How to Read 12 Books in a Year

Yikes, I am behind in my reading goal. It is lat in the month of January and I am not far enough along in my reading to hit my goal. I am reading the first book to reach my goal that is my New Year’s resolution to read twelve books this year. It is a small step up from the seven books I read last year. The challenge though is that I am already behind.

I am reading Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, and I am only about a quarter of the way through it; 23% to be exact. If I keep up this pace then I don’t think I will hit my goal.

Reading a book is an emotional time commitment. It is very easy to say to oneself, “I am going to read a book”; it is another thing entirely to spend several sessions over several days or weeks actually reading.

The emotional reward of watching television is near instant. Especially with the excess of situation comedies on Netflix. Sit down, watch the emotional rollercoaster resolve itself in 22 minutes and have a laugh at the same time. It is comfortable to experience the quick and direct conflict resolution from TV sitcoms.

It is generally not so quick of an emotional high to read a book; in my experience, the joy of reading is slower to emerge and not nearly as intense.

This specifically is one of the reasons I have set myself this goal to read more. Television is an emotional drug. I see books, even campy mystery novels, as a far healthier form of entertainment than television. Don’t worry though, I am not giving up TV all together. There are some really quality movies I have on my list to watch.

Reading a book takes some time, more so than just plopping down on the couch and watching your favorite show. If I am to read twelve books in a year I need to be consistent in my progress. I should be reading one book a month, which means I have a week and a half to finish reading Designing Your Life before I am scheduled to move on to the next book.

It seems a little clinical to calculate our how much of each book I should be reading each week in order to hit my goal, but it could help. I need to read approximately 23% of each book each week. At that rate I will hit twelve books in a year. Ideally I should read more than that so I have time to ponder what I have read and write up my thoughts in my blog.

So I am behind by about 50% of my current book. I think I can make it up by powering though. Hopefully that won’t give it the feeling of a chore.

By knowing your goal and breaking up needed progress into weekly needs you, and I, will better be able to measure our progress.

Measuring progress is important. It is what will push {not enable, eh.. some big word} us steadily toward our goal and help us achieve it.

I think I am behind because I have not yet made changes to my weekly routine. Instead of making time to read I have gone about my day without change. Which is what lead to my reading seven books last year, and while admirable it won’t enable me to read twelve books this years.

What I need to do to reach my goal is to bring reading into my life as a habit. Right now I too often flop on the couch after work and turn on the telly. Which is such an easy habit to follow through on. There is little to no expending of energy to watching TV.

I think, as banal as it sounds, that scheduling reading time would be really helpful. Reading as a hobby, as a habit, is not going to be so automatic for someone who does not currently read a great deal. Strict measures will need to be taken, and a little bit of willpower extended, in order to make the time to read a little more automatic.

Specifically, for me, I plan to add some time to my calendar for reading. Each week I will set aside some time during the week, and the weekends, just to sit down and read.

I think you should do the same. Reading one book a month is a very attainable goal, and a worthy goal to be sure. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish reading a book. Like I have made my life a little better. That applies to pop-culture trade paperbacks in addition to deeper works of knowledge. I think it matters less what you read, just that you do. So set a goal for yourself and make some time to read. You will be glad that you did.

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