Does your New Year’s resolution involve reading more books? Whether you need to catch up on your required reading for school or you simply want to build a new productive habit, there are many things you can start doing today to help you get closer to your reading goals.
That stack of books sitting in front of you might seem intimidating now, but with a little planning and creativity, you’ll soon be anxiously awaiting your next great read.
Why Should You Read More?
Reading comes with a number of scientifically-proven benefits, from improving your memory to boosting your critical thinking skills.
Top leaders like Warren Buffett certainly know the power of good reading habits—Buffett claims to spend 80% of his day with his nose in a book!
Turning more often to books can be a great (and healthy) alternative to television, social media, and other vices. It’s also a fun way to learn something new and give your imagination a workout!
How to Read More Books: 15 Tips
Here are 15 tips to help you reach your reading goals.
1. Increase Your Reading Speed
Just as you can increase your typing speed, there are plenty of techniques out there that can help you to increase your reading speed.
And speed reading does not mean you have to sacrifice comprehension. Try some of our recommended speed reading techniques that will help you knock out more books in less time.
Now, let’s start by saying that not all activities pair well with reading. But, that being said, there are probably quite a few activities that you do throughout your day that can be performed with a book in hand.
Try squeezing in a few chapters while you eat breakfast, walk your dog, take a relaxing bath, or even hit the treadmill (just be careful to not get too distracted—I’ve seen some not-so-pretty things happen on treadmills!).
3. Find the Best Book Deals
If you’ve resolved to read more books this year, you probably want to do so in the least expensive way. Luckily, your options are wide open when it comes to tracking down free and inexpensive ebooks, print books, and audiobooks.
Start by searching for lightly used books on Amazon that have been marked down, or by hitting up your local library. And be sure to sign up for TCK’s book deals newsletter! All you have to do is enter your email address, tell us a little about the books you love, and we’ll send our editor’s top picks straight to your inbox, most of which are just $0.99 or less.
4. Schedule Reading Time
We know life can get busy. But one way to better ensure that you actually find time to read is by making time. Take a look at your schedule for each day. Find a gap (even 15–30 minutes will do) that you can dedicate entirely to reading.
If you give your reading sessions the same level of priority as your other tasks (like your nail appointment or gym time), you’ll be more likely to actually follow through.
5. Set Goals
Having a clear goal in mind can help you to stay motivated and on track. Sure, reading “more” is a noble goal to have, but the more measurable your goals are, the more progress you’ll likely see. Try aiming for one hour a day, one book a week, two books a month, or whatever feels right for you.
6. Listen to Audiobooks
Unless you specifically set your sights on reading physical books, it’s not technically cheating if you prefer to listen to your favorite reads!
Think about it: sure, someone else will do the actual reading for you, but you’ll still soak up all that knowledge, and you can do so while you drive, cook, or do just about anything!
Check out our list of the 10 best sites to find free audiobooks so you can listen to all the books you want without breaking the bank.
7. Join a Book Club
Book clubs are a great way to discover amazing new books and connect with other readers. But since book clubs tend to come with deadlines (you’ll all need to read the book by a certain date in order to discuss it together), you’ll be held accountable for your progress.
8. Take Breaks
OK, so you’re really excited about your resolution to read more—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your eyes a break! Whether you’re reading a print book or an ebook, make sure you have adequate lighting to reduce the strain on your eyes.
Don’t try to read all through the night, or neglect your health or responsibilities in order to keep reading. Dedicating yourself to reading more is a worthy pursuit, but it’s no fun if it starts to feel like a job. Take breaks and give yourself time to reflect on what you’ve read.
9. Replace Bad Habits with Books
If you’ve got a few habits you’d like to kick, reading might offer a great substitute or distraction. Whether you want to quit smoking, scrolling through social media, or shopping online, reach for a book the next time you feel that urge.
10. Track Your Progress
Whenever you set a measurable goal, having a way to track your progress can be extremely helpful and can also serve as a motivator.
You can choose how to track your progress—whether you want to count pages, chapters, or books organized by genre—but keeping a spreadsheet with all the titles of the books you’ve read and your overall comments on each can help you remember how far you’ve come.
11. Try New Things
Spicing things up with new genres or authors every now and then can keep your reading journey interesting and prevent burnout.
If you’re only reading romance novels, for example, you’ll probably know how the story is going to end after the first 5 books. (But hey, if only romance novels are your thing, that’s cool too!)
12. Create a Reading Space
Just as you would for any workspace, creating a comfortable and cozy reading area that you’ll actually want to spend time in can make all the difference when it comes to reaching your goals. You can check out our post on how to create your own writing space for inspiration.
Make sure the area is clean, decluttered, and as free from distractions as possible. You might choose to play some soft music in the background, stock up on cozy throw blankets and pillows, and even bring a few snacks. Just try to avoid having the TV on or other loud noises.
13. Ditch Books You Don’t Like
If you find that you’re 20–30 pages into a book you hate, or one that’s doing a better job lulling you to sleep than sparking your imagination, you don’t have to read it!
Life is too short to read bad books! Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t read books by authors you don’t completely agree with, or that you shouldn’t branch out and try new genres. But don’t torture yourself and waster your time and energy on a book that’s just not doing it for you.
14. Use Your Commute Wisely
If you take the train, metro, or bus to work or school, make the most of that time. There’s not much else you can do, but while you might be tempted to reopen Instagram for the 97th time, take this opportunity to get some reading done.
And, as we’ve already mentioned, if you drive yourself to work, audiobooks are an excellent option. You can use that time to learn something new, or discover a world of adventure with your favorite fiction authors.
15. Join Reading Challenges
Joining a reading challenge can be a fun and engaging way to meet your reading goals and hold yourself accountable.
You’ll challenge yourself to read more, but also to read some books that you might not otherwise not pick up. Check out our list of 2020 reading challenges for some inspiration and guidelines,.
16. Find Good Recommendations
Finding good recommendations can make all the difference when it comes to finding books that you’ll actually want to commit your time to.
So, if you want to avoid wasting time with books you don’t like (see #13), turn to your friends, your local librarian, or a bookseller to find out what they’re reading.
Resolve to Read
Reading has the power to inform, entertain, and provide a window to the rest of the world (and beyond!). By aiming to read more books, you’ll do yourself a world of good while also opening yourself up to endless possibilities and adventures.
Not sure where to start? Check out our picks for the best books of 2019 to inspire your reading list.
What are your reading goals this year? How do you plan on reaching them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!