Reading more books has always been at the top of my New Years’ resolutions because, in theory, it should be easy. I’ve always been a reader. Growing up I spent lots of time in the library, devouring everything from young adult to horror to the newest Harry Potter release. And then life happened. In the last seven years since graduating college, I’ve found that it gets harder to prioritize reading. When I get the chance to read, I feel better. When I stop reading for long periods of time, I feel less like myself. I have fewer views on the world, my vocabulary takes a hit, and I replace reading with watching tv or using social media. Research shows that reading more rewires your brain, “increased your verbal memory, and thickened your corpus callosum, which is the information highway that connects the left and right hemispheres of your brain.”
With this in mind, I committed to a new goal of reading 50 books in 2022. There are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, from friends, teachers and experiences of belonging to a few book clubs. Even just implementing one of these tips is sure to help you add reading more into your life.
Set a realistic goal for reading
When creating a new habit, we tend to set aspirational, but maybe not realistic, goals. Whether that includes wanting to start working out five days a week or reading 100 books a year, lofty goals can lead to discouragement and feeling defeated. Instead, think realistically about your daily routine and what feels attainable. A good initial goal is one book a month, which leaves time for you to add more books if you finish sooner than expected.
Make a list of books you want to read
Whether you write this list down or use a service like Goodreads, creating a list you can easily reference makes the process of selecting a new book a lot easier. Don’t skimp on this process as decision fatigue is real, and without a helping hand, you can get overwhelmed and potentially give up altogether. Start by figuring out what genres you enjoy and looking up books in that same category, then reading their synopsis to get a good sense of what they’re about, so once you’ve added the book to your list, all you have to do is start reading!
Get a library card
Many adults don’t know how useful it is to have a library card. Not only does it give you access to thousands of books at your local library, but you can also access apps like Libby, allowing you to borrow e-books and audiobooks with the press of a button. Having a library card also removes the barrier of access to books as buying books can get expensive.
Create a reading routine
Now that you’ve set the groundwork for meeting your reading goal and have books to read, it’s time to create a routine. Start with some practices that can be easily implemented into your current schedule. If you are not a morning person, setting a routine to read in the morning might be a big hurdle. Remember: don’t do what you think you should do, but what makes the most sense for you. Try replacing something you’re already doing with reading instead. For example, if you spend four hours a day watching tv or using social media, swap out that time for reading. Start small, cut that number in half, and by just doing that, you’ve freed up two hours a night to read. This can be changed to daily, weekly, or even monthly. Are you a reading beginner? One book a month is a doable goal for most people, especially with an engaging book.
Reading more should be a positive addition to your life, not something that feels like a chore. Making reading fun is as easy as choosing a good book! Reading is personal, and if you’re not enjoying it, pick something different and try again. Following step two above is a great way to make sure that your book choices are ones you will like reading. Curating a list of top picks of your favorite genres, authors, or top books of the year ensures that you’re enjoying the time you’re setting aside for yourself. Good luck!