So you want to read more books this year?
I was in the same boat, so I sat down and analyzed my habits to come up with these 9 tips so that you can read more books in 2021. Using these tips, I read six books in less than two weeks, after reading only eight books in nine months.
Let’s get into the tips to help you read more in 2021:
1. Read more than one book at a time.
This is a game-changer. The key is to sit on the sofa with one book in one hand, one book in the other, and an audiobook playing… Okay, no, but wouldn’t that kind of multi-tasking be amazing? If only.
If you have difficulty keeping track of plots and characters, reading more than one book at a time will be much easier if you choose different genres. I’d start with non-fiction and fantasy or something not easily mixed up.
The most efficient thing about this method is that if you finish one book, you don’t have a slump of downtime deciding on what you’ll next read. While you’re deciding, you’ll still have one or two other books on the go.
2. Read what you enjoy!
I don’t know about you, but when I was in University, being forced to read books for classes did not motivate me to read at all. In fact, it did the opposite. Pick up books that interest you.
Reading more of what you enjoy, perhaps fantasy and sci-fi, will motivate you to pick up even more titles, and you’ll breeze through them if you’re enjoying them. You’ll also have a positive experience with reading, which will trigger that desire to pick up another book.
3. Put it down! No one is forcing you to finish it.
There’s nothing worse than trying to force yourself to read a book that you’re just not into. Just put it down. You can always go back to it if you feel up to it. Sometimes it’s just that you’re not in the mood for that particular story at that moment in your life. Sometimes that book and you were just never meant to be; that’s totally okay!
If you try to read a book you’re not jiving with, it’ll take a decade to finish, and you’ll have a bad feeling associated with reading, making you less likely to want to pick up another book. So stop torturing yourself and read something else that you’ll love!
4. Set a high goal.
How’s that quote go?
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”― Norman Vincent Peale
The same sentiment is true here with your reading goal. Set higher goals so that even if you don’t meet your initial goal, you’ll still end up reading many more books than you would if you set a lower goal.
If you want to read 52 books this year, set your goal at 90 books. You might not hit 90 books, but you’ll likely read more than 52.
5. Read novellas & shorter Books in between.
Allow yourself to read shorter books. Sometimes after reading a series, a trilogy, or a 600 pages book, it’s okay to read a novella! No one is judging you! Okay, people might if you share your life online, but your goal is none of their business, and their judgment is a reflection of themselves, not you. You do you!
Short stories and novellas need love too! They got me out of my reading slump this year. I picked up Tuck Everlasting, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz after a long slump and then had the courage to tackled the dense and masterfully written Dune.
If you’re in a reading slump, I recommend trying shorter, easy reads to get you back into your groove! It works!
6. Listen to Audiobooks.
Do you vacuum, sweep, do dishes, clean the house, exercise, shovel meters of snow, drive to and from work? Yes, to one of those? Then get an audiobook for those times when you can’t use your eyes to read or your hands to hold a book.
You can listen to a chapter, then pick up the book when your hands and eyes are free. If you don’t like to switch between audio and the physical copy, choose an audiobook for your third book. Some of the performances are grand with an entire cast.
Audiobooks are still “reading” and allow you to enjoy a wonderfully written book.
7. Get fit while you read.
Similar to the audiobooks above, maybe you have a treadmill or an exercise bike. You can walk or ride for an hour (at a slow pace) while you hold your book in your hand and read.
I love this. I sometimes have difficulty focusing while reading, and walking helps me focus my attention on my book. Also, vice-versa, the reading helps me focus less on my calves burning and allows me to walk further.
You’re welcome, Future-Fit-and-Well-Read You.
8. Pick up books based on your mood
Do you know how sometimes you get the urge to watch a chick flick, action, folk horror, or thriller? The same goes for books. If you’re feeling an urge to watch a movie in a specific genre, find a book that might satisfy that urge.
The more you’re feeling the book, the faster you’ll get through it, the more you’ll enjoy reading, and the more books you’ll pick up.
9. Turn a routine into a habit
Find a reading routine that works for you and turn it into a habit that you love.
Every morning before work, I wake up, have my coffee, sit down to cuddle with my princess Gibson, the cat, and open a book. This is a cozy time of enjoyment, and I look forward to it every morning. At night, Daniel (hubby) and I read an hour or two together; I get to enjoy something with someone I love.
That said, create a habit around reading that you love and look forward to. It could be the littlest trigger like every time you read a book, you get a latte, or you read while pampering yourself in a bubble bath with your waterproof Kobo Libra H20.
On that note, I recommend picking up Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad by James Clear if you haven’t read it already. Much of the habits shared here are based on that book. Maybe that could be book number one for your 2021 reading challenge.
There are plenty of ways to read more, mostly it’s about finding the time and the right headspace for it.
How many books will you set as your goal for 2021?