Habit Spotlight: Reading

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I’ve been in a huge reading mood lately. There’s something special about getting lost in another world, another story. Bookstores are, by far, some of my favorite places to visit whenever possible (besides coffee shops, of course). There’s something magical about stepping into a bookstore and being overwhelmed by the endless possibilities and stacks upon stacks of books.

Growing up, I was definitely a reader. I preferred curling up with a good book instead of watching TV. My parents are also huge readers so being surrounded by books was not out of the ordinary for our family. We frequently stopped at the library and I joined summer reading competitions more than once.

In high school, I opted for Honors English, in which one of the requirements was to read 50 books in an academic year. Although this might sound overwhelming to some, I never shied away from a challenge.

Then college came. The habit of reading for fun was only practiced during the summer months. During the academic months, I hardly had time to pick up a book for PLEASURE. The books I read were related to my courses, and although some were interesting, most were text-books.

I’d sometimes study in bookstores because I loved the atmosphere and being surrounded by books. I’d see all of new releases and couldn’t wait until summer to read for fun again. At this time, audiobooks weren’t as popular as they are now so listening to a book wasn’t something I even thought of.

Fast forward a few years and the love for reading is still there. This year my goal is to read at least 35 books (not Honors English level, but I’ll get there!). I use Goodreads to track my progress and books I want to read. The hardest part was getting back into the habit of reading daily, and when I did sit down to read, the constant distraction of my phone seemed to always be hindering my progress.

Here are a few ways I’ve made reading part of my everyday routine so I crawl closer and closer to my goals:

  1. Set a timer. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time (even 10 minutes will do), but this helps me stay focused on reading when I know I’m being timed. It also eliminates the urge to check my phone every 5 minutes.
  2. Schedule the time. Sounds obvious, but finding the time to focus on reading is half the battle. Select time in your schedule when you’re the most likely to read, and plan on it. Don’t say you’ll “find time,” but actually schedule the time into your routine so it has a timeframe.
  3. Listen to audiobooks. Some say audiobooks don’t count toward your reading goal, but I’m in the camp that they definitely do. Yes, you can easily get distracted listening to a book while doing other things, so learning when to listen helps with that. For example, I only listen to audiobooks when doing something mindless that doesn’t require my full attention (i.e., doing my makeup, folding clothes, walking on the treadmill).
  4. Use Goodreads. Goodreads has honestly motivated me to stay on track on reading because I can update my progress and visually see how much of the book left to go. I also set my yearly reading goal on there so I can see how close I am to reaching it.
  5. Quit a book if it’s not for you. There are SO many awesome books out there that if you start a book and it doesn’t thrill you, quit it. Seriously. Don’t waste your time dragging through a book when there is a plethora of choices out there waiting for you!
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