This year, one of the habits I’m trying to improve upon and track is my reading. I started outlining this episode and then I woke up in the middle of the night with some clarity and I’ve figured out what I needed to talk about.
So it’s almost 4:00 AM and here are my thoughts.
I love reading. It’s one of my favorite past times, it fills me up more than most activities I’m drawn to reading.
It feels like books are calling to me, which may sound totally weird. I can’t think of a day when I don’t read it’s it’s who I am. I know my love of reading is not held by a lot of people. Many people don’t read a book unless they have to for school. Or they feel like they have to for obligations sake. I started thinking back to my own reading story, the history of my reading life.
And when I look back at my childhood reading was part of my everyday life. Even my name came from a book my parents were reading together. It was a, a fantasy book and I ended up turning into a tree at the end.
Anyways, I remember my mom reading to me before bed and she would use different voices for every character. I still don’t know how she did it. I try to do a little bit of character voices for my kids and oh, man. It is hard. And she would do this, not just for the little picture books. When I was really little, she would do this for a lot larger books, like the Red Wall series, Lord of the Rings, the Little House on the Prairie series.
And she would just read these books to us out loud before bed. I remember we read the little house books. And Halloween was coming up and we dressed up as the Ingles family for Halloween. My dad wrote Christian children’s Sci Fi books, and my parents would read those to us before bed. And now my parents are reading those books to my own kids, and it’s fun to see that my kids get to experience the same books that I did as a child.
You know, I have so many fond memories of my family being together, reading it’s like going on an adventure that we all get to share.
And when we would go on road trips, we would listen to audio books. I remember listening to “Bud, Not Buddy,” which if you have not read that book, it is so good. And we stayed in our van to hear the rest of the story, even though we were already at our destination.
I remember going to the library frequently and doing the summer reading challenges. You know, looking back, I’m incredibly grateful for the reading foundation my parents gave me. Yet, I believe for a good portion of my life, that I wasn’t a great reader. I compared myself to my siblings who could read with ease.
My sister can reach twice as fast as I can and could devour multiple giant novels in a week when growing up. I on the other hand didn’t I would read some but nothing worth bragging about.
I can’t pinpoint the moment when there was a switch.
I went off to college and I started reading books on faith that interested me and about my personality and dating and all kinds of subjects that I had never read anything about before. And I think that was the key. I started reading books that gave me new perspectives. And they were interesting to me.
I realized that all this time I was trying to read books like the people, my family.
My family was all about scifi and fantasy books. But that never intrigued me. My guess is if you are not a huge fan of reading I think it’s probably because you just haven’t discovered the kind of books you love yet.
And maybe you believe that you aren’t a great reader. Yeah. I believe this about myself for years and it was all because I compared myself to my siblings and I don’t know, I just did it. Yet now reading is a huge part of my life. It’s a big priority and it’s something I do every day. So things can change. Even if you think that you’re a bad reader right now.
It’s also really easy to put reading on the back burner when you have kids. But I just wanna encourage you to not do that. I actually read more books now since having kids than I ever did before having kids. And I’m not just talking about picture books that I’m reading to my own children.
So today what I’m going to do is I’m going to talk about some ways to that have helped me read on a regular basis.
And I hope this will give you some ideas on how to make reading part of your everyday life. This is one of the questions I get asked pretty frequently is how do I have time to read? How do I make this happen?
So I have seven ways. On how to make reading happen in your home, as an adult.
The first one is to make it a priority.
If you don’t make it a priority, it’s not going to happen. And the reason I make it a priority is because I know how life-giving it is for me to read. Reading gives me the opportunity to gain the wisdom of people. Way smarter than me, that I would never likely meet. It gives me the ability to go back in time and experience a life very different than my own.
There’s a whole new world that reading opens up to me and I want to say yes to those adventures. That is why I want to read. It’s a priority.
Why do you want to read more? What do you want to gain from it? Are there topics you want to learn more about? Are you wanting to read a fun storyline? Do you wanna do this for relaxation?
Why do you want to read right now and think about it, and that will help you make it a priority when you know why you’re doing it in the first place.
