In different seasons of my life, I’ve struggled to prioritize reading.
When I was in PA school, I didn’t have the mental capacity to partake in reading for pleasure. I was already spending the majority of my day reading textbooks, scouring powerpoint slides, and listening to lectures over and over and over again. My brain didn’t have enough storage for medicine reading and fun reading at the same time. And that is OKAY! Knowing your limits in every season you walk through is important, and stress can impede us from doing a lot of things we may want to do but don’t necessarily have the wherewithal to do. But now that I am practicing medicine and am only working 12 12-hour shifts/month. I have a lot more free time to do the things I want to do! Isn’t that a beautiful thing!?!
In 2020, my goal was to read 12 books in 12 months, and I thought that was a fairly easy goal. Yet, I only read 10 books (womp womp). If you’re interested, I talk more about goals in my blogpost Goals I Didn’t Accomplish in 2020 That I Hope to Accomplish in 2021, give it a read! But this year in 2021, my goal is to become a more avid reader. Realizing it doesn’t matter how many books I read in a year, but rather what reading books says about me. I want it to be a part of my person. I want to be a more avid reader. So my goal is simply to enjoy the books I am reading and get back into reading more for pleasure, not to check a box but for my own personal growth.
So here are just a few ways I reignited my fire for reading, and I believe you can too!
1. Read a Short, Captivating Book
If it’s been a while since you’ve read a book cover-to-cover, start with a small book to keep the momentum of reading going. It’s a manageable goal and not only will you feel accomplished after finishing it, if it’s good, you will likely feel the urge to pick up another one. It’s kind of like when you are paying off loans (bear with me, I’m not a financial guru), if you start with a few small ones and pay those off first, you will naturally feel empowered to take on some of the larger loans next. Start small with baby steps. Don’t choose Gone with the Wind or Anna Karenina right off the bat. Pick books that are short and sweet to get you back into reading!
2. Treat Reading Like a Multivitamin
Read a couple pages or a chapter, EVERY. DAY. By treating this like part of your daily regimen, it will slowly become a part of your daily regimen. You may even find yourself craving to read a book! Even on those days where you have a thousand things happening at once, taking just a few minutes to read a few pages will be that perfect escape that you need. You just have to get back into the saddle of doing it. It’s like muscle memory in sports, once you’ve done something a couple thousand times, it comes more naturally and doesn’t feel like a chore but more like a part of you.
3. Keep a List of TBR Books
I always have a list going of TBR (To-Be-Read) books. Why? So that when I finish one book, I already have in mind the next 10-15 books I want to read. If you keep a running list of a variety of books that you want to read based on suggestions by friends or posts you’ve seen on social, then picking another book won’t be such a daunting task. I use the app Goodreads to help keep me organized. You can follow me HERE! Track books you’ve read, current books you’re reading, and TBR books. I love it because it’s interactive and allows you to see what friends are reading too. But never be afraid of a TBR list! It will undoubtedly simplify your process of picking and choosing.
4. Read the First 3-4 Chapters of a Book When You Start
If you only read a few pages of a book when starting it, you will likely not stay captivated. In order to really “get into” a book, you need to devote some uninterrupted time at the start. Read the first 3-4 chapters without distractions so you can go all in on it. Don’t start a book unless you have the time to do this. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to reread the beginning because you forgot the plot or the character development. If you don’t devote enough time at the start to immerse yourself in the book, your attention and fascination with the book will fade.
5. Go on a Blind Date with a Book
You know the concept of a blind date, right? You go out with someone you don’t know with minimal expectations. Okay okay, so maybe you expect to get to know them better and have a good time, but you aren’t expecting a proposal. Well, consider the next book you read a blind date. Try not to go into it with lofty expectations. Give it some time before you make hasty assumptions. Just experience it, and if it’s not something you normally read, try to embrace the break from the norm. You may find yourself even enjoying it. It’s a strange concept, I know, but it makes reading more invigorating when you think of it as a blind date.
I also found my Kindle from 2011 (I know, it’s literally 10 years old), and it still works! It’s been a great way for me to get books into my hands even faster than Amazon Prime Delivery, and that’s saying something! Recently I read, The Four Winds, Educated, and The Vanishing Half all on my Kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to read a physical book and often prefer it, but ebooks are a great option for when you want to read something right this second.