Reading books has immense benefits yet, it can be a very boring exercise. This is the case for many people, especially passive readers. For the avid readers, it is a habit they have formed and never find it difficult to continue doing.
When a new year is approaching, it is a common practice for people to set goals they wish to accomplish but often times, only a few get to achieve those goals. At the beginning of 2018, I set a goal for myself which was to read 100 books. At the time, many people including myself doubted the possibility of reading that number of books in a calendar year considering busy schedules and other commitments.
However, I did not let the thoughts of how difficult it is to achieve to deter me from going ahead. So, how did I do it? Here, I’ll share with you the strategies I employed to read 101 books in 2018.
Write down the goal
The power of written goals cannot be overstated. A written goal gives you clarity and motivates you to action. One of the major challenges to achieving one’s goal is procrastination but with written goals, you can overcome it. The first thing I did was to write down my goal. It simply read, “I want to read 100 books in 2018”. Every day I see those words, they remind me of my goal and keep me on track. As the popular self-development expert, Brian Tracy stated, “write down your goals, make plans to achieve them, and work on your plans every single day”. This principle worked perfectly for me.
Plan all the way
A written goal without a plan will remain on paper. The key to achieving any goal is to plan in advance and a good plan is the starting point of any great achievement. My plan for the year was to read 3 books in 10 days. That makes 30 books in 100 days and ultimately, 90 books in 300 days. The remaining 65 days of the year was to be used to read the remaining 10 books. After drafting this plan, I wrote it down and placed it where I could see it every day. I also tweeted this plan and pinned down the tweet. Any time I checked my twitter page, I’m reminded of my plan.
Schedule your readings
I cultivated the habit of reading every morning and late in the night before going to bed. To make it easier for me, I set aside 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night just to read. There were times I read more than that but I never missed out on my 30 minutes schedule.
Read anywhere and everywhere
These days, our schedules are tight and we hardly have time to read. However, there are brief moments of idleness such as waiting for someone in the lobby, in transit, free time and so on. These times were good for me as I always had a book with me. So instead of waiting or sitting doing nothing, I read instead.
You can read more than one book at a time
There is a belief among some people that you must finish a book before starting another. While this may be true for some people, it wasn’t the case for me this year. There were times I read more than a book at a time. What this helped me do is that I was able to keep reading even when I got bored by a particular book. For example, while reading a self-help book and it’s getting boring, I might switch to a memoir. This helped me keep us with my goal and never got bored. With a book with you always, there were never dull moments.
Tell people about the goal
It is easy to set goals, plan and stop following through at some point. What I did to overcome this possibility was to tell people about my goal. Family, friends and colleagues were all aware of this goal and they served as constant reminders whenever they asked how far I’ve gone with my goal.
Measure your progress
To reach your goals, you have to measure your progress. Every book I read, I counted and as the list was growing, I became more confident and aware of my target. This way, I was able to keep my goal in mind. As Peter Drucker, the management guru puts it, “if you can measure it, you can manage it”. With a clear metric to measure my progress, achieving the goal became easier.
It is not sufficient to love books or want to acquire knowledge, what keeps you going is discipline. The ability to set a goal, plan and follow through requires a high level of discipline. There are lots of distractions such as the social media that can take your eyes of the goal but I never failed to follow through on my plans even when it proved difficult sometimes.
Reading more than 100 books in a year is a dream come true for me. It was a daunting and adventurous exercise but the feeling that comes with setting a goal and achieving it is a feeling you don’t want to miss out on.