Whether it’s part of a New Year’s resolution or spur-of-the-moment lifestyle change, making a conscious decision to read more can be highly beneficial. Unfortunately, reading more books within the timeframe we have to work with might be easier said than done, given how busy life keeps us—unless of course you employ the right strategy. Let’s take a look at a few tips and techniques that are sure to help you develop sustainable reading habits.
Create an Annual Reading List
Like many other goals, putting pen to paper to document your intentions and progress will significantly increase your chances of success. Drafting an annual reading list is a great way to give you direction to accomplishing this rather broad goal.The best approach is to sit down one afternoon and curate a list of works that you’d like to read over the coming year. If you’re particularly organized, you can subdivide your list to include different topics, genres or authors. Doing so will help to keep your reading material varied , which can be particularly helpful if you have a wide range of interests.
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules about your annual reading list. It’s more than acceptable if you list novels recommended by family and friends, or if you create a list full of the works of literary giants, such as Faulkner, Steinbeck or Poe. In order to read more, you have to ensure you’re interested in the material you’ve chosen.
Read Several Books at a Time
To most people, it makes to finish one book before starting another. If you think about it, this approach isn’t necessarily the best one to take if your goal is to read more. For example, if you get bored with a book and need a break, you might simply not read anything else during that time. There are a few different things you can try to ensure that you always have the option of reading something different when you need a change.
● Designate a specific time to read each day. If you’re reading more than one book at a time, it’s easy enough to alternate what you read during your designated reading time each day.
● Leave books in some of your favourite reading places. Nightstands and bathrooms are obvious choices, but make sure you also keep a book on the end table in your living room as an alternative to binge-watching a new television series. Try also keeping one on your desk at work so you can read during breaks and lunch. You never know when you’ll find a few minutes to get through a few pages.
● Give yourself a deadline. While it doesn’t have to be a hard deadline, assigning yourself a timeframe within which to complete a novel (or any other reading material) will help to hold yourself accountable and likely help you achieve your goals.
Use Every Spare Minute You Have To Read
If you leave enough books scattered around, there’s really no excuse for having nothing to do. If you consciously make the effort to read whenever a spare moment presents itself, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be shopping online for more books to read.
Gradually Increase Your Reading Speed
Of course, there is something to be said for savouring the books that you read. Reading is a journey, and one of the key outcomes of the journey is taking what you read and mulling it over, considering things like thematic plots, character development and so forth. This isn’t always easy to do if you’re intent on reading as much as possible, however, increasing the pace at which you read may help. Reading faster doesn’t mean falling for gimmicks, it simply means training your brain to gradually increase your reading pace over time.
● Try reading without the use of your inner voice. While this is the way most of us were taught to read, as an adult who has been reading for years, you likely no longer need to “say” the words in your head in order to understand what you’re reading. Try to simply scan a sentence or two rather than sounding out the words in your mind.
● Chunk words together. Even though we’re taught to read one word at a time, the human brain can actually process several words simultaneously. Rather than reading at the pace established in our youth, we can take advantage of “word chunking” (the act of grouping several words together) to more quickly consume content.
● Consider timing yourself. Set a timer for an arbitrary time, see how many pages you can read in the elapsed time, then try to break that record. You’d be surprised at how this simple approach can help you increase the speed at which you read.
Read The Kinds of Books You Actually Enjoy and Avoid the Ones You Don’t
Have you ever noticed that the books you love tend to end too quickly? That’s because you can’t stop yourself from reading something that you really like. Be mindful of the different types of books you enjoy and stick with them. Doing so will help you reach your reading goals. The opposite can be said for the books you’ve come to dislike. If you’re 50 pages into a novel and you’re not feeling it, don’t force yourself to slog through the next 200 out of some misplaced obligation. If you don’t like it, you don’t like, and that’s okay. You’ve given it a fair shake so it’s time to put it aside and get back to the types of books you actually want to read.
Ultimately, if you want to read more, just read more. Habitual reading will certainly help you achieve your goal of reading more books, but it will also improve your vocabulary and expand your knowledge on various subjects. If you’re ready to begin that journey, check out BookOutlet.com to find your next favourite book.