Seven ways to read more books and hit your New Year’s Resolution this year

With New Year’s Day closing in quickly, many of us have resolved to read more books. For some, this may look like the 52-book challenge (a book a week,) while for others, it might be a modest three books for the entirety of the year.

Whatever your goal is, I thought I’d share my tips on how to stay committed and (hopefully) achieve the resolution you set out to complete:

1.) Mix up your genres.

Most of us read deeply, but how many of us read widely? You may be polishing of your 18th sci-fi novel for the year, but it couldn’t hurt to branch out a little. Not only will this make you a better reader and human being, it’ll also break up the monotony and help you achieve your goal.

2.) Mix up your mediums.

Similar to number one. Variety is the spice of life- it’s a cliche for a reason. So why not shake up your reading routine? Listen to an audiobook while on a long drive, read a few pages of a great business book on your Kindle on the bus, and settle down with a paperback just before bed.

3.) Read two books at once.

This borders on sacrilege for many, but for me, it’s always worked. When you hit a rut in one book, it helps to switch books and keep moving forward (rather than picking up your phone or watching Netflix.) The key is to read two books that are thematically different enough that you don’t confuse the stories in your head.

4.) Create a ritual.

It doesn’t hurt to designate at least some specific time to reading every day. Perhaps you’ll commit to reading one poem before bed. Maybe you’ll assign 15-minutes of your lunch break to cracking open the new bestseller. In any event, create a routine and stick with it.

5.) Don’t be afraid to throw in the towel.

If there’s a book that’s truly abysmal, don’t be afraid to give up on it. A good litmus test for determining whether you should give in can be answered with a simple question: do you dread reading? (Tip number three is good for this!) If you’re actively avoiding reading because the book you’re in is such a slog, it’s okay to move on.

6.) Conversely, occasionally punch above your weight, in the literary sense.

Does Ulysses feel insurmountable to you? Does Moby Dick seem to be a behemoth of a book that you could never read cover-to-cover? Do it anyways. Glean what you can and give yourself permission to not “get” all of it. *No one* actually “gets” all of it.

7.) Don’t compare yourself to others.

It’s best to not view reading as a competition. If you’re reading and thinking deeply about your reading, every book is value-added. So check your ego at the door. Toward that end, if it’s getting in your way, delete your Goodreads account.

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That’s all I’ve got! I hope this list helps someone achieve their resolution in 2020. As always, happy reading!

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