“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” (George RR Martin)
How many books did you read last year? 10? 15? Although most people acknowledge the amazing personal benefits of reading frequently, the average number of books that Americans read each year is 12; and 50% of Americans read less than 5 per year (source)!
In 2015, I accidentally found myself reading a lot. So much, in fact, that by June I had already read 50 books. At that point, I gave myself the huge and lofty goal to read 100 books that year. Shockingly, I accomplished that goal.
I know what you are thinking. No one who reads that much can have a life.
But here is the deal, I am married with two children. I have a full-time job outside of the home and a part time web-based job. I exercise nearly every day. My home is clean. And although you may not believe it, I actually sleep 8 hours a day. You can do this!
But how can I possibly come up with the time to read?
Here are my top eight tips:
1. Turn off the television.
Actually, just toss it. The average American watches five hours of television per day (source). Yes, five hours. Turn off the tube and open a book. You could read a book a day during those hours.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” (Groucho Marx)
2. Get off of social media.
The studies now say that adults spend over 50 minutes a day on Facebook alone (source). If you get to reading instead of Facebooking, you could turn 30+ pages.
“Distracted from distraction by distraction” (TS Eliot)
3. Make reading a daily habit.
I mark off on my habit tracker whenever I read 30 minutes during a day. My goal is to accomplish this feat every day. Get ideas for habit trackers here.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” (Richard Steele)
4. Set aside a reading day.
For me, Sunday is my reading day. I set aside most of the afternoon and evening for reading. I can typically finish one book during this time.
“People who say they don’t have time to read simply don’t want to.” (Julie Rugg)
5. Read digital books.
I love reading from my phone and iPad because my device is with me wherever I go. As an added bonus, I can download e-books from the library onto my device without ever leaving my home.
“Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.” (Douglas Adams)
6. Listen to your books.
I can get through about one book per month just by listening when I workout. It is easy, fun, and enlightening. If I had a long commute, I would be able to get through many more books.
“When you read a book, the story definitely happens inside your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes.” (Robin Sloan)
7. Tell your family members your goal.
Don’t let them distract you from a good book. Plus, being a dedicated reader encourages your children to read too!
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. (Jacqueline Kennedy O’Nassis)
8. Take advantage of your library.
Millions of free books are just waiting for you!
“When I got my library card, that’s when my life began” (Rita Mae Brown)
So, what are your thoughts? Will you make a lofty reading goal this year and then smash it!?