I grew up surrounded by booklovers, avid readers that would devour books constantly. My parents, sister, grandmother, aunts, best friends… they would regularly talk about the latest book they were reading, the new trilogy from their favorite author, or the latest New York Times Best Seller… And I, I constantly felt like the “outsider”, the weird one that didn’t really read that much.
I guess it’s because of this, that I always wanted to call myself a reader and also enjoy this pastime that so many of my loved ones do. But, the truth is, I’m not a fast reader and therefore I get tired, anxious, and bored quickly. I give up and leave my books halfway through.
Despite this, reading is still one of my “19 for 2019” tasks I want to accomplish. More precisely, read 5 books by the end of the year… (I’m still at 1 and a half).
Therefore, I’m constantly searching for tips on how to read more: How do people who read so many books in a year do it? When do they read? What are the best ways to turn reading into a habit I can keep? Generally, people mention the need to find a time during the day that works for you and read a chapter, 10 pages, or even just 15 minutes daily.
They say if you follow any of these reading tips you can get to read 10-12 books in a year. Every time I hear this, I’m instantly pumped. Imagine being able to read 10-12 books in a year? And all I need to do is find 15 minutes in my day? That’s amazing !
Well, although this might seem like something that should be extremely easy to do, I still can’t manage to find these glorious 15 minutes. My days fill up with other activities. So, if I really can’t find 15 minutes in my day, then it’s probably not that high a priority for me. But, I’m still not ready to give up…
Well, last Sunday I had a moment of clarity:
I sat down to work on my jigsaw puzzle for a while. Forty minutes had gone by and I noticed the light started to change: the sky began to get cloudy making the light from the window insufficient to keep going and the light from the lamp gave off a glare that made it impossible to work with. I had to stop.
I still had some time to kill before I needed to get ready for Sunday lunch with the family so I decided to head upstairs to our comfy bedroom chair, grab my book, and read. I felt the timing was perfect. There were no distractions and I wasn’t in any hurry to do anything else.
I then realized, why do I insist on making reading a daily habit? Why can’t I read just once a week? There are many other things that I would love to do daily but I only do once a week or once every couple of weeks and it works out perfectly: getting together with groups of friends, having brunch… I mean, we used to enjoy watching TV series only once a week, why can’t my reading be so as well?
In that moment, I promised myself one thing: I would be patient with myself. I would try reading at least once a week. I would read at my own pace. This might seem like such a small thing for many of you avid readers, or others might think it’s not even worth it, but I politely disagree. I will not make myself go “all or nothing” on this.
This made me think about what I shared with you a while back, about making small changes and how these have a trickle down effect. So, I’ll start with a weekly goal and see if this becomes more of a daily habit. And if it doesn’t, that’s ok. A weekly thing will do for me.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation where you expect more of yourself than you are able to give? Have you considered allowing yourself to dial it back a bit? Be less intense about it? Try allowing yourself to go at your own pace. It’ll always be the best way .