If Your New Year's Resolution Is To Read More Books, Read This

When was the last time you read a good book? Was it yesterday, last week, or several months ago? Most Americans read about 12.6 books in 2021, according to Gallup. That's significantly less compared to 2016 when the average number of books read was 15.6. What's more, only 6% of adults would prefer to spend their evenings reading books.

In this digital era, we have Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and entertainment websites for all ages. But nothing can replace a good book. Reading for just 30 minutes a day can add years to your life, reduce stress, and boost brainpower, reports Bustle. This habit also fuels creativity and improves mental focus, notes University of the People. Over time, it may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease, increase your productivity at work, and expand your vocabulary.

If your New Year's resolution is to read more books, try to make a plan and stick to it. No matter your schedule, you can put a few minutes aside each day to explore new worlds and broaden your horizons. 

Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality

There's often an "all-or-nothing" mindset when it comes to reading. For example, you may think you should read a minimum number of pages or commit to a specific time frame for finishing the book. The best thing you can do is to ditch this mentality and focus on building a habit. Simply put, try to read a little every day — even if it's just one page. If you force yourself to read five or 10 pages or finish the book within a week, you'll eventually lose motivation.

Harvard Business Review notes that it's perfectly fine to quit reading a book and start a new one. If you read just for the sake of it, you'll see it as a chore and give up. So, go ahead and make your own rules rather than trying to set specific goals. Carry a book with you and plan reading breaks when the time allows it. Or you can read a few pages while drinking your morning coffee, before bedtime, or whenever you feel like it. 

Keep yourself motivated to read more

No matter how organized we are, life gets busy at times and our schedule becomes full. Daily stress, bad sleep, and health problems only make things worse. Sometimes, it's just too difficult to find the motivation to read a book. Oprah Daily suggests joining a local book club or participating in a reading challenge to keep yourself motivated. Goodreads, public libraries and other organizations often run reading challenges and competitions, so that's a good starting point.

Joining a local book club can be a great experience, too. You'll not only feel motivated to read more but also make friends and expand your network. Plus, you may get the chance to engage in debates and explore new perspectives. Alternatively, look for virtual book clubs or start one yourself. Time recommends the Quarantine Book Club, Silent Book Club, Rebel Book Club, and other online platforms connecting readers worldwide.

Most importantly, think of reading as "me" time. After all, it's an opportunity to relax and escape the mundane by letting your mind run free. A good book can make you forget about your daily worries and provide a well-needed break. Plus, you can read in your car, on the street, or at work without depending on technology. 

Seek out books that reflect your reality

While it's great to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there are times when you may feel more inclined to read books that reflect your reality. For example, you may want to read a romance novel if you're in love, or grab a self-improvement book when you need a boost of motivation. Business and leadership books can help you see things from a different perspective and make it easier to start something on your own. Fiction books, on the other hand, can wake up your inner child and boost your creativity.

Susie Demond, a novel writer and contributor at Book Riot, recommends mixing up the genres you're reading. This approach helps you "avoid book hangovers" and "keeps you on your toes." Plus, you'll always have something to look forward to at the end of a long day, regardless of your mood. Demond also suggests reading "choose-your-own-adventure" books, such as Robin Ryle's "She/He/They/Me," Rick Moody's "Hotels of North America," or Lilla and Nora Zuckerman's "Beauty Queen Blowout."

Another tip comes from the BBC: "Put the book down when it gets good." This way, you'll feel more motivated to continue reading and build a habit around it. You might even end up skipping your favorite Netflix series and grabbing a book instead!