I love this time of year – when we reflect about the past year and what we’ve accomplished ( or not) and what we want to achieve in the upcoming new year.
For the last two years I’ve made it a goal to read 100 books and I’ve surpassed 100 each year. Actually this year I made it a goal to read 52 books. Honestly, I was feeling a little burnt out after the 100 from last year and wasn’t quite sure I could do it again. But once I hit 52 during the summer I decided to up my goal to 100 books this year too. When friends and acquaintances find out about this crazy goal I set every year there is usually only one question I hear
How do I find time to read?
Let me first take a step back and say – I find time in my daily life to read because I set a goal to do so. If you want to find time in your life for anything I am a big believer in setting goals. Goals that you write down. Goals you believe in and want to achieve. This could be that you want to read 100 books, or you want to run 4 half marathons. It could be you want to read 30 books. Maybe your goal is to read ONE book. That is awesome! It could be anything. As long as it is important to you and something you write down!
I’ve always enjoyed reading, but before two years ago, I had never set a certain book number goal. But when I decided to do it – and I wrote it down as a goal – it really became important to me and real. And even though I consider myself a reader at heart, I still had to make a conscience effort to find ways to read over other activities when I first began. It was important to me and I wanted to achieve my goal. If you make a goal – you need to sit down and really think about ways you can break that goal down and achieve it.
What does all this goal talk have to do with finding time to read? A lot.
Below are five ways I’ve found really help me find more time to read.
1. Give up TV
This is a big one. About 2 1/2 years ago we moved. Because of that move, among other reasons, I drastically changed my TV watching habits. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a reader. But up until that point in my life, I also spent (wasted?) a lot of my evenings indulging in a lot of reality tv and drama shows. I LOVED spending time with girlfriends watching seasons of The Bachelor. I made some great friends and great memories. But if someone asked me today who was on the bachelor I would have no clue! But ask me how many books I’ve read this year.
Giving up TV wasn’t really that hard because I filled up the time reading books I’ve always wanted to read. I haven’t completely given up good shows I liked either. I SO wish I could be one of those people who could listen to an audio book while running. But I can’t. I can’t read or even listen to books on the treadmill. Sometimes I have a hard time even concentrating on a podcast while running. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me. But I can watch shows!
A great show can get me through a long treadmill run. A great show can lure me to the treadmill…I only allow myself to watch it when I am running.
2. Take a book everywhere
This one is so easy to me. My kindle goes everywhere with me. My phone has a kindle app too. If I’m reading a hard copy of a book, you can usually find it in my purse too. I am rarely without a book or access to a book. You never know when you will have a wait time and you can use these times to your advantage. With 5 kids – and back to back years of half day kindergartners I feel like I am constantly in the car running kids to sports, activities or school. Having a book with me at all times has become second nature and saved me so many times.
I read while waiting for kids at school pick up. I read while we are waiting for appointments. I work at my husbands office and – when there is down time and I can read, I always read there. (Besides, since I technically work for free he can’t really fire me for reading on the job). Every weekday afternoon we sit at our dining room table while the kids work on their homework. We eat snacks and I read. I am able to help them and sneak in reading time too.
I am a huge believer that your kids will learn by what they see you do. (money see, monkey do?) If your kids see you reading, they will want to read too.
3. Read more than one book at once
This can be tricky for some people. But I’ve found if I read the right kinds of books I can read numerous books at the same time. For example, I am currently reading 4 books. One fiction and two non-fiction, and my scriptures. I often forget that my daily scripture study even counts as reading, but it does! Reading fiction along with non fiction is easy to do since the stories won’t mix together. If you aren’t a fan of non-fiction, give it a try, you might be surprised. I often can read a couple non-fiction books at the same time if they are on different topics.
So maybe reading more books at once doesn’t exactly help me find more time in my day to read, but it does help me read more books – and achieve my goal.
4. Track books and reading online
You might think this is an odd way to finding more time to read – but I believe it’s a game changer. I wasn’t a big believer in this one until a few years ago when I first made the goal to read 100 books. I was pretty confident that I could read 100 books, but how would I know? If you want to achieve your goals you have to have a way to account for them! Using an app, like Goodreads, is an easy way to track how many books you’ve read. It can even track books you want to read and categorize your books too. I was really good at using GoodReads in 2014, but not so much in 2015. This year I just used my blog. Anytime I finished a book I made a draft post copy with the title name. If you don’t use an app, even a notebook works. Anything to log what you read and keep you accountable. I love being able to track my books and write notes about which ones I’ve liked and not liked too.
Writing down and keeping track of my books gave me motivation to read more – and the more I saw my reading list grow the more motivated I became to making more time in my day to read.
5. Wake up early
I know you might wonder what getting up early has to do with reading and achieving your goals, but they really have a lot in common! I know so many readers stay up late reading, but I’m a morning person. I love getting up early, having a whole day ahead of me and being able to spend a half an hour, or even an hour reading good books. It can really set the tone for my whole day. I am a huge believer that if you have a goal you are working on – getting up early is the best way to achieve it. I love the idea of the morning hours being your “bonus hours”…and they really can be seen as that!
I recently took Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Mornings online class and learned so much from it. She recently let me in on a secret – that the course will be going on sale soon! If this is something you’ve been thinking about taking, this will be your perfect opportunity! I also reviewed The Latter-day Morning book that has some great fundamental habits you can establish to really help your morning start right.
Reading in the morning is always a great way for me to start my day.
I would love to hear about how you set goals and make them? Do you have any reading goals for 2016? Do you make reading a priority? How do you find time to read?
I’m really looking forward to 2016. I’m going to go for another 100 books again. I’m going to share more about in the weeks to come, but just know – these five little tips are ways that I’ll be making it happen!
An awesome new blog friend, Samantha at Momma Wants Java, is doing a challenge for the new year to help you achieve your goals. It’s called New Year New Momma. You can head over to her post and learn all about. It’s going to be awesome and all about creating a community of support who want to start the new year on the right foot. You can also join us on instagram by using #newyearnewmomma to connect with others on their own journey.