I have always been a big reader, ever since I was a child. I have my mother to thank for this for all the hours she spent reading to me through the years. Now, while I love to revisit some of my old favorite books now and again, reading as an adult is and should be much different than it was 15 odd years ago.
After looking back at what I’ve read in 2015, I decided to be a bit more intentional next year. I want to be more mature about my reading habits. How is that done, you ask? Oh, let me tell you the ways! Well let me tell you the 4 ways I’ve come up with to read like a grown up ;).
We all like our comfort zones–even as readers. But you never get anywhere in life by remaining comfortable–even as readers. Do you lean toward the same genre or two and never venture out to read more challenging books? Step out and try titles that will that will challenge your intellect, your thought process and opinions. Try something that will inspire your creativity or boost your faith. Don’t cage yourself in with only one kind of book. If you’re not hooked right away, that’s fine but don’t give up! Put the book away for a bit and then come back and try again. Some books take a few tries before your mind settles in.
Reading outside of your comfort zone is like traveling to a new place. You’ll never know all the wonderful things there are to discover if you never embark on an adventure.
Schedule Your Reading Time
‘I don’t have time to read’ is rarely a legitimate excuse not to crack open a book. Sure there are busy seasons in life but it’s rarely about not having time as much as it is about making time. Let me tell you something: if you’ve got time to watch TV, then you’ve got time to read. If you have time to surf the net, check Twitter, post on Instagram, scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, and binge watch YouTube, then honey, you have got time to read. If you don’t have time to engage in those time-suckers, then yeah, I can believe you don’t have time to read.
If you really want to read more, then schedule a time. Can you work 20 minutes into your morning routine? Maybe tuck a book into your bag for a read during lunch? Or 30 minutes before bed (great way to relax and decompress FYI)? Replace Netflix with a paperback? Being intentional about setting a specific reading time will get you into a comfortable groove and you’ll be knocking titles off that reading list in no time!
I don’t mean to make reading sound like a chore but taking notes is a great way to retain more of what you read. We all know it from school. Those note taking skills you mastered can come in handy when reading something you want to learn from. And if you weren’t a great note taker in class then this is a good way to brush up. Some people like to keep a notebook while others write in the margins of the book. It can be as simple or as intense as you’d like but either way, if you’re reading for a little more than just pleasure, get out a pencil and put your own words on paper.
One book a week. Two books a month. One hundred books a year. Decide what’s realistic for you and set some goals. I like to make a list of books I want to read for a month. I don’t always finish all of them, sometimes I’m in the mood to read something totally different. But because I’m the kind of reader who reads, like, 20 books at the same time, it keeps me somewhat organized. And there’s nothing like the satisfaction of checking off that box when you’ve reached that goal!
Whether you’re a bookworm or one in the making, reading is an important enough activity to treat it with intention–like a grown up. If you need a place to start, check out my challenge for 2016:
2016. 20 books. Challenge yourself next year to read differently than you did this year. Your creativity & intellect will thank you 😉