Get fit, save money, learn a language; we are setting ourselves goals all of the time. What’s another goal people are striving towards this year? ‘Read more’.
How exactly do you read more? Many people simply give up on reading. They reach a certain age or find themselves ‘too busy’, that reading falls down on their list of priorities. From reading daily to now merely skimming through bursts of 280 characters on Twitter and the odd motivational Instagram caption.
If you’re reading less than you want, you’re not the only one. University and the required lacklustre reading lists ruined my love for books. The stories in which I would relish were replaced with monster-looking anthologies and poetry collections. So what did I do? I set myself a reading goal.
In 2018 I thought I was over-ambitious by setting my goal at 50 books. However, one week into December I hit it. What’s more, I actually exceeded that, sneaking in another five novels at the end of the year. Now I’m reading more than ever. This year I’ve stepped my goal up to a lofty 60 books, gradually making my way through my ‘to be read’ pile.
You want to read more? Perfect. So, how exactly do you do it?
1. Make it a habit
As with any habit you wish to pursue, you should schedule time for reading. Be it twenty minutes while you’re eating your breakfast, or an hour before bed. By incorporating it into your daily routine, you will find little reason to make excuses. Before you know it, reading will become a habit, and you will feel all the better for it.
2. Take a book with you everywhere
Reading time doesn’t just have to be reserved for 20 minutes before bed. What do we do when we’re early to an appointment? We scroll aimlessly through Instagram. Or how about when we have a half an hour commute to work? Our hands instinctively reach for our phones. Instead, carry a book with you everywhere. Next time you find yourself with some time to grind, put down Candy Crush and pick up the book instead.
3. Check Your Priorities
A lot of people’s number one reason for not reading is because they’re ‘too busy’. Nonetheless, they’ll always find time for a couple of hours of Netflix or the habitual scroll through their Instagram feed. I’m not saying stop doing these things by any means. However, if you’re determined to read more reading has to take precedence.
Whatever it is you wish you could be doing, there is always time for it. You just have to make it happen. Prioritise whatever brings you joy, and if reading is one of those things, it shouldn’t be a question of ‘having time’ but rather ‘making time’.
4. Don’t limit yourself
Reading doesn’t stop at the pristine hardback you bought at full price from Waterstones. Try going to your nearest library, many offering the luxury of recent releases free at your disposal. You could also browse e-stores which I find are often cheaper. Another option is the abundance of charity shops. You’ll not only be supporting a good cause, but you’ll be saving some pennies too.
Having a larger budget for more books allows me to purchase more. Purchasing more means I’ll read more. It’s logical really.
5. Make a list
Curating a “to-read” list is fun, and it’s a continuous reminder that there’s always something I can’t wait to read. I must add to my TBR list every day, leaving me spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing my next title. Just make sure you compile a list of books and topics that you find interesting, not what everyone is talking about. You can find books you’re interested in everywhere, Goodreads and the book community on social media being my go-to.
Don’t overthink which book you should read next—you’ll end up reading reviews for hours, which is a waste of time ( guilty; I spend more time scrolling through bookstagrams and reading reviews than I do books sometimes).
6. Set a goal
Telling yourself you’re going to ‘read more’ may seem like a goal, but how will you keep yourself accountable? Will you aim for one book a week? 6 books over summer? Or, if you’re serious about reading, will you set yourself the goal of 40 books for the year? Setting goals may be the push you need to jump start your reading habit.
There’s a sense of fulfilment and motivation tracking the books you’ve read, too. I love using Goodreads to track everything. It’s an excellent motivator and allows you to gamify your goal.
7. Read what you enjoy
This is important. Not all books are for everyone. A book might be a best-seller, but maybe you can’t stand the writing. Or maybe you cringe at lovey-dovey romance.
Don’t waste your time reading about subjects you have zero interest in. Instead, pick out the books that are about topics that intrigue you. Read books about people that you admire. Don’t read a book just because it’s a best-seller or a classic if it has no meaning to you.
8. Give Up
That being said, if you did pick up something you thought what you would enjoy, don’t be ashamed to give up on it. You’re not going to enjoy every book you read and that’s okay. You’ll only find yourself traipsing your way through a book which could take months if you’re not enjoying it. If you’re not enjoying a book, quit, and move onto something else. No big deal.
9. Make Notes
Now, this may not be for everyone. If you’re someone like me who likes to retain knowledge, making notes can be a big motivator while reading. You can make notes down the margin, or highlight parts of the text you find interesting. If you’re reading an eBook, you can highlight quotes you want to remember.
Be sure to follow me on Goodreads if you don’t already!
Do you intend on reading more this year? Do you have any tips on how to read more?