The first week of the year is over and I imagine those of you who’ve made New Year’s resolutions have managed to keep them thus far. If one of those resolutions was to read more books this year, here are seven tips that might just help keep you from falling off the proverbial wagon:
- Read books you actually like. If you’re just getting into the reading groove, you’ll find you haven’t got a lot of reading endurance. Aim to start off reading the sort of thing you enjoy reading and find easy to pick up. Don’t be embarrassed those books aren’t as sophisticated as you might like people to think you are.
- Wait to read harder books until you build up some momentum. This is related to point one. Reading books works a bit like physical exercise. You’ll need to start with less weight and work your way up. Once you establish a habit of reading, it’ll be easier to sneak tougher books into the lineup without your lazy-side noticing.
- Don’t be afraid to give up on a book (at least for now) if you don’t like it. When you first start trying to read more, it’s easy to get bogged down by a book that isn’t as good as you were hoping. This can easily bring your reading progress to a grinding halt if you’re not careful. There’s no shame in deciding to finish a book later, or even never. Just make sure you pick another one up in its place.
- Read a little, even if you don’t feel like it. You get home from work and the last thing you feel like doing is reading a book. It sounds too much like work. This is the old, “don’t try it ‘till you’ve knocked it” approach and it’s quite deadly. Commit yourself to reading a small section—perhaps just 4 pages—before you give up. You may find that some tune with a good book is just the kind of relaxation you needed.
- Consider reading more than one book at a time. I am currently in the middle of six books; five of them are actually getting the attention they deserve. You may want to start with just two: a fiction book and a non-fiction book. If you have a couple of books going, you can read one when you don’t feel like reading the other. Perhaps have a theology book going for edification and a fiction book for personal enjoyment. I do this all the time and it gives me something to read even when I don’t feel up for the mental gymnastics involved in reading a puritan.
- Don’t despise slow progress. So you sit down to read your 400 page book for half an hour and you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything. Don’t worry about it. Your reading speed will increase the more you read. There’s no use getting all discouraged. If you really feel, though, like you’ve been in the same book forever and aren’t getting anywhere, consider implementing tip #5.
- Consider getting some accountability. This might sound weird but I really don’t mean you should join some sort of Illiterate’s Anonymous. But you might consider joining a book club or reading a book with even just one other person. I’d suggest doing this with people who are already established readers, though, so you don’t run into a case of the blind leading the blind.
People sometimes assume that I’m a natural reader and I just love books. That’s not actually the case. I didn’t start to love reading until about five years ago. These tips, which I’ve acquired from a variety of sources, are a big part of how I read as much I do—which admittedly isn’t as much as I’d like.
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This article was posted on 01/09/2015 . It relates to these topics: