It’s already August everyone so that means we only have 4 months left in 2017! How’s your reading goal coming along for this year? How many books did you plan to read at the beginning of the year and how many have you read so far?
If you’re like me then you’ve made awesome progress. My goal set in January was to read 18 books. So far I’ve finished 17 books, two of which I’m still in the process of writing reviews for so be sure to keep coming back to BookMattic and check those out when I post them.
I’m ahead of the game and I hope that you are too. I’m guessing that by the end of the year I’ll probably have read at least another 3 or 4 more books which would put me a few over my goal. Fantastic! You can do it too but know that it takes a lot of work to read that much so be sure that what you're reading is worth it.
In this post, I’ll give you 6 of the habits that I started using about a year ago to help increase my reading speed and immersing myself in the books that I read.
1. Set an exact time for reading every day.For those of you that don't have a lot of time in your day, which is probably most of you, whether it's school or work, probably find it hard to even fit 30 minutes in for reading. I find it hard too, but I still do it faithfully. Sometimes I even take my break time to read for 15 minutes. So think about your busy schedule and commit time, no matter how much, to fulfill your quota.
Some people find schedules to be helpful, for others not so much but for me, it's not so much about the schedule as it is for the amount of time.
Every day my schedule is a bit different but I always manage to read at least 30 minutes even if it's split up into 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there. 30 minutes isn't a whole lot, so if I find that I have some spare time I take it to read. If scheduling a reading slot into your schedule every day at the same time helps you to reach your goal then make an effort to do it.
This post is here to encourage you to work reading into your life since the outcome of reading every day is terribly beneficial to your well being and general happiness. You'll be amazed at how much progress you'll make towards your goal for 2017 and beyond if you focus on setting your reading schedule and never miss it.
2. Read what you've always enjoyed but explore new genres and authors you might grow to love later.This habit seems obvious but there's more to it than you think. I usually find a genre or an author that I love then go out and buy a few of their books.
I will eat those books up in nothing flat then move onto the next. But in order not to get bored with the same stuff over and over I will space my reading with a book from a different author or genre I've never read so that I can always be engaged in the reading experience and learn about the thousands of authors out there.
Don't get me wrong, it's nice to read works from authors that you enjoy the most but if you continually do this you might get bored after a while. I suggest that once in awhile you explore new authors and genres by picking out a book written by an author you've never read before.
This will keep your mind fresh and broaden your taste in reading materials. Of course, you can always go back to your favorite author later.
Here's an example of this from my own experience:
Before 2015 I had never read a nonfiction, business book or anything other than science fiction. It was starting to get boring reading the same type of story over and over.
So when my friend that I was living with at the time in Surabaya Indonesia moved back to the US, I got tons of books that he couldn't take back. Most of the books he gave me were fiction or nonfiction. I thought I didn't really care for the genres he gave me at the time but I decided to pick one up anyway after a few months of them sitting in my closet. It was called ‘The Places In Between’ by Rory Stewart and it changed my whole perspective on what kind of books I love reading.
The point is here that all of you reading this right now need to consider starting a new habit of reading books outside your comfort zone so you can enjoy the wide variety of writing styles and gain more knowledge at the same time.
3. Read more than one book at a time.Usually, people only read 1 or 2 books at a time. Now for me, I personally usually read 4 books at a time. That might seem crazy to you but it works for me. Here's how.
Main book 1 (fiction, science fiction or fantasy)
This is the book that I'll read the majority of the time. I'll make sure to pick it up at least once a day, therefore, it's the book that I usually finish before any of the others.
Main book 2 (business)
I read this book just as much as main book 1 since it's a different genre it doesn't confuse me or detract from the material of either book. I always make sure I'm reading something that will help me with gaining knowledge. It usually takes a longer time to finish this compared to main book 1 because I actually study, highlight and dog-ear the pages.
Secondary book 1 (older than 10 years from current date fiction, science fiction or fantasy)
I don't read this one as much as main book 1 or 2 but I do make sure to pick it up at least 2 or 3 times a week to make progress on it.
Secondary book 2 (non-fiction)
I mainly read this book to gain knowledge about a topic that I'm not too familiar with or a topic I want to improve on. In this category, I'll also include biographies or diaries of real people. I'll read this book about 2 times a week.
Many of you may disagree with this way of reading but keep in mind that everyone's brain works differently. If you're having trouble reaching your reading goals for the year then you might as well try this habit. Who knows, you might like it.
If the habit doesn't work for you then just scratch it and focus on what really works for you to increase your speed of reading and intake of knowledge.
4. If you've got spare time use it to read.It’s rare that we ever have a large block of time that we can read nonstop without being interrupted by someone or something. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just have a whole day just for reading? Well, that would be paradise if you ask me, but I never get a whole day for reading.
But what I do do is any chance I get to read I’ll take it. For example, if my wife all the sudden wants to go shopping or needs to go to the salon there’s a chance for me to read while waiting for her to get done. For some others, you might have an extra 10 minutes at work. Pick your book up and read! Take your book everywhere. Use every chance possible to get ahead. You might even have a holiday coming up where you’ll have plenty of chance to read.
I covered this a little bit in habit 1, but I thought it would be a beneficial habit on its own for you to reach your reading goals for 2017.
5. Keep track of your progress with Goodreads.Goodreads is an amazing tool for any type of reader. You can keep track of all the books that you’re currently reading or want to read, get book suggestions and so on, but for this habit 5 I want to talk specifically about keeping track of the progress in the book that you’re reading (If you use Kindle or any other type of e-reader then this habit isn’t as important since the device keeps track of your book progress for you.)
Some may ask, why I should keep track of my progress online when I have a bookmark? For me, it’s about the visualization. When I track the page that I’m on it shows me the percentage of how far I am through the book and thereafter motivates me to read the rest of the book faster. Give it a try at least for a Goodreads account and if you never end up updating your progress you at least have tons more things you can use the social book platform for.
6. Know what's next on your list.Let this habit be the last one since it’s so important for an avid reader. I never really thought about this one before but recently I found that having an idea for the next book in your queue and even a few books in line for after that will help you a lot to stay on track for your reading goal.
Planning ahead is smart in any case so apply it to your reading habit as well.
You've only got 4 months left to reach your reading goal. I hope some of these habits can help you reach your goal and beyond.
Leave a comment to let me know how your goals are coming along.