For 2021, one of my goals was to read 36 books… and I failed. So I made the same goal for 2022 and I want to make sure that I reach my goal this year. But it’s already late February, and I’ve only read two books so far! At this rate, I will not be able to read all 36 books by the end the year. So I’m implementing some new strategies to help me in my mission!
I can easily spend all of my time browsing digital bookstores, organizing my bookshelves, or daydreaming about completing my Goodreads challenge before I realize that I haven’t done any actual reading! Even though I enjoy reading, I still sometimes find it hard to sit down and open a book. Sometimes it feels like a very boring chore, and other times it just feels like a less important task than other items on my to-do list.
So to remedy this problem, I’m going to try to implement three new strategies to increase the amount that I read each day, and to motivate me to read more.
First, I want to build the habit of reading each night before bed. Second, I also want to build the habit of reading each morning when I first wake up. Third, I’m going to motivate myself by committing to posting book reviews on this blog every Friday. I’ve detailed my reasoning and my plan of action for each of these items below, so keep reading if you’d like to hear more about these strategies!
Strategy #1: Read Before Bed
One of the things that has deterred me from reading books in bed is how physically uncomfortable it can be. Even though I have a side table with a lamp, I still sometimes feel like I don’t have enough light. I often lose my bookmark or my glasses in the blankets and my arms get tired holding up a heavy book. And if I fall asleep while reading, I always lose my page! I’m aware that these are all very small first-world problems. But since I’m trying to establish a new habit of reading every night, I need to remove as much discomfort and as many excuses as possible that might prevent me from following through.
To remedy these problems, I am going to try to read an e-book on my phone before bed each night. I have the Kindle App on my phone so I can easily access all of my e-books. Since I tend to check social media before bed anyways, it’ll be easy for me to switch over to the Kindle App to squeeze in a bit of reading. And holding a backlit phone in one hand is much easier than propping open a physical book at the correct angle to catch the light, so the physical discomfort will be mostly eliminated. Another great thing about digital reading is that even if you fall asleep, your page is automatically saved.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to stay focused on a book when you start to get sleepy. So I’m not going to be attempting to read large sections or for a certain duration of time. I’ll be satisfied if I’m able to read a few pages or even a short chapter each night before I fall asleep. Small progress is still progress!
Strategy #2: Read When I Wake Up
Pregnancy has really messed with my sleep schedule and since I no longer wake up at a fixed time like I used to, I don’t really have a proper morning routine any more. In the good old days when I would get up at 5:30am, I would set aside time for journaling, exercise and of course reading, and I would actually get quite a bit of reading done during these times. I also had a morning commute by bus that afforded me even more reading time.
Now, I’m lucky to get up by 7:30, and I don’t bother trying to do the whole lifestyle-guru-perfect-morning-ritual thing anymore. Instead, I stumble over to the couch, sleep deprived with an aching back, and check social media and play mobile games until I’m hungry enough to make myself breakfast. It’s not a very productive way to spend my mornings, and I’m finally feeling ready to change that. (Although that might change again once I get into my third trimester…we’ll see…)
I’m probably still going to check my notifications when I wake up, but instead of playing video games or watching YouTube all morning, I’m going to try to spend some uninterrupted time reading before breakfast. I can watch YouTube while I eat, and I can still play video games later in the day, but if I don’t do my reading first, I probably won’t do it at all. I’m not really one to schedule a random hour out of my afternoon to just sit and read, so it’s better for me to do it first thing in the morning before I get distracted by all of the day’s tasks.
I tried it out this morning and I was able to read for about 40 minutes straight! And I was still able to play games and watch YouTube during breakfast. I think if I just focus on the habit of reading rather than the whole production of a morning routine, then I will be much more successful in reading more each day.
Strategy #3: Publish Book Reviews Every Friday
You may have noticed that for the last two weeks, I’ve posted book reviews on my blog on Friday. That was not a coincidence! I recently came across an article about how to grow your blog and one of the tips was to schedule posts in advance, because it would force you to meet the deadline and get content up on your blog no matter what.
I thought it was intimidating but interesting advice, and I realized that I could use that tip to not only help me post more regularly on this blog, but to also reach my reading goals, if the blog post I was scheduling was a book review!
I’m still too scared to actually schedule my posts with a specific time and date (because sometimes it takes me all night to get a blog post finished), but on my social media calendar, I have all of my Fridays marked as “book review days.” Having the weekly Friday deadline will definitely motivate me to follow through with my morning and evening reading habits every day so that I can finish books in time to review them.
And since I’m still learning how to craft better book reviews, I hope that sticking to this posting schedule will not only help me grow my blog but also help me to become a better reviewer. You can check out all of my book reviews here!
So these are the strategies that I will be using to reach my goal of reading 36 books in 2022! I’m really hopeful that working on these habits will help me to establish a regular reading routine and keep my momentum going.
What strategies do you use to read more or to help you reach your reading goals? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!