One of the most common New Year's resolutions for people of all ages is to read more. And while reports say that young people are reading more and more, in my experience people my age simply don't read that much. This, of course, isn't because they don't like reading. It has a lot to do with how busy college students are during the majority of the year.
So, then the option would be to read more during the summer. And while I do think that people do read more in the summer, with the push to make young people have full-time jobs, internships or co-ops during the break, there is little time left. However, reading consistently does not have to be a large time commitment. I have created a few rules for myself this year that have so far helped to finish several books despite the time constraints of two jobs and classes. These tips should work well for people who are working during the summer and don’t have all the free time in the world.
1. Set page goals.
This is likely the most important rule for reading consistently. This rule can make an intimidating novel look easy. This is especially true if one sticks to a consistent page number. I usually try to read smaller novels of around 300 pages so I usually stick to 25 pages a day. This usually takes me around half an hour.
2. Read late at night or early in the day.
These two options are the best way to go about your daily reading. The morning option is great because you are absorbing the information much easier, as the troubles of the day have not reduced you to a sluggish mess. The night option also works because of its relaxation benefits. Reading before bed has been shown to relax people significantly, allowing you to fall asleep much easier. I personally read earlier in the day because I find it hard to get the motivation to read after a long day.
3. Connect your reading goal to something else.
This step may just be for me, but I have found it very rewarding to connect my reading goals to other goals. For me, I connected my daily page goal to fitness. In that, if I failed to complete my daily page goal I would have to do 25 pull-ups or run a half mile. This not only has taught me very regimented discipline but has also improved my physical fitness as well.
4. Find a good environment.
Reading can be very trying in a time when we are constantly being harassed by stimuli. Therefore, I think it is smart to find a relaxing and quiet place to do your reading. Libraries are always excellent but not everyone has access to one. During the summer I find that reading outdoors is just the best. Reading under some shade with nothing but the faint sound of cars and the breeze is a perfect environment as one can get. Obviously listening to music is an option too. But it always is a good idea to listen to something that won't distract you from your reading as it could limit your comprehension of what is on the page.
5. Find out what you like.
This is not necessarily specific to summer reading but it will definitely help. Finding out what kinds of books you like is a process that can only be achieved by reading. This doesn’t mean you have to read everything under the sun, but it does mean trying new things. Whether you like historical fiction or philosophy, it will be impossible to find out without looking.
These strategies don't work for everyone. Some people just don't have it in them to read every day. And that is okay. But if you are seriously considering reading more I suggest that you give some of these steps a try.
Now, I have to see if these steps will help me finally finish Ulysses.