This is what I love to hear.
It means you likely set reading goals for the new year and this past year. Yet, oftentimes people far short of their reading goals or simply fail to read in general. And the fundamental reason for this is that they failed to create a concrete reading habit.
Why I Don’t Recommend You Read XX Number of Books
The best way to achieve a goal is to lay out a quantifiable outcome that you can clearly see if you achieved or failed to reach. When it comes to reading though, I break away from this principle.
The reason for this is that when we set a number of books that we want to read for the year, we end up reading for the sake of reading. This is a no-no.
You must read with a purpose.
A better approach is to set time aside each day for reading. A half-hour is a good place to start.
This is a quantifiable goal as well, but we’re not overly concerned with how many books we’re actually reading. We’re more concerned with the habit itself.
Compare reading to something like weight lifting. When lifting weights, you can easily track your progress through various exercises, bigger arms, or a smaller waistline. But all these outcomes are a sign of progress.
Is reading more books a sign of progress?
I wouldn’t quite call it that.
The number of books you read is directly related to the time spent reading. It doesn’t mean you’ve gotten more intelligent, or become a faster reader.
Why It’s Time over Titles
In 2014 I did the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge and read about 56 books. This year I have no idea how many books I read. I can make a pretty good guess though because I track 95% of my books on this website. And seeing as I had 60ish posts this year, I could guess a little over 50.
Despite not setting a goal for the number of books I wanted to read in 2015, I was still able to match the total from 2014. The reason for this because my reading habit from year to year didn’t change. I still read pretty much every night before bed, occasionally in the afternoon when time allowed (3-4 times a week), and once in a while at lunch.
It’s all about habits folks.
How to Really Create Reading Goals
If you really want to set a numeric goal for the year, you still need to decide how much time per day you will read. Just picking a number of books is arbitrary and without developing a habit to fulfill that goal you will surely fail.
Here’s the deal: The average book (say 300 pages) will take most people around 7-9 hours to read. So if you read a bit faster than normal, 7 hours per week would allow you to read 1 book per week, thus fulfilling the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge.
If you want to read 24 books in a year, then you would set a daily reading benchmark of around 30-40 minutes per day.
Finding Time to Read
Many people like to say that they don’t have enough time to read. You often hear this about going to the gym.
“I just don’t have time! I’m too busy!!!”
If someone is working 70-80+ hour weeks, I will forgive them. Others I will not.
The real reason people fail to meet their goals is because they fail to instill the habit of reading in their everyday lives. Don’t make that mistake.
Set aside the amount of time you’ll need each day to reach your goals.
The two times I recommend are a.) Before bed and b.) On a lunch break (if you have one).
You go to bed every night and have a lunch break 5 times a week or so if you have a full-time job. 15 minutes per, or 30 minutes at one of those times each day will take you a long way.
Have you made reading goals for 2016? What are they? How are you going to reach them?
Share below in the comments.
P.S. And Happy New Year!