Last year I tried to read one book per week. And that wasn’t the only goal I set for my daily routine. I felt really motivated about being productive and told myself that I will get up early in the morning, read at least 30 minutes first thing in the morning, meditate, keep a daily journal, workout, and the list goes on.
I made monthly tracking charts to tick off the items I’ve completed. It felt really good and I was able to keep up with the routine for a couple of weeks. But soon enough my plan got interrupted by my old habits and I started to miss certain items on my list. I felt bad that I couldn’t keep up with my plan and lost my motivation quickly.
What was the problem?
The problem was I set a lot of goals and it put pressure on me. When I failed in one habit, it caused a chain reaction with other habits I want to build. I felt unsuccessful about them as well. To gain consistency, I needed to feel motivated and encouraged. Reading one book per week sounds very ideal but wasn’t doable for me. I needed to go minimal with my goal-setting.
I decided to set only one new goal every month and go minimal with the habits I want to maintain and it includes reading books. Reading books helps me to gain perspective on different subjects plus it helps me to relax and enjoy my day. I had no intention to let go of my reading habit. I just wanted it to be pressure-free. So I set a new goal:
Reading one book every two weeks
It turned out that reading 2 books a month was very doable. And if I read more, I feel extra motivated.
How to read more
Keeping my goal minimal really helped me to build a rhythm with my daily habits in general. There are also a few key behaviors I try to follow to read more. I learned some of them by experience and some of them by reading articles. You can adapt them to your own life if you think they will be any help:
- Bring your book with you wherever you go
We mostly grab our phones whenever we have time to kill. Carrying a book all the time is carrying your phone with you. You can instead grab your book and start reading.
- Don’t be afraid to skip the book you don’t enjoy
I’m not sure why but I needed to remind myself this sentence quite often: “You don’t have to finish a book that you don’t enjoy.” It takes hours to finish a book and we don’t have to spend our valuable time on something we don’t enjoy. The worst is when I push myself to finish a book that I don’t enjoy, I quit reading altogether. Nowadays, if I think a book is unpleasant, I let it go and pick another one that excites me.
- Try different genres and style
This is a great way to learn more about yourself and explore the World on different topics. You can try out reading autobiographies, poetry, science-fiction or history. Options are endless and they keep your interest alive.
- Listen to an audiobook
I don’t like listening to an audiobook. But if you enjoy listening to a book as much as reading it, it is a great alternative for you. When you don’t have time to read, try listening any chance you get; when you’re driving your car, waiting for a line, doing the housework, etc.
- Track the books you’ve read
I keep track of the books I’ve read for two reasons: The first reason is that it gets me motivated and the second reason is I forgot most of the content! I don’t know about you but I find myself forgetting the majority of a book’s content if it has passed a year since I’ve read it. I take notes for each book I read so whenever I want to refer to a book, I can check my notes and remember what I learned from that book.