This Is How to Easily Read More Books This Year
You know that reading is good for you. In a single book you’re getting someone’s lifetime of research, expertise, and wisdom in a neat 300-page package.
And the benefits don’t stop at nonfiction. Reading fiction develops empathy, reduces stress, enhances creativity, and teaches us what it means to be human.
Reading a book is nothing short of a magical experience.
But these days it’s difficult to find the willpower to slow down, sit down, and immerse yourself in a good book. The apps on your phone constantly cry out with irritable pings and notifications.
We are distracted all the time.
If you’re anything like me, your brain’s flying on autopilot. And always landing on Instagram.
This year, I resolved to be more intentional with my time. I set a goal to read more books. 52 books in 52 weeks.
Riding on the wave of “new year, new me” energy, I was ready.
Yet — after my initial rush of motivation, I quickly lost focus and my wave came crashing down. I soon was back in mindless phone-scroll-mode, not sure how I got there.
I could feel my copy of Plato’s Republic glaring at me from the corner, judging my lack of self control. Too ashamed to face the book I promised I’d read this year, I knew I needed to change my method.
Committing to read 52 books this year has been a life-changing experience.
I’m more focused and more curious about the world. I’m wasting less time and constantly playing with new ideas.
I’ve gained the confidence to set ambitious goals to better myself. It’s helped me improve as a writer, a friend, a thinker, and overall human. And you can do the same.
Starting a new habit can seem daunting but, making a few research-based behavior changes makes this new habit way easier.
Here’s how you can finally start reading more.
Make Reading Part of Your Routine
Build reading time into your day. If you want to read more, it’s not going to happen by thinking or wishing you’ll read more.
If you want to read more books — attach it to a routine.
According to a study by Duke University, approximately 45% of the things we do are a product of habit. A huge portion of our daily actions are done in the same place, at the same time.
We develop routines of everyday actions, and it’s extremely hard to just start a new activity without fitting it into a routine.
You’ll forget. You’ll resist. Your brain will think of reasons to avoid the strange new activity.
You’ll need to make a plan. So if your goal is to read more books, choose when and where you’re going to engage in the activity.
Pick it and write it down — so there’s no confusion. Seriously, write down “I will read 15 pages in bed before I go to sleep” and you will stick to that commitment.
For me, my routine is to sit and read in my living room for 30 minutes after making my morning coffee. Each day, I know exactly when and where to read.
So pick a time and place that works for you, so your brain can start associating it with reading.
Pick a Reading Goal That’s Easy to Achieve
If you’re currently averaging at 0 books a year, picking a goal of 100 books is going to be a bit of a challenge.
To build a reading habit, the key is to set a goal so small, you’re confident you’ll achieve it. It should be something easily integrated into your day.
If reading a 1200-page tome like War and Peace seems too daunting, begin with some shorter books. There are plenty of great novels around 100 pages. Then set a page count goal. If you’re just starting out, committing to 5 or 10 pages a day is very doable.
Getting in 10 pages a day translates to 300 pages in a month. That’s The Great Gatsby (180 pages) and Of Mice and Men (112 pages) — two classics done in one month!
The trick is to pick a goal that’s almost too easy. Making it as effortless as possible in the beginning is what helps you build that daily habit.
Developing the habit is key because your brain loves habits. Why? Because habits use less mental energy than other activities. So pick an easy goal to start training your brain that you read every day.
Once you’ve developed a consistent habit, it gets easier and easier to set the bar higher for yourself.
You got this.
Pick a Fun Way to Track Your Reading
Pick a way that will make tracking your reading goal into a fun experience. Psychology research shows that tracking your goals makes you way more likely to achieve them.
You can use something like Goodreads, which allows you to make a goal for the year and engage with other readers. Goodreads also compiles a year in review which is always a fun recap.
A reading journal is another great way to track your reading list and jot down your thoughts as you read. You can also use a reading journal to write up book summaries and key points you can easily refer back to.
Or you can create a simple spreadsheet.
Pick the method that sounds the most appealing to you.
Using a tracking system will make you feel like you’re making progress and motivate you to keep checking more books off your list.
I use a super simple Google Doc for my books and it’s so satisfying to mark a little “X” next to my finished books. You can grab my incredibly simple spreadsheet tracker here.
Get More Reading Done
Setting small goals and celebrating your wins will keep you going. Make it easy and joyful to read, and you’ll be reading more and more.
Before you know it, you’ll be zooming past your initial reading goals.
What will you be reading today?