Alright, it’s almost half-way through January, folks. How are you doing on any goals you have set so far this year? Is one of your goals to read more this year?
For years and years, I have set “read more” as my goal. I truly do love reading. I was an English major in college and truly have a passion for literature. Does that mean it always translates into a ton of reading for me? No. In fact, I didn’t feel like I truly read as much as I wanted to until last year.
I didn’t read a ton, but I read enough to keep me occupied at all times and have a dozen or so books on my shelf that I could say I read. And that makes me happy.
Here’s some tips I implemented last year that helped me turn the vague “read more” into 15 books read.
1 // Set an actual reading goal, not just “read more.”
“Read more” translates into nothing, just like “workout more” or “eat healthier.” These are just words. Unless you have a plan of attack on how you’re going to make it happen, these “goals” don’t seem to get you anywhere.
This year, my goal is to read 20 books. By setting a numeric goal, I feel a lot more accomplished when I read 5 books off my list and realize I have 15 more to go. You can measure your progress. If you simply say you want to read more, and you do, but you have no way to measure it, no amount of reading will make it seem like you’re reaching that goal.
You could also set a goal to read a certain number of minutes a day or hours a week, but I personally find that harder to measure and less rewarding than just setting a number of books to read throughout the month/year.
2 // Use the library & used books stores.
I feel dumb admitting this, but last year was also the first year I really utilized my library. Of course I’ve used a library before but toward the end of last year, I was going weekly. This helped me read more for two reasons.
One: you can’t have library books forever, so it compelled me to actually finish books – what a novel concept! Books I own I often read on and off for months because there is no time I have to finish them. This simple fact helped push me to read books before their due dates.
Two: the library caught my attention with a wide variety of books I don’t normally read. All those new releases on display or the section of mysteries for the month of October really caught my eye. I started picking up random books because the cover looked cool or I had read another book by that author. You just have so many more options at a library.
Used bookstores are also a great option to get a variety of new-to-you books for next to nothing. I just got 7 books on my to-read list for the year for $6 from a used bookstore over Christmas! Sometimes I go for a cool looking cover or a book that’s only 50 cents when I’m at a used bookstore, and sometimes those random finds end up being my favorite books.
3 // Read all types of books, not just your normal picks.
Before using the library, I had a very specific set of books, genres, or authors that I would read. Once I started delving into new genres, authors, and types of books and honestly just started reading anything I could get my hands on, I read so much more. Different books were so much more interesting!
Now I actually love romance and mysteries, two genres I had previously said “weren’t for me.” If you have written off a genre before, there is probably a certain author or series that is totally for you – you just have to go find it!
4 // Use a Goodreads account.
This helped me so much! This tip goes back to #1 as well because you can see your goals in action. For me, it’s fun to update my reading progress and see how close I am to finishing. It’s also nice to have friends on there and see what they are reading too.
The visual aspect of Goodreads is my favorite though. I can visually see how many books I’ve read throughout the years. I also like how it gives recommendations, so you can find your new favorite author.
5 // Use reading as me time instead of your phone/computer.
It is so easy for me to hang out on my phone or computer when I have a bit of free time. It’s very easy to turn to the constant updates in my news feeds at night and waste an entire hour or two doing pretty much nothing. I know many of us are in the habit of doing this.
To beat this, I try to make nighttime a media free time. I either spend time with my husband talking or we both sit down and read together. It’s easy to just pick the phone back up again though, so I usually put my phone in my bedroom to charge so I am physically away from my phone, free of distractions so I can read.
Reading at night or before bed is my favorite way to unwind. Once this became a habit for me, I was doing this nearly every night to wind down. That adds up to a lot of reading!
My 2016 To-Read List
Here’s what I hope to read in the year to come. I own almost all these books and want to mark them as read before 2016 is over!
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
- Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
- Books 2, 3, + 4 in the Bride Quartet Series by Nora Roberts
- The Next Always by Nora Roberts
- Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
- Captivating by John Eldridge
- American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield
Questions for You:
- How do you make reading a priority? What tips would you add?
- What do you want to read this year?