The difference between who you are today and who you will be in five years will be the people you spend time with and the books you read” – Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones
How well you incorporate reading into your life will absolutely impact the person you are becoming and the way you live out your life.
So how can we be deliberate about what, and how, we read? Especially if it doesn’t come particularly naturally? What are some easy ways to weave more reading into our lives?
Here are four that have helped me:
1. Always keep a book with you.
For me, starting to carry a kindle with me wherever I go (I like the Kindle Paperwhite) has allowed me to use so many windows of time that would previously have been spent scrolling through my phone – sometimes productively, but often not. If you don’t have a kindle, just add the kindle app to whatever smart device you do carry around, and have a book or two loaded up ready to go when someone is running late for a meeting or you have to kill time in a waiting room. You’d be amazed how often the chance to read comes along when you’re prepared!
2. Use Audio Books.
I find Audible to have the best prices, though you can also use get them through iTunes. Either way, you can sync and play them straight through iTunes as you would music or a podcast. You can play them driving in your car, commuting on public transport, during your workout, as you’re cooking or tidying… anytime you’re doing something that doesn’t require language-based thinking really.
3. Try going ‘one step further’.
Don’t try and undertake a massive life change all at once in the way you read. Just go one step further than what you’re doing now.
- If you haven’t read a book in the last 6 months, try to pick one that is relatively short (no more than 250 pages) and involves a subject or style you feel comfortable with.
- If you find that you read mostly business or self-improvement books, try finding one book of a different genre – a classic novel or an historical account or bio.
- If you mostly read books by Americans or Western authors, try picking up something written by an author with a different cultural background.
The change will keep things fresh and stimulate your brain in ways that spark new connections, and often will prompt you to purse further reading in directions you hadn’t previously considered.
4. Keep Track
They say that ‘you manage what you measure’, and I’ve personally found that to be true when it comes to reading. Something as simple as keeping a little note on your phone where you record books that you finish can help in two ways –
- When it comes to aspirational behaviour like exercise, eating right or reading, human nature is to overestimate what we’re doing. Seeing a concrete list of what you’re reading in a year can help encourage you to meet your own personal reading goals.
- A list of what you’ve read can help you spot an unconscious tendency to gravitate to certain kinds of books, and might prompt you to expand your reading interests (as in point 3 above).
I firmly believe that ideas have the power to change every aspect of the way we live. How are you being deliberate about connecting with powerful ideas?