If you read my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, you’ll have seen that I am aiming to read 52 books this year. Now, I love to read. But I am a really, really slow reader. I lose concentration and momentum really easily and struggle to finish books that I’ve started. So, 52 books in a year is quite a tall order.
That said, January is not yet over and I’ve already read four books! I’m confident that this year I will achieve my goal.
Here’s how I’m going to do it:
I used to think it was cheating to count a book listened to as a book read. But then I saw others who said that listening to audiobooks was helping them reach their reading goals, and I decided to change my thinking. If I’ve listened to a book intently, followed the story and been engaged in the narrative, it’s as good as read. One of the reason I love audiobooks is because you can “read” at times when you wouldn’t normally be able to, such as when cooking dinner, washing dishes, falling asleep (which only really works if you’re an insomniac and take more than half an hour to fall asleep), etc. I have an Audible account, and also make the most of the free, public domain audiobooks on loyalbooks.com. TONS of free classics, which I absolutely love!
2. Morning Reading
Part of the reason I didn’t read much last year is because I kept deferring until later in the day. Then later would come and I’d be feeling tired and lazy, and I’d be sucked into a Netflix binge, or a Candy Crush binge, or a Pinterest binge, and reading would go out the proverbial window. So this year, I’m making the effort to start reading when I wake up. It doesn’t have to be a lot – a couple of pages, or a chapter, just to set the tone for the day. When I’ve done that, I find I’m more inclined to keep going back to my book throughout the day, and I’m much more excited to read it in the evening, which makes the electronic traps a lot less enticing.
3. Putting Away the Electronics
How many times have you thought, “I’m going to sit down and read now”, only to look up from your phone or laptop hours later and realise you haven’t even opened your book? For me, the answer is many MANY times. I’m trying to get in the habit of leaving off the electronics in the evening and reading before bed. But if my laptop remains on the bed, I have a tendency to pick it back up again and get sucked in. I’m trying (often failing, but still trying) to get into the habit of shutting it down and putting it away in the evenings, so that I can be freed up to read without temptation. If reading requires a device (e.g. A kindle book), I’ll try and remember to close all other apps and turn on flight mode. I’m less strict about audiobooks because I am able to take in the story even if I’m doing some other menial task (e.g. playing Candy Crush).
4. Reading the Short Books First
If I start the year with War & Peace, here’s a very likely scenario: I’ll start out enthusiastic, will race through the first quarter of the book and think, “Why was I scared to read this book? It’s so easy!”. Then, a third of the way through I’ll hit a wall and struggle regain momentum. In the meantime, I won’t want to start another book because I’m already supposed to be reading War & Peace. So I’ll just stop reading and spend all my free time playing Candy Crush (I should really just delete it from my phone). In order to prevent the above scenario from occurring, I’m starting with the year with some shorter, easier titles. The sense of accomplishment from finishing a book is super motivating, and makes me want to read more. Plus I’ll be able to tick of a big chunk of my list early on in the year!
How many books are you planning to read this year, and how do you make more time for reading? Share in the comments!