Reading Without a Plan
I’ve never had a reading plan before. My personality craves independence, and I don’t like the idea of structuring my life, particularly my entertainment, so I’ve never chosen to pre-plan my
reading, watching, or activities list for the year. I dread the feeling of being ‘boxed’ in.
Then last year, I had a personal goal – to read 70 books in 1 year. I thought, “I can read fast. I like reading, and I want to read more – this’ll be easy!” But by November, I had to sneak into my Goodreads account and amend my goal to 50 books. Then I rushed and scrambled, and read lots of short books to make that goal by the end of December.
I made it, but just barely: on December 31st, I was curled up on the couch, reading The Giraffe, the Pelican, and Me, by Roald Dahl: a very short book.
At the beginning of January, when I looked back on the list of books I had read in 2018, I realized to my chagrin that I wasn’t reading often enough. I realized I had gone at least one whole month without reading a book, and that confused me – why hadn’t I read that month? I followed my overall activities and found that when I had a lot going on in my life, I read more, and when I had little to do, I read less.
What had gone wrong? Why couldn’t I read 70 books in 1 year?
I drilled over the answer in my mind, wondering if I was inept at consistent reading, if I was terrible at forming habits, if I was just too busy… but finally, with a dose of honest reflection, I realized the true reason:
You see, whenever I finish a book, I get this dose of happiness in my system – a feeling of living high and achieving much! I lack a driving need to pick up the next book because I felt like I have done enough – I have already achieved!
Without a list of books to motivate me throughout the year, I have to find new motivation every time I finish a book. When the book is ended, I forget about any books anyone has previously recommended, I forget about the ones I said I would read, or even the ones I wanted to read, and I simply do not pick up another book.
It was this realization that drove me to finally make a reading list.
With a Reading List
Taking books I had recently bought, books I’ve been meaning to read for forever, and a smattering of beloved favorites, I made a list of 51 books – some short, many long – that I want to read in 1 year, and I have read so much more already than I had at this time, last year. And, I’m doing it with less stress! You can see my reading list here, and if you want, you can follow what rating I give to each book as the year progresses.
Why have a reading list? Because the motivation is inherent in it! You don’t have to rekindle or rediscover it – it’s waiting for you, nudging you, and prompting you to keep up! The reading list also helps you to put in perspective just how much you are able to read in a year. We think we read so much, but when we see it all on paper, we are better able to recognize the limitations of our time.
Build a Reading Plan!
Do you struggle to pick up the next book? Do you go months without reading, and then regret that lost time? Take my word for it – you can read more than you think! And you can enjoy it so much more – you just need a plan. I challenge you to read more this year! If you want to build your own reading plan and challenge yourself to go further and higher than ever before, I’ve put together some resources to get you started!