designated driver after a friend's medical procedure, I'm always able to have a book. I bring a physical one for long, anticipated waits like the hospital, but I always have an e-book ready for short ones.

Don't be afraid to quit the book. They aren't all winners. Even if 99 out of 100 people recommend it, you could be that one person who doesn't enjoy it. There's no book report required at the end so you don't have to finish things you just aren't in to. It's okay to quit it, rather than struggle through something that makes you dread reading.

Have you made it a goal to read more? What tips and tricks do you have for making it a priority in your life?

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