One of my 2019 resolutions was to read at least one book per month. Now I can proudly say I read 22 books from start to finish in 2019. Before this I think I was reading maybe 1-3 books a year. (I’ll admit this post is a bit of a pat on the back for myself :))
Why read more?
I’ve always loved going to bookstores to flip through coffee table books, browse through fiction book covers, then taking home some “bargain buys” I just had to have. The problem always was I lacked motivation and lost interest in the books after the first day or two of reading.
Probably like most of you, I was always told, from multiple sources, how good reading was. I was told that smart and successful people tend to read a lot. However even if I was eventually able to conjure the motivation to start and finish a book, it would normally drain me of my will to pick up another book once I finished. So after begrudgingly finishing one book I would take multiple months to refill my will power reservoir to pick up another book.
How I managed to read more
Setting a specific goal
In the past I tried challenging myself to read more but always seemed to fail. I think one of the reasons was not being specific or reasonable enough in setting my goal. So setting a goal to just one book a month was perfect for me. It was specific enough that at towards the end of a month I could easily say “I am meeting my goal” or “I am failing”. This gave me the extra little motivation to, if I hadn’t made progress on a book, make it a priority and sit down to read a book instead of doing other time wasting activities.
Tracking my progress
In 2019 I also started keeping a bullet journal (this is the video that got me started). In this journal I wrote a special note on the day I finished a book. Doing this seemingly small act gave me a nice little dopamine hit. As the number of books I read started to accumulate the easier it became to pick up the next book.
Exploring new genres
Normally I only read biographies and tech books (coding principles and books about tech companies). But during this challenge I didn’t really stick to any specific genre I just found any book that looked good or people were recommending and started essentially building a mini library at home. Then I could easily just pick one up and start reading. I purposefully didn’t keep an ordered backlog of books because I didn’t want reading to feel like a chore or TODO list I wanted mystery and excitement in the next book I picked to read.
What I used to read
I used everything. When in a car or mowing the lawn, I used an audio book. When in bed after the wife and kid were asleep I used my Kindle Paperwhite. On a Saturday or Sunday morning with a cup of coffee holding a physical book was best. While killing time instead of scrolling through social media feeds the eBook on my phone wasn’t too bad, but definitely my least favorite.
Obviously it’s not very economical to buy every form of a book. So usually I would just buy the physical book, my favorite medium. Every now and then I would splurge and also get the eBook or audio book of a physical copy I already owned. Pro Tip: For most classic books, i.e. old books, you can actually get a legal free version of the eBook and audiobook on sites like librivox. They even have a mobile apps for ease of use.
If you too want to read more or have set a new years resolution to read more here is what I found really helped me:
- Set a very specific and reasonable goal.
- Track your progress.
- Mix up the type and genre of books you read.
- Don’t limit yourself to one medium. i.e. use eBooks, physical books, and/or audio books. They all have their time and place.
After seeing the list and picture of books I read this past year I feel so accomplished and motivated to read even more this new year. Almost at the end of January but I’ll be making a new post here shortly of my new year resolutions for 2020.
Some related resources
- Quora - how many books does the average American read per year
- Really eye opening info, even if it isn’t 100% accurate I’m sure it is close, about how many books the average person reads.
- I Read 100 Books in 100 Weeks
- I really like the insightful idea he presents at timestamp 1:20-3:10. The video at hole is good too.
- BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content
- Realy fun and motivational 30ish minute movie about books, bookstores, and reading.
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