In this day and age, we’re in no short supply of media, whether YouTube videos, social media feeds, TV and movies, or the latest articles on what insanity U.S. politics is up to. Picking up a physical book and sitting down to read may seem like your last choice of entertainment or like some nightmare from your school days. Or it could be what you’re aching to do, but just can’t seem to make it a habit. If making reading goals and actually keeping them are part of your new year’s resolutions, then here are some tips to make it happen in 2018.
Rethink How You Read
It’s 2018. Reading doesn’t have to mean sitting down with a hardcover book. While tangible books are still awesome and totally worth supporting, ebooks and audiobooks are also AMAZING ways to experience a book.
Ebooks are fantastic for long trips as you can carry tons of books on your phone or tablet. It’s easy to whip out a book and read a chapter while sitting in a waiting room or grabbing a bite to eat by yourself. Your library also probably offers a wider selection of ebooks that you can check out through apps like Overdrive, which makes getting books that much more convenient.
Audiobooks are the best if you’re like me and have lost the ability to read in the car because it makes you feel sick. Pop your headphones in or cue it up in your car and you’ve got hours of entertainment. It’s also a great way to calm down before bed; many audiobook players have settings for having it automatically stop after a set length of time. Basically, audiobooks are a great way to read while you do other things like working out, cleaning, commuting to work, et cetera.
For me, embracing a variety of book formats has made a huge difference in my reading experience and how many books I read.
Work Reading Into Your Lifestyle
My good reading habits started by initially setting aside some time at night before bed to read. Sometimes I’d even wake up early and read for thirty minutes. If I picked up a really good book, I’d read during the day as well. Then I started to carry books around with me, making use of my penchant for large purses and bags. This summer, I even became so comfortable with the NYC subway system that I could read during my daily commute. I’ve also been known to read while standing in the pit waiting for a concert to start.
Incorporating reading into my daily life is an incredibly important part of not only making reading a habit but enabling me to read A LOT of books. While just getting in the groove of reading before bed or another specific part of the day is great, becoming someone who carries a book with them everywhere not only makes waiting rooms and long lines more enjoyable but leads to you consuming a fair amount of books.
Use Apps to Keep You on Track
As an only child, I’m more likely to be competitive with myself than with someone else. I also have a huge love for recording data and analyzing it. This has led me to nurture my reading habits through a variety of apps.
Goodreads: It’s basically Facebook for books. I recommend it for beginners as you can grow your to-read list with ease and start a Goodreads Reading Challenge. To me, this app is like having the bumpers raised on your bowling lane: you have to do be extremely bad to get even close to failing.
Litsy: A friend introduced me to this app this year and I quite enjoy it as it’s worlds different than Goodreads. It’s basically Instagram for books and the way you rate books is far less harsh than the ratings you might run across on Goodreads.
Bookling: If you need a little more encouragement to keep up your reading habits, this app is great. With fun achievement awards, the ability to set goals and reminders, and progress trackers that show your average reading pace, it’s a kind way to keep up with your daily reading habits.
Leio: For you hardcore readers (like me), this app is the bomb diggity. You can time your reading sessions and the app will predict how much longer it will take you to read the book. You can set a date to finish reading and it will tell you how much time and how many pages you need to set aside each day. With all the data it acquires, it can show you how much you’ve read over different periods of time. I’ve found it especially helpful when trudging through harder or longer books.
Excel Spreadsheet: If you’re a bit old school and love data, using an Excel spreadsheet to manage what you’ve already read and planned what you want to read in the future is fantastic. I especially love sitting down at the end of the year and critiquing different facets of my reading habits from gender and race of authors to money spent on books to genres read to the total number of pages. This is a great way to reflect on your reading habits so you can determine what to change in the future.
Don’t Let Poor Reading Phases Break Good Habits
I’ve gone through several phases of not wanting to read or struggling to read at my usual pace. Sure, they’ve led to months where I read fewer books, but they didn’t cause me to stop reading forever. Don’t let a busy period of life or poor mental health wreck what wonderful reading habits you’ve established. Everyone needs to take a break sometimes. And picking up an enticing book will make getting back into your groove all the easier.
Like many habits, it takes a while to find out what works best for you. Hopefully, this list will help you reduce the amount of trial and error you go through. In the meantime, happy reading!