You know how much I love a reading challenge ;)
You can follow me on Goodreads. I write a lengthy review of every book I read (or quit).
For 2019, I resolved to do the ultimate: 365 books in 365 days.
Yes, that's literally a book a day.
BUT (!) Reading a book a day doesn't mean I spend all day in a book. It just means that all my extra minutes go to a place that recharges me, which ultimately allows me to do more the next day. It's a beautiful experience (more on this below).
I want to emphasize quickly that I've been "training" for this challenge for years. This is my 5th reading challenge, and without those 5 prior challenges, I would not have the habits and reading speed necessary to do this book ultramarathon.
I now read faster than most people and I can also listen to audiobooks at advanced speeds. Like any skill, the more you do it, the better you get at it. This is no different from all those years I was a runner. I got faster and faster with each practice or race.
I also have a couple of friends who read more than I do to keep me humble ;)
Not using social media (I took a break from it this year for my safety) gave me back hours I didn't know I was wasting!
Instead of reaching for my phone when I am "bored" or in need of a break, I reach for a book.
For example, if I was waiting to order a coffee I'd open my book instead of "checking" Instagram. Likewise, if I was waiting for my doctor, I'd read another chapter in my book instead of scrolling through Facebook or reading comments.
I also read at night or do an audiobook while I puzzle or knit instead of watching TV. This was a habit I cultivated a few challenges ago. I realized quickly I had to read every day to hit a goal, and pretty soon I found books I liked so much I wanted to read to find out what happens next.
If you want to read more, consider deleting social media apps off your phone (you can still use them in the browser, but that extra step will help you "check it" less and hopefully read more). Having a reading night or a reading 1 hour at night is also helpful.
ONE BIG, MONDO SURPRISE:
I found I've had a lot less depression and general unhappiness. Reading seems to give me energy and optimism where TV and social media often lead me to "compare and despair."
The frequency of my negative self-talk rapidly declined and I found myself complimenting instead of complaining and being a lot less judgmental. These were traits I'd been trying to cultivate for years and they started happening naturally with more books and less media.
Friends have commented that I'm more centered, more balanced, more "at peace" and a lot less anxious. I like to believe I'm also more compassionate and understanding.
This past year in particular, I've focused on reading books by and about people who are very different than me. Reading about their experiences and cultures has gifted me with a radically different perspective.
THE BEST THERAPY MONEY COULD BUY
Above all, reading has been the best money therapy could buy. This is not limited to "self-help books."
With each novel I read, whether it is a dystopian YA novel about zombies or a chicklit love saga, I get closer to myself.
As for this 365 challenge: Reading a book a day doesn't mean I spend all day in a book. It just means that all my extra minutes go to a place that recharges me, which ultimately allows me to do more the next day. It's a beautiful experience.
My prayer for you is that you figure out what gives you energy. Do more of that. aaand Go to the love.
Maybe in a couple of years you'll do your own ultramarathon version of that thing! Knit a hat a day? Why not. A puzzle a week? Sounds fabulous. Cook every recipe out of a cookbook? Oh wait someone named Julie did that ;)
GO TO THE LOVE. REFILL YOUR GLASS. <3
For those who want to know my "training schedule" here is what it looked like. Before 2014 I was barely reading a handful of books a year. I typically only read a book on vacation or the newspaper on the Subway. 52 books in 52 weeks seemed like a marathon at the start and it definitely was.
MY READING CHALLENGE HISTORY
When 2019 came around I decided to go for300 books until my friend Raymond (a full-time real estate agent) said he did 365 books in 2018 and that was it. I knew had to go for the gold!
2019 also provided a unique opportunity for me to do a "365 books" challenge. For one, I had to work a lot less. After over a decade of 60-80 hour weeks, I developed some health problems that required I work a more manageable amount: 25-40 hours max. This opened up a lot of time for reading. I was also driving back and forth to a Doctor's office that was three hours away and nursing a back injury that required a lot of time on the floor with my legs at the wall. I also don't have children (just old pugs) which I know helps.
IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE:
- Try audiobooks
- Delete social media Apps
- Limit social media use (set limits on your phone)
- Read 1 hour per night
- Read on your lunch break
- Consider finding a book series instead of a TV series
- Join a book club
- Delete social media--especially Instagram
- Carry a book to read when you're "waiting"
- Set a challenge for yourself