Did you know that 27% of adults say they haven’t read a single book in the last year?
Did you know that the average American read just 4 books in the past 12 months?
Yowsers! That’s not very much reading going on.
I get it. We’re busy. We have kids and jobs and a million and one “should do’s” on our list. We’re exhausted and stressed, worn out and just want to veg out in front of the TV if we do get a few minutes to ourselves.
But reading is powerful. Reading actually reduces stress and can improve our moods.
Reading strengthens our brains and helps to fight off things like Alzheimer’s.
Reading (particularly reading Fiction) teaches us how to be more empathetic. When we are able to empathize with other people and other cultures we become more compassionate and able to help.
Reading helps us develop new skills and learn new knowledge that can open up greater doors of opportunity in our lives.
If you struggle to find time to read, here are a few suggestions to help you carve out a little more time to cozy up with a good book. (This post contains affiliate links, see disclosure here.)
Decide to Read More.
I know this sounds pretty straight-forward and obvious, but it’s a very important first step. Make a commitment to read more books. Set a goal for the number of books you want to read in a given time frame, or the number of pages, or the amount of time you want to read each day. Without having a goal and an idea of what you’re trying to do, you aren’t likely to do very much. Make a decision, set a goal, and commit.
Keep Books Everywhere.
Books come in all sorts of formats these days, so use that to your advantage to make sure you are never without a book.
Stuck in the waiting room at the doctor’s office? Instead of mindlessly scrolling on Facebook, pull up the FREE Kindle Reading App on your phone and start reading a book.
Sitting around on your lunch hour bored by the daytime soaps on the breakroom tv? Bring a book to get lost in during your work breaks.
Hate waiting for commercials while watching TV at home? Keep your Kindle, iPad, or latest library book nearby to catch a few pages during commercial breaks.
Expand your horizons and your tastes by trying out new genres. If you always read Sci-Fi, pickup a mystery. If you’re stuck on business books, grab a popular book from the Fiction shelves. If you obsess over self-help books, give yourself a break and grab a romance novel. Sometimes you might love it and sometimes you might decide that particular genre is not for you. But give everything a chance, and change things up regularly. The more variety you have in your reading the more opportunity for you to learn and grow. I regularly browse the tables at the library and randomly pick up books I’ve seen other people reading. I don’t even read the cover to find out what it’s about, I just let myself be surprised.
Don’t be Afraid to Put a Book Down.
There will be times when you just can’t get into a particular book. The story line is boring, the characters aren’t coming to life, the topic is unsettling, or the information is just plain boring. There are a million reasons that a book might not be worth finishing.
I’m constantly on the lookout for book recommendations from people I trust to add to my growing list of must reads. But sometimes, even the most trusted source for recommendations leads me to a book that I struggle to get into. You don’t have to finish every book you pick up. This is a hard one for me to stick to, but if you are just not feeling a book, no matter how many people recommend it to you, you don’t have to enjoy it, and you don’t have to finish it, at least not right now. Put it away and find another book to try. Life is too short to get stuck with a bad book.
Give Yourself Opportunities to Read.
We live in a busy world and reading tends to slow things down. When my to do list is long and stressful, reading tends to be one of the first things to fall off the list. But it doesn’t have to. Take just a few minutes out of your busy life to pick up a book and read through a few pages.
Start your day with reading first thing in the morning so it can’t get shoved to the bottom of the list.
Or, if you’re more of a night owl, pick up your book as you crawl in bed each night and give yourself the last few minutes of your day with a good book.
Schedule it in and make it a habit.
Take some time to read today. Set a goal to read a certain number of books in the coming months. Start making a list of books you want to read. Ask other people for suggestions for new books and genres to explore. And then pick up a book (or three) and get reading.