My second tip is to make sure that you’re not too busy…
…because one of the easiest ways to not read is because we’re have too full schedules.
Think about the things that distract you from reading. It’s probably a lot of things. You might have a whole laundry list of to-dos and reading just doesn’t seem to make the cut. How can you make it, make the cut? How can you get distracted less?
Here are some things that I think are really common ways of why people don’t read as much.
For one, the TV. A lot of times people have a TV going on all the time. You don’t have to do that. You can have the TV off. You can only watch TV when you are sitting down and actually enjoying it.
Another reason is social media. It’s really easy to scroll aimlessly. You can actually even see how much time you spend on social media on a day. And it’s crazy if you spent that amount of time reading. How different would your life look how. How much better would it be?
Social media encourages comparison. It makes us feel. Like we are lacking in some ways. And it can really increase our feeling of being alone. Yet reading books can fill us up in ways that social media will never fill us up.
One of the things that I do to help me with this is where I normally sit down to relax because normally watching TV and social media are ways that people relax. Where I tend to sit down to relax. I always have a book sitting on an end table, so I will more likely reach out for that because it’s easy access.
So, think about where are the places that you go and sit down and just unwind. Instead of having your phone right there. How can you have a good book? Maybe it’s on your nightstand. Where can you put these books to make you want to read? Because it’s something you can easily pick up and in turn to.
You want to make reading really easy? I’ve been talking about habits and making things easy and changing your environment. This is one way to do this.
Another thing that I do is I try to plug in my phone and have it in the cupboard, in our kitchen. So that way I’m not on social media as much, there’s a lot of ways to make your environment work for you. So that way reading becomes a go-to instead of other things.
All right, here’s the third idea.
You want to think about how do you like to read.
And there’s no right or wrong here. There are some people that love listening to books. They’re all about the audio books. There’s people that love reading on a tablet or a Kindle. There are people who love to just read from an actual book and smell the pages. I am that person, but I also like reading from an audio book. I do not like reading on a tablet. If it’s on a screen, I am not reading it that way. But there are a lot of people that, that is just something that really helps them read consistently.
So figure out how do you like to read. I like to check out library books. And the reason for that is that I have a due date and I feel like I need to read them. There are some books that I have bought and I still have not finished them yet, or I haven’t even started them because I don’t really have that incentive to read it as quickly as other books, because I need to go and return them soon.
So I check out books from the library. I also put them on hold and when I have them on hold, it’s nice that they just come whenever they are returned. And so I don’t really have a specific time frame of when I’m going to read it. That has really helped me is having a due date, knowing that I need to read this and there’s a deadline there.
I also like to listen to audio books.
I feel like I’m doing a combination of the two really helps me to be able to read more often. And so if you like to read and listen, don’t feel like you have to choose one over the other, use them in different ways. So that way you can read more often.
I like to read two to three books at a time, and that might feel really overwhelming to you.
But the reason that I do it that way is it gives me the opportunity to read whatever I’m feeling like at any given time. And they’re typically on different topics. So there’s not really a whole lot of overlap. And they’re not a bunch of different storylines and so it, it’s not like I’m getting confused about which story is, which.
So I’m just going to give you an example. These are the three books I’m reading at the moment. So I’m reading “Dream Big” by Bob Goff. Right now I’m reading the “Gift of Dyslexia,” and I’m reading to my kids “The Long Winter,” and it’s by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
So that’s the three things I’m reading right now. So they’re very different books. You know, the storyline book is for sure the “Long Winter,” but “Dream Big” and the “Gift of Dyslexia,” They both are not books that have a real storyline. And so it’s been really good.
I’m normally reading those kinds of books, and then I read classics to my kids.
Maybe for you reading multiple books at a time might be something really beneficial. And I only figured this out probably, eight years ago that this is how I really do well is by reading multiple books at a time.
Figure out what works for you. Maybe you want to read one book at a time, or maybe you want to do multiples. The nice thing with multiples, if there’s a book that is not interesting. I don’t feel like I have to finish it and that’s okay.
