Such an important thing to do, especially in this day of click, browse, scan, and click again. Hopefully you're here because you know you should read more, but don't know how to work it into your day.
I've got great news for you! I truly believe that with a plan, you can do just about anything.
In elementary school,
(I read every single BEVERLY CLEARY book written!)
and in high school,
(Rebelling a little, I snuck Stephen King on the bus to school and scared myself to death more than once--Pennywise the clown? Shudder.)
I loved reading, but in college I stopped reading for pleasure, and after college, I only read occasionally.
And then after kids, my reading life pretty much ended except for the daily board books and early readers we would read aloud together.
(And let me just say, Sandra Boynton books during the tiny years were AWESOME!
I love her sense of humor.)
But now that my boys are older
and I really have no excuses,
I've taken up reading again and
it has grown back into such an enjoyable habit.
Here are the steps I took:
1. Read more than one type of book at a time.
Really, this truly has helped me. I would be tired and night and not want to read non-fiction, or during the day I wouldn't want to get started into a good fiction book and not be able to finish, and another day would pass with no reading. So I always have at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going at a time, minimum.
(Okay, I usually have one biography, one non-fiction, one parenting and/or marriage and one fiction going, but I don't think that is normal... I think I have a problem.)
2. Use sticky notes to mark your weekly goals.
When I started reading again with intention, I would set goals for myself like "read for 15 min a day"
"read for 2 hours a week"
But, really, I share my life with boys.
Therefore, my days rarely go as planned.
So instead of falling into bed in the evening and realizing, again, that I forgot to read, I started marking my books with a sticky note.
I'd count ahead 25 pages, and work on reading to that note by the end of the week.
|Dog ears, sticky notes, and writing in my favorite books.|
It worked perfectly!
Not only did I know that if I missed a day it was no big deal,
but it was also a great excuse to put my feet up on the weekend to get my reading caught up.
I needed the goal to allow myself the pleasure of putting my feet up and reading for a while.
|Sticky notes in every book|
3. Increase your goals every week.
When I started with the sticky notes, I would usually never make it through the 25 pages a week. But eventually it became easier and my mind started getting into the rhythm and discipline of reading, and I started increasing my goal by about 5 to 10 pages a week.
|A Woman After God's Own Heart--one of my favorite non-fiction books. |
I try to re-read it every year and still glean so much after each reading!
4. Read in small pockets of time that would normally be wasted.
With the sticky notes system, I could tuck a book in my purse and take it with me to read while waiting in my car, or in lines, or even while waiting for water to boil, etc. Instead of wasting time online or with an app or game, I was surprised at how much just reading for short periods made it easier to reach my sticky note goal.
|My empty shelf challenge for 2014 #emptyshelf on FB and Twitter|
5. Realize that reading is a skill you are building (or rebuilding).
Reading is a discipline. It's not always easy to focus your mind down to the task of making sense of words on a page, but it is possible... through lots and lots of practice. I know from experience how the internet is fogging my brain, and reading sharpens and removes that fog.
Forcing myself to sit in a quiet place (or not so quiet) and read solid pages, without clicking over to some other link, or page, or social media is tough.
But the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Like with any new skill, it takes time, but stick with it, it WILL work!
6. Be okay with not liking a book and not finishing.
I have a friend who is legally blind, with eyesight that continues to degenerate, and she told me something that has stuck with me ever since she wisely spoke it.
"I never know which book will be the last one I can read,
so I don't waste time on bad ones."
I don't have vision problems, but that rings so true for everyone.
We are never guaranteed to have the next day or even the next hour.
Life is too short to struggle through bad books.
In the book Lit! the author set a goal that I love. He said he reads every book 100 pages in, minus his age, before he decides to put it aside. So this year I read every book up to page 59 before I decide. That means my boys have to read in at least 80-90 pages, and when I'm 100, I'll allow myself to judge a book by its cover!
How are you doing on reading?
Do you have tricks you use to get more time in?