Make Reading Great Again

How many times have you promised yourself you would read more books this year? It started out with the promise of less TV, more books. You told yourself you would spend 30-minutes everyday reading, as you imagined yourself cuddled up on your couch, with a warm cup of tea, lost in a good read. I’m sure it started out perfect. You made your tea, picked your favorite spot on the couch, opened up a book, flipped a couple pages and got started. A few minutes later, you get a text and put down the book to reply. By habit, you quickly check Twitter. After a couple minutes of scrolling, you pop over to Instagram to see what’s poppin’.

A couple memes later, your friend texts you back. Before you know it, you’re lost in the sauce, and spent the last 30 minutes reading 140-character tweets instead of characters in your book!

It’s all good. Building a habit of reading can be challenging at first…especially when for most Americans, reading is just a measure of proficiency in school, not an enjoyable habit that can enrich one’s life. But, if there is one saying that proves true throughout history, it’s that “success leaves clues.” Successful people are often the first to acknowledge that their success is directly attributable to studying and emulating (read: copying), successful people before them. They do this largely by consuming massive amounts of material via books. So how can you start? Here are my best tips for how I was able to build the habit of reading 2–3 books per month.

  1. Put your phone as far away as possible. Seriously. Get it out of sight, put on a timer, and commit yourself to reading for 15–30 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much material you can cover when you’re not distracted.
  2. Change scenery. It can be difficult to read at home because there are so many other things you can be doing. Once your phone is away, you start thinking about how much you want some chips, or what needs to be done around the house, and have the same result. Leave your comfortable place and find an environment that allows you to concentrate. I personally stay at my desk after work and read for 1-hour. No e-mail, no texts, no tweets, just information.
  3. Start small. If you haven’t read a book without it coming with a homework assignment, please don’t try to tackle the biggest book you see. There are incredible book summaries and short-version reads on Amazon. Grab a couple of short reads to gain some momentum and build the habit.
  4. Sign up for Audible. Game-changer. Yes, I copped the Migos album to play in my car, but 95% of the time I am listening to Audiobooks to make up more ground. A 30-minute drive to and from work is an easy way to knock out 1–2 chapters of your book on Audible. If you start doing this, I guarantee you’ll start knocking out a book a week. PRO TIP: I only listen to Audiobooks that don’t require action items. For example, I won’t listen to a book on finance through Audible, because I won’t be able to execute on the examples in the car. Leave Audible for the fiction and aspirational books.

All of these tips are simple to execute, and will make an immediate impact on your reading habits this year. If you’re telling yourself you don’t like to read: 1) Why are you reading this? But thanks for the love. 2) If there was a way to measure how many chapters of social media posts millennials consume, I’m sure the numbers would be mind-blowing.

Make the commitment to make your reading list great again. I’m with you. Let’s put BOOKS first.

With compassion, love, and concern for all,