I’ve talked about I’m reading a book about dyslexia and I’ve been learning a lot about that. If you have dyslexia and you struggle with reading, try listening to audio books, the audio version still counts. You can also change the speed of the reading to fit how you like. A lot of people with dyslexia, like to increase the speed, it helps them to focus and listen to it more. That can be really helpful to you.
Also, if you look at the YouVersion Bible app and you like to read the Bible, they actually have a dyslexia font to make it easier to read. So that is a really good option. I don’t know if they have it on Kindles and things like that, where they can have a font that makes it easier to read, but that might be something to look into. If you deal with dyslexia, or a loved one that you know, has that issue.
Here’s the fourth way to help increase your reading. This is to find books that interest you.
This is what held me up for years. There are so many books to choose from. It can be really overwhelming. And a lot of times you feel like, well, I don’t want to go all the way into reading a book and then find out, “oh, it has stuff that I’m not okay with” or “it’s just not something I’m interested. I wasted all this time.”
I have a couple of suggestions for you for that. Think about what genres of movies you like to watch. That can give you some ideas of what kind of books you would be interested in. If you are really into the scifi movies, maybe start reading books that are scifi and fantasy.
You know, think about the genres that you typically are like, oh, that sounds really interesting. Or if you see that, you know, there’s a lot of movies that are based off of books, read the book and then watch the movie and compare them. Typically the book is always better.
But that can give you some ideas that something that you can start with, if you don’t know where to go.
You can also ask friends for suggestions. You probably know people that read frequently. And ask them what books that they would suggest you could post it on Facebook. There’s a lot of places where you can go and find some ideas of what books you might love. And if you don’t love the book, Don’t feel obligated to finish it. It’s okay to read something and then say you, not that’s not great. And just let it go. It’s fine.
My fifth tip is to read in the in-between spaces.
As a mom, this is so key. It’s really hard to designate a certain time to reading. I don’t have a set time that, you know, from one o’clock to two o’clock I read every day, I don’t do it that way. What I do is I just fit it into my schedule wherever I can.
So if you like to listen to audio books, there are so many ways to increase your listening. I also do this for listening to podcasts. So this could still apply to listening to this even.
You can listen to this when you are taking a shower, getting ready in the morning, putting on your makeup, doing your hair. All of those things, you can listen to an audio book or a podcast. You can do this while you’re cooking. I love listening to books while I cook. It gives me something to, to think about. And, you know, these activities that you do that you don’t really have to put a lot of mental effort into, you can always add in reading.
When you’re driving to and from places, listen to an audio book when you’re folding laundry, when you garden. That’s one things I, I do when I weed. I mean, right now, it’s not the time to do a whole lot of, of yard work, but I love listening to books when I garden. I do this when I weed.
I love being outdoors, but I love reading books. And so it’s like, I combine the two activities that I really love and it makes it so rewarding, I feel like I’m accomplishing more.
Also do this when you’re doing housework, when you’re, you know, scrubbing toilets, you’re doing all of the things that are not always that exciting listening to a book while you do it can really give you the incentive to get things done faster and just enjoy it.
I’ve read books that are about like decluttering and minimalism while I’m decluttering. Like you can do those things while you’re listening. And that is really encouraging and I love doing that, like going through and purging stuff while I’m listening to someone talk about it. You can work things together to really make it work really well for you.
You can also do this when you have a physical book, maybe you’re waiting in the carpool lane to pick up your kids. One of the things that I do is when my husband is driving, like on the way to church on the way back, I’ve been reading “Little House on the Prairie” to my kids and my husband listens too. But I read on those drives.
When we drive to go to his parents’ house, it’s an hour drive. I read typically on the drive and on the way back. And that’s two hours of, of reading that I get in when we could just be sitting there listening to the music or talking or whatever, but it’s been one thing that we really do as a family. You could also do that with an audio book. But I do that a lot bringing books on the drive.
You can also do this while you’re cooking. Like I put stuff in the instant pot when things are in the oven, I’ll read for, you know, seven minutes, then I go and check on something and I read a little bit more and it’s just, it’s a little bit choppier but that’s okay.
