I recently shared on Instagram that my reading goal last year was to read 75 books. This garnered some curious inquiries on how I manage to read that many books in one year. Since reading is something I am passionate about, I thought I’d share some of my suggestions here, as well as make a strong argument for why you should add reading of some kind to your 2020 goals (or resolutions, or intentions, or whatever it’s trendy to call them now).
How to Read More This Year
It feels like we are all so incredibly busy nowadays. I just told a friend that I feel like I haven’t had a free weekend since we bought our house in July. Last year, Kendall got a new job, we bought a house, I got a new job (that changed my workweek from 4 days to 5), and we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. If I could use one word to describe 2019, it would be BUSY.
However, I still managed to make time for reading by being intentional with my time. I didn’t do anything ground breaking, and I’m sure my tips aren’t something no one has ever thought of before. But, I thought I’d gather my suggestions into one list in case any dutiful readers want a few fresh ideas for reading even more, or maybe some wannabe or newer readers need some help knowing where to start. Here are a few things you can do to drastically increase the amount of time you have to read.
- Use Goodreads to create a Reading Challenge. You’ll be able to track your progress, and it is very satisfying! Plus, you can also create “shelves” (lists) of books you want to read and get great book recommendations.
- Consider the library your friend! Put everything on hold. If you love a book and decide you want to own it, you can always buy it later.
- Carry a book with you in your bag. Read on your lunch break, on public transit, while you’re waiting to meet up with friends, while you’re in line at Costco waiting to pump gas (lol). You’d be surprised how much time you spend waiting (hint: you probably spend that time on your phone and just don’t realize it).
- Listen to audiobooks (for free!). Download Overdrive or Libby and log in with your library card information. Now you have instant access to your library’s audiobooks (and ebooks!). You can listen during your commute, while you’re getting ready in the morning, while you’re doing chores, etc. It’s an amazing way to increase the number of books you read in a year. (Half of the books I read in 2019 were audiobooks!)
- Always be reading one physical book and listening to one audiobook. Trust me… you can read more than one book at a time, easy.
- Stop spending so much time on your phone or watching Netflix. #justsayin
- Try to finish every book. It can be tempting to stop reading a book you aren’t really into, but unless it’s unbearably dry, try to power through to the end.
- Keep a journal with some thoughts about what you’re reading. Even if it’s just a Google Doc with a few sporadic thoughts, it’ll help you hone your analytical skills and make you a more mindful reader. You might even start to enjoy it!
Why Read More?
Did you know that reading has been proven to be good for you on multiple levels? According to a study conducted at the University of Toronto, participants who read fiction had less need for “cognitive closure,” meaning they were more open-minded than participants who only read non-fiction essays. A study conducted at Yale concluded that participants who read 30 minutes a day live longer on average than those who do not.
Besides health advantages, reading is also enjoyable and an excellent way to learn about human nature or the world. Reading challenges you, inspires you, reduces your stress, teaches you about other cultures or periods of history, and improves your focus (something that is slowly disappearing in a world of screens). And, it doesn’t have to take up much of your time. You can pick it up and put it down easily.
My 2020 Reading Goals
So, what are my reading goals for this year?
- Read 50 books (I’m focusing on quality over quantity this year)
- Read 5 nonfiction books
- Reduce my physical to-read pile by half (right now, it’s about two boxes of books, haha)
- Read Bleak House by Charles Dickens and Middlemarch by George Eliot (two thick classics that I have been putting off for a while)
- Devote one day a week to a deeper Bible study than my quicker daily readings
In 2019, I read a lot of books that I didn’t love, I think partially because I felt like I always needed to be reading something to meet my goal. This year, I want to make sure I am more intentional about the books I choose.
Well, I hope there are at least one or two ideas that you can use to start reading more. It’s never too late to start reading, and it won’t take you long to create a healthy habit! Good luck!
And if you don’t already, follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading, which books I liked, which books I didn’t like, and an occasional book review 🙂
What are your 2020 reading goals? What books are on your to-read list?