Stay away from the calculator on your phone. If you want to get anything done, ignore it as best you can.
Consistency, and the results that come with it, are easy to attain so long as you do one thing: not look up. Here’s what I mean. When I actively started reading more last year, I kept it simple. I set a goal to complete two books a month. That’s it. So long as I did that, the month was a win.
And because I was reading physical books and listening to audiobooks, the number was fairly easy to reach. If anything, it was fun and energizing.
However, had I set a goal to read 100+ books within two years, I highly doubt I would be writing this article. The number would have been far too overwhelming. So here’s a little piece of advice for anyone looking to read more: focus on today. Read today. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
Now, onto the lessons I’ve learned from all that reading.
I write better
My writing has improved a great deal because I’ve read so much. Not only do I have more examples to pull from, but I am able to weave them together to form tips and tactics for you as well. Physical books have helped me write clearer sentences. Audiobooks have helped me write simpler sentences.
Like anything, my writing still has a ways to go, but reading has certainly helped it improve.
I think better
It’s hard to read that many books and not be exposed to new ideas. Especially because the books I completed were all new to me. No repeats.
For every book I come across, I go into it with an open mind. I start the basis of our relationship from a place of trust – trust that they are telling the truth, that they have something to share, and that they have written something worth reading.
I let their ideas seep into my brain. And many, many times they’ve changed the way I see life. Reading has changed my thinking on so many topics.
I have better relationships
I follow my curiosity when it comes to reading. If a book piques my interest, I dive in. Relationships are one of those areas. Through the books I’ve consumed, I’ve gained new ways of cultivating relationships. From what a healthy, positive, mutually beneficial one looks like, to how to help those around me.
Reading has taught me how to be a better friend, husband, father, and person.
I have better health
Nutrition is another area I’ve spent a lot of time reading about. Through reading, I’ve learned all about how the body processes different foods. I’ve since changed my diet (several times) and have continued to feel better, act better, and do better.
Reading has taught me how to be healthier.
I have grown
I could continue to list out each area of interest and how I’ve improved in it because of reading, but that’s not necessary. You get it, right? The gist is, reading has changed my life dramatically. From my mental health to my business, it has taught me profound lessons in humanity.
So I’m a better version of me today than I was a couple years ago. Great. But how does that help you? Hopefully, you see the power of reading. Maybe you even want to grab a few books and get started today. Here are some tips that will help.
You don’t have to read a book a week
Seriously. That was not my intention when I first set my reading goal. Remember, I simply intended to complete two books a month. Because I found it so easy to get through them (particularly audiobooks), getting to one a week was relatively simple. It was the amount I completed each month naturally. No extra effort required.
So when deciding how much to focus on, start small. Once you find your natural pace you can adjust.
It doesn’t have to cost you much (or any) money
Books can get expensive. But they don’t have to if you’re creative. At first, I asked for all of my books each year in December. For Christmas. Nearly all of my presents would be books. And not a dime would be spent by me. Holidays and birthdays are one option.
Audible is another option. I’m on the annual plan so I get all of my audiobook credits at a discount compared to the monthly plan.
My favorite option though, and my current go-to, is Libby. I get most of my books through Libby now. It’s entirely free because it runs through the library. I’ve written about Libby here if you want to learn more.
Follow your curiosity
You will never finish a book that you don’t want to read. You must read what speaks to you.
If an HR manual puts you to sleep, give it away. If that hot new novel bores you to tears, find something else. Read what you want. Not what you think you should read or what everyone praises so highly. If you follow your curiosity, reading will be easy. Because it won’t be “reading” like how it was when you were younger. It won’t be an assignment.
Rather, it will be stimulating. It will be like a drug that lights up your mind and changes your life for the better.
A word of warning though
Books aren’t for everyone. That goes for books in all of their forms. Books are my desired platform for learning, but that may not be true for you. Maybe for you it’s podcasts or courses or TED talks. If books don’t call to you, find something that does.
Oh and one more thing, prepare yourself for things to change.
There’s a quote that goes something like: A mind, once expanded, cannot return to its former way of thinking. I’d attribute that to its author but the internet seems to disagree on who said it first. The point though is that books will change your life.
They’ve changed mine for the better.
That said, be careful of what you put in front of your eyes. Know what you’re getting yourself into. And even though I said to go into books with an open mind, it’s always good to carry a bit of skepticism with you for good measure.