The more you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
Reading is the one daily habit that connects together the most successful people in the world. Often underrated and overlooked, reading is consistently and historically the most powerful tool and habit available to everyone. The greatest leaders in the world and most influential thinkers attribute their personal growth and the heights of their achievements to their habit of reading. Books are powerful; those who spend the time to read them are equipped with a type of personal power and practical wisdom that only comes from reading.
The consumption of knowledge we absorb through reading is different than that from any other medium. Because it is a slower process and demands our full mental attention, what we read changes us. The words we consume go deep into our minds and change the landscape of our thinking. Even though I am an advocate for podcasts and other online educational resources, none of them will ever replace the value of a good book. A book allows us to walk through authors carefully thought-out words. Reading lets us swim in a sea of descriptions that bring more beauty to our minds and transport us places that conversational descriptions pale in comparison to. Time spent in the pages of a great book allows us to form a kinship with that author. Reading permits me to be mentored by some of the greatest and most profound thinkers, influencers and leaders in history; it allows me to be friends with storytellers I might otherwise never have the opportunity to meet and it expands the flexibility of my vocabulary, my thoughts and my understanding of the world around me. As Richard Steele wrote, “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
As a personal trainer I advocate daily exercise for the body; as a confidence coach, I advocate daily reading for the mind. Here are a few ways, some “reading hacks” if you will, that even the busiest of us can find ways to incorporate some good old reading time back into our go-go-go lives.
Reading Hack #1: Read Multiple Books at Once
This may sound counter-intuitive, but reading multiple books at once can actually help you stay motivated and interested in what you are reading. A lot of people slack on the habit of reading not because they don’t enjoy it, but rather because they have gotten to a sticky point in a book and aren’t enjoying that particular book. When you can jump back and forth between several books you can always find something that fits and corresponds to your current mood and desire. I personally bounce between three and four books at a time, typically three on my Kindle and one additional paperback book. Typically I select one personal development book, one leadership book and one Christian non-fiction book ,and then a forth that is just fun or non-categorized, and then depending upon my mood and my day I dive into whichever is the best fit for me that day.
Reading Hack #2: Invest in Audiobooks
The audiobook is the perfect companion to the person who commutes or travels a lot, as well as to the person who finds themselves bored while doing chores, errands or housework. Audiobooks offer us something different than podcasts, as they transport us to new levels of consciousness and deepen our literary intellect. The audiobook is truly the answer to anyone who says they are too busy to read.
Reading Hack #3: Focus on Minutes, Not Books
If the idea of finishing an entire book is daunting or you are discouraged because you consider yourself a slow reader, then the hack that will help you out most is found in changing your objective. Instead of focusing on finishing a book, focus instead on creating a daily habit of reading just 15 minutes each day. You can even initiate this habit by reading just 5 minutes at a time, three times throughout the day, and then work up to reading for 15 minutes consecutively. This is the strategy that I took on as a new mom at the start of 2015, having made the decision that I would commit to reading just 30 minutes per day. My 30 minutes turned into a habit that I so thoroughly enjoyed that I ended up reading about 60 minutes per day, ultimately making me take a look at the actual number of books I read and leading me to complete 50 books in just 7 months, or approximately 7 books per month (see the complete list of what I have read to date this year at the bottom of this post).
Reading Hack #4: Rewire Your Bedtime Routine
One of the most invasive disruptions to healthy and optimal sleep cycles is the habit of being in front of a screen immediately before going to bed. Turning the TV even just 30 minutes before going to bed will not only help you get better and more restful sleep, but it will also give you the opportunity to open that book you’ve been thinking about. If you have a TV in your bedroom, get it out. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Reading Hack #5: Multi-Task Read
If you have access to a Kindle reading device one of the best ways to sneak in extra reading time into your life is to change the font size on the screen. By increasing the font size you are then able to read while doing a variety of otherwise boring things, such as walking on the treadmill, exercising on the elliptical or stretching.
In short, there is no excuse not to read. Even if you don’t “like” it, do it anyways, even if it is just 10-15 minutes per day they will be minutes well invested that provide a high return on your personal development and growth. To further entice you to see books in a refreshed light, consider the following quotations:
A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.
We read to know we are not alone.
He that loves reading has everything within his reach.
And finally, if you aren’t sure where to start with what to read, take a look at my current reading list thus far for 2015:
The Best Yes:
Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands
Learning from my Children About What Matters Most
Amy Julia Becker
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet:
Tasting the Goodness of God in all Things
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depended Upon It
Making a Difference in a World that Needs You
Love is the Killer App:
How to Win Business and Influence Friends
God Will Use this For Good:
Surviving the Mess of Life
The Fortune Cookie Principle:
The 20 Keys to a Great Brand Story and Why Your Business Needs One
The Positive Thinking Secret:
How to Forget the Past, Smile at the Future and Laugh in the Face of Pain
The Legacy Journey:
A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity
The Power of Positive Thinking
Norman Vincent Peale
The Art and Science of Doing Nothing
Eat That Frog!
21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
God’s Way is Still the Best Way
Success Through a Positive Mindset
Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone
The Second Oldest Profession
Praising God from Head to Toe
Annie F. Downs
Break Your Own Rules:
How to Change Patterns of Thinking That Block Women’s Paths to Power
Jill Flyn, Kathryn Heath, Mary Davis Holt
Be a Circle Maker
Better than Good:
Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live
Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day
Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man
Bringing up Bebe:
One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
Think Like a Freak
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Happy Baby, Happy You
The Sh!t No One Tells You:
A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year
The Fear Project:
What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing…And Love
14,000 Things to Be Happy About
Barbara Ann Kipfer
The Happiness Project:
Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband
The Happy Life Checklist:
654 Simple Ways to Find Your Bliss
Teaching Your Heart to See God’s Light Everywhere
God’s Timeless Promises for a Life of Fulfillment
Flash the Donkey:
The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me About Life, Faith and Second Chances
Rachel Anne Ridge
How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate
Jacquette M. Timmons
Changes that Heal:
How to Understand Your Past to Ensure a Healthier Future
Dr. Henry Cloud
God is Able
Carry On, Warrior:
The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life
Glennon Doyle Melton
Stuff Christians Like:
#106 The Side Hug
More Than a Carpenter:
His Story Might Change Yours
Josh D. McDowell
9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life
Dr. Henry Cloud
The Art of Thinking Clearly
The Road We Must Travel:
A Personal Guide for Your Journey
Chan, Peterson, Hybels
The Slight Edge:
Turning Simple Decisions into Massive Success & Happiness
An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women
You Are More Than You Know:
Face Your Fears, Grow Stronger
The Motivation Hacker
When to Say Yes, How to Say Not to Take Control of Your Life
Henry Cloud, John Townsend
= 50 Books