Make this work in whatever your schedule looks like. You can find little pockets of time to read if you really want to.
The sixth idea I have for you is to start a book club or join one.
This is something I just started doing. I started my first book club with a few of my friends and it has been amazing. This isn’t like a rigorous book club. All I did is I invited two of my really close friends, and I know that they both loved to read and I wanted us to get together more often and have some accountability to read some books.
What we do is each month, one of us chooses a book. We all read the book. We get together at a restaurant without our kids. And without our husbands and we just spend time talking about the book connecting, and then we decide which book we’re going to do next.
Each of us get to choose, and it’s been really fun because I’ve been reading books that I would never have chosen on my own. And I get to be exposed to things that I went typically read, and it broadens my horizons. And it connects us in a different way than we’ve ever had before. It’s been a really fun thing.
So you could start your own book club. You could join a book club. I mean, I’ve done Bible studies where we go over a book and that’s been really fun, but it’s more like you, you read like a chapter and then you discuss, and then you go the next week and you did it on a weekly basis. You can make this work however you want.
But feel free to start a book club. And I’m guessing your friends would be like, “Yes, we’re totally on board. We would love to do that with you.”
This gives you an opportunity to meet with friends. And I think that’s a great thing.
All right, here is my last tip for you. Is to set a reading goal.
Now I have never done this until this year. And it has been incredibly motivating for me. Because I’ve read a lot and I have never had any idea how many books I read in a year.
I had the idea this year, since it’s beginning of 2022, to track how many books I read in a year. And so instead of just tracking them, I thought, well, I should probably have a goal, an idea of what I would like to read.
And so my goal for this year is to read 52 books. That’s a book a week. I’ve been writing it down. I even have it on just like a sheet of paper. Isn’t just regular lined paper. It’s nothing fabulous at all. And once I read a book, I’ve been writing down what the book title is, who the author is, and I just started writing the date so I can track how many I’m doing.
So far, I’ve read seven books this year. Which I’m pretty proud of myself because that’s more than one a week. But I’ve been surprised on how exciting it is for me to finish a book. And even my kids are like, you’ve finished a book. Write it down on your list. How many do you have on your list? And they’ve been interested in doing that with me. So that’s been kind of fun that it’s been kind of like a family thing a little bit.
Maybe what you can do too, is, is write down how many books you read in a year, maybe set a goal. It doesn’t have to be 52 books. It could be, “I want to read 10 books this year.” Or three books this year that that’s more than most people do. So. Maybe set a goal like that, or maybe a goal could be something like I read twice a week. It doesn’t have to be a number of books to accomplish, or maybe I read 10 minutes a day having a goal like that will help you reach your bigger goals of reading more frequently. So whatever that is, go and do that.
Maybe you want to set a goal that might help you read more frequently.
Wherever you are right now, I want you to look back at your own reading timeline. I never thought about my own reading timeline until I woke up at four in the morning and had this like, Download.
I want you to look back at your own reading timeline. Did you read much as a kid? Think about what it was like. Was there ever a time that when you loved to read? What books were encouraging and what books did you feel like you couldn’t put down?
And when you do this, you may recall some negative things. It could be things that your teachers have said, parents , siblings, other people that have maybe said your reading ability isn’t up to par. Maybe you’ve believed yourself that you’re just not a good reader. You’ve just made that your crutch where you just feel like, well, I’m not a good reader. I just don’t read. I just don’t do that.
You don’t have to be like that for the rest of your life. You get to choose what the rest of your timeline looks like. You can be a reader and a lifelong learner.
I believed for decades that I was not a good reader. Yet, I read more than a lot of people they know. And so you can completely change the trajectory of your of your timeline.
I want to encourage you to say yes to going on an adventure in a book. It has been transformational in my life and I’m sure it will be for you. Don’t put it off, take some time for yourself and read it is so important and it is so good for you.
Thank you so much for being here today. I hope this episode leaves you feeling really filled and encouraged and ready to read a book. I really hope that you get to experience how wonderful reading is and that you can experience it for yourself.
Spend some time on your own to read it will make a world of difference.
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