Today I want to talk about a big goal that I accomplished recently.
Last year i set out to read 50 books in 365 days, and I was able to do it!
I read as often as I have time to, but this was still far more books than I’d previously read in one year.
Now, by some readers’ standards 50 books in one year isn’t a lot, but I was impressed with myself being able to read this many books while training for a marathon, planning a wedding, and working full time.
Here are a few ways I was able to maximize my reading time, and make progress towards my goal even with a hectic schedule.
Bring a book everywhere you go
We’ve all had to endure unexpected delays or wait times for things.
Luckily, with modern technology most of us are able to stay amused or pass the time on the Internet or playing around on our phones, but having a book on you during that time can make a big difference when it comes to reaching your reading goals.
I usually try to keep a book with me when I know I’ll have downtime, like when I’m getting on a plane or going to be waiting at the dentist’s office.
While trying to meet my reading goal last year, I started to become very aware of times that I could’ve been reading, but wasn’t able to because I didn’t have a hard copy book or one loaded onto my phone.
It was at that point that I started to carry a book with me wherever I went, even if I didn’t think I’d have time to pull it out.
I ended up having a lot more additional reading opportunities than I expected, so always having the book there allowed me to capitalize on those moments and, therefore, get further ahead in my goal
Use audiobooks and e-readers
So, I’m very much one of those people who doesn’t like to read books on electronic devices.
However, I decided to make an exception to help me meet my goal last year, and it did prove to be very effective.
For some reason it is actually socially acceptable these days to ignore others to stare at your phone, but if you pull out a book in a public setting you get a lot of weird looks and are deemed antisocial.
I don’t understand this, but there are a lot of other social “norms” that baffle me, so I decided to get a couple of books on my phone and in those very situations I was able to read quietly to myself without “disturbing” others by whipping out a few-hundred-page book and slapping it on top of a table.
I also made good use of my two hour round-trip commute by listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work.
Not only did my drive go by much faster those days, but I was able to get through even more books.
I was worried my attention span or retention level wouldn’t be as great when listening to a book rather than actually seeing the words, but I got really into the stories and, especially when there were talented narrators, the book stuck in my mind just as it would if I had read a hard copy
Set aside time to read each day – and stick to it
Saying you are going to read every day is one thing, but actually following through with that is another.
At the end of my workdays my brain tends to be exhausted, as do my eyes after staring at a computer screen for hours on end.
I often find myself getting lazy when it comes to reading, but because I had a goal to work towards last year I really made myself commit to nightly reading before bed.
Promising myself I was going to do so, and then actually pushing myself to do it, really helped me stick to reading on a regular basis.
Replace screen time (and other activities) with reading
Like I mentioned, I’m very tired when I get home from work.
A lot of times all I want to do, and all that I end up doing, is binging mindless TV series.
It’s much easier to stare at a screen and not have to think much, especially when you’re mentally overexerted, but it’s not nearly as rewarding as sitting down and reading a book after a long day.
In order to make time for reading in my busy schedule, I had to swap out a few other things.
Late night TV watching was one of those things, but I didn’t miss it much once I got into reading at night before bed.
I was actually much more relaxed on nights when I skipped my teen dramas for a novel, and found that my mind was a lot calmer, as well.
Share your goals and progress with others
This is a common method for trying to stick to goals; when you share your aspirations with others, not only are you holding yourself accountable, you have an outside source that’s holding you accountable as well.
By sharing my reading goal with friends and family, I was even more motivated to make it happen.
Whenever I was asked how the reading was going, it was a friendly reminder to me that I had to keep going.
In a way, my telling others that I would read 50 books in one year was me speaking it into reality, and after that it was up to me to keep that statement honest.
The bottom line is that, even though we all have so much going on in our lives, there is always time to do what we love or what we truly want to accomplish.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to read so much last year, and I learned a few new ways to make reading more present in my life.
If you really want to make something happen, like reading a certain number of books in a year, all you have to do is take that plunge and fully commit to it.
Make the time to read, and then stick to it. Always have some form of a book with you, and use all of the extra time you have to read that book. And, of course, make sure you are enjoying what you’re reading.
There’s no shame in closing a book that just isn’t doing anything for you after 50-100 pages.
Reading is a way for us to gain knowledge but it’s also a form of escape for a lot of us.
If it starts to feel like a chore or if you find yourself dreading opening up a certain book, it’s time to cut your losses and move on to the next one.
I discovered so many wonderful and touching stories last year, and I can’t wait to discover more this year.
Happy reading, and I hope these tips help you maximize your book-devouring potential
Comment below to let me know some other ways you’re able to meet your reading goals. <3 🙂