Reading Goals 2018? Let's talk!

Reading Goals 2018? Let's talk!

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After I posted my January BS reading stack photo on Instagram this morning, I had a friend ask about my reading habits, specifically how do I find the time to read.

So I thought I would share some perspective, insights and a resource or two that have shaped my reading journey over the last few years.

1.     You don’t have to read the entire book – true story. For many years I felt like I owed it to the book and the author to read it from cover to cover in order to honor the essence and hard work it took to get this book into my hands. But sometimes that would stop me from even picking up certain books, afraid I would not be able to finish it. Or I would quickly rush through it in order to check it off my list. Give yourself permission to read parts of books with no guilt.

Look at it as a learning journey rather than a race to the finish (no gold medals for reading friends…although maybe there should be…I digress). Allow yourself time to digest or sit in certain passages or chapters that have impacted you. Soak it in. Mull it over. I think that is more honoring to the author that we are so impacted by their ideas that we want to pause and reflect in them rather than simply get through them.

2.     Stop buying new books! I know, singing to the choir here. But we can get caught up in getting the newest, the latest, the next in a series and the piles get bigger while our time to enjoy them remains the same. My general rule is if I have purchased/ borrowed more than 5 books that I have not even cracked open in a month, no more new books for the next 2 months.

3.     Where do you keep all your books anyway Brenda? I am super blessed to have big book cases in my hallways and office. And I keep a pile of the ongoing books I am currently reading on my desk and on my bedside table. But if my desk and bedside table pile feel like a taunt rather than a delight, I will move some of those books into the bookshelves to be returned to at a later date. I want the books immediately surrounding me to enrich and challenge me, not make me think of how much I have yet to get through (remember, it’s a journey not a sprint or a marathon). I also go through my bookcases twice a year to donate books that I have not used for the past two years to make space for my new ones.

4.     You can write in your books (unless they belong to someone else, or the library…and it’s hard to write in audio books). Yes, I write in my books, even the non-fiction ones. Books come alive when I can physically interact with them (I am a teacher and writer so why fight it!). Highlight, underline, write in the margins…when I engage a book in these ways, I become part of the story and my own learning becomes so much more vibrant. Sometimes I will take a photo of something I have highlighted, or I may transcribe it into my own journal. My books, my learning, my pens…permission granted.

5.     Make a list. Nerdy, perhaps, but oh so effective. I keep an ongoing list of books in simple categories that I have, or want to read or want to tell others about (there are journals and apps out there to do this as well.) I just keep the list in Evernote (https://evernote.com) and create sub-categories that make sense to me (spiritual, leadership, professional development, relationship development, non-fiction, feminism, etc...).

6.     Schedule reading into your calendar. Yep, put it right in there and protect that time. It’s not a luxury or an add-on, it is part of your wholehearted human development so make it part of your schedule and cultivate and practice it weekly (don’t wait for vacations either).

7.     Start with one book. That’s right. The best way to cultivate a reading habit or set a reading goal, is start with one, just one. Something you have always wanted to read, or that has been recommended to you or a book that has piqued your interest for some time. One page at a time, one chapter at a time in order to finish one book at a time.

8.     So why even consider a reading goal for 2018? Firstly, reading makes you smarter and healthier. