One of my resolutions for 2018 was to read 40 books in the year. In the first few days of January I felt a lot of pressure to get started and read as fast as I could since I had no idea if 40 was an accurate or reasonable goal for me. Now that 2018 is over, I can very happily say that I surpassed my goal and read a total of 49 books last year! (Oh how I wish I could have gotten to a nice round 50!) Along the way I picked up a few new habits that have helped me seriously increase my reading time. If you're thinking of starting a reading challenge, here are my top tips on how to win that bet against yourself.
Always Have Your Next Book Lined Up
The easiest way I've found not to lose momentum is to always have a book or two lined up for when I'm finished whatever I'm reading. When I get about halfway through a book I start planning what I'm going to read next. Sometimes I already have a book waiting on my shelf that I picked up at a launch or on a spontaneous book store trip, but sometimes this means going to the library and taking something home before I finish my current book. This way I avoid the slump between books and don't waste a single moment moving from one book to another.
I used to read primarily in bed at night but I quickly found that I would never finish this challenge if I relegated reading to one part of my day. This reading challenge changed some of my lifestyle habits since I had to incorporate reading into new parts of my life in order to reach my goals. For example, during a lunch break from work, I used to watch an episode of something on Netflix. Instead, now I read. This habit has transferred into other aspects of my life as well, mainly by replacing TV-time with reading time. Instead of watching TV in the bath or after dinner, I pick up a book instead. I've also gotten back into the habit of bringing books with me when I go out so I can read in waiting rooms and on subways instead of playing mindless games on my phone.
Use The Library
The library was (and still is) a godsend. Every so often I log into my account and place all the books on my current reading list on hold. Whether I'm first or 500th on the list, there is always a roster of free books heading in my direction at one speed or another. If I had to buy every single book I read, my bank account would soon force me to give up these challenges. Placing a lot of books on hold means that there's pretty much always something available when I need it, which helps me to make sure I follow tip #1. Also, the inherent due dates that come with library books for me to read quickly.
I’m really happy that I met and surpassed my reading goals for 2018 with the help of these tricks. For 2019, I’m stepping it up, but only very slightly, with a goal of 50 books. I know this isn’t really an increase since I managed to read 49 last year, but I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up in 2019 that are going to reduce my reading time. Stay tuned for updates!