After falling just short of my goal of 24 books in 2019 (I hit 20!), I decided that I wanted to make reading much more of a priority in 2020.
Reading is such a great way to both relax and focus, to give your mind a break but also spend time thinking about things that interest you. Reading can be an amazing tool for your mental health and wellbeing.
I’m feeling pretty positive about hitting (or, fingers crossed, exceeding) my reading goal this year as, just over 1 week into 2020, I’m already on my third book. All I want to do is read!
As I’m starting to change my habits to make reading a regular feature of my day, I thought it might be useful to share some tips for how you can also make reading a priority in 2020.
Tips to read more in 2020
Set yourself a reading goal or challenge
Don’t be put off by thinking you need to aim for 50 books a year, or a huge goal that you know you’ll struggle to reach. Be realistic but also optimistic. Whether that’s 5, 10 or 100 books, it’s all good!
Ask yourself, how many books could I read this year if I make reading a priority over the next 12 months? Remember, reading should always be fun – but having a clear goal can help to motivate you or encourage you to make swaps with how you’re using your time to hit that target.
Consider time swaps you can make
For me, a big drain on my time has previously been watching TV and films in the evening.
After a long day, it’s very tempting to curl up in front of the TV and switch off – but I don’t want to do that any more. It’s not really adding to my life and there’s certainly better things I could be spending my quality time on.
Could you swap time spent scrolling on social media, watching Netflix or anything that you don’t feel is benefitting you, for time spent reading?
It won’t necessarily be an easy change to make, and might require some effort and commitment to start with. However, each time you pick up a book over the other activity, you’re helping to rewire the part of you that goes for that easy option and replacing it with the desire to read.
Listen to an audio book
Audio books have been a huge help for me already this year.
Although I love picking up a physical copy of a book, and I’d happily spend most of my day getting lost in one, there are other things I have to do with my time.
This is where audio books step in. I can’t pick up a book when I’m driving, walking around or focussing on a project at work, but I can hook up my phone to the speakers or stick my headphones in and let the audio book do the rest.
An audio book is a great option if you struggle with reading physical books, don’t want to keep buying physical copies, or if you want to read more but struggle to find the time to sit down and read. Why not have a go at a free audio book trial and see if you enjoy it?
Read two books at once
I know this might be a straight up ‘no’ for some people. It took me a long time to feel comfortable reading two books at once, but hear me out.
Sometimes one type of book can be too much to continuously read (i.e. a complex or detailed account, a lofty self help book, or a really heavy topic). Or perhaps you don’t just want to stick to one topic for a length of time.
Bring in the second book!
You could choose to read something completely different to offer you some relief/space from the first book – and by choosing two different subjects or styles, you’re less likely to get them muddled up or feel like it’s an information overload.
At the moment, I’m really enjoying (physically) reading a thriller, fiction or other type of story alongside listening to a self-help or first-person account on Audible.
When I’m out and about, I listen to the audio book. When I’m sat somewhere or lying in bed, I choose the physical book. Far from being overwhelming, it’s helped me to double my reading capacity and I’m really enjoying it.
Get inspired by BookTubers
There’s a huge community of people on YouTube who focus their content on books: BookTubers.
If I’m looking for a new book recommendation or just want to feel inspired about the power of reading, I turn to some of my favourite BookTubers such as Leena Norms, Jean Bookishthoughts, Jen Campbell and Sanne of booksandquills.
It is great to hear from people who really love reading and books, and make them a core part of their lives. If you’re feeling a bit lethargic about reading, give them a listen and see if they can encourage you to pick up a book and fall in love with reading again.
Schedule regular, daily time
Whilst you’re developing the habit of reading more, it can be important to have some routine to how or when you read so you get used to it being a regular feature of your life.
If you can, try to read a little bit every day – even if you can only commit to 10 minutes before bed.
I’ve started to reduce time spent watching TV by telling myself that ‘I read before bed’. Now, I make sure I get at least 20 minutes in before I go to sleep each day, and it’s helping me to stick to it.
Find a time in your day (such as with your morning coffee, during your lunch break or just before bed) when you know you can get some reading done and try to make it a daily habit.
How many books are you hoping to read this year?
If you’d like to share, let me know in the comments! Is there anything else you’re doing to help yourself read more? I’d love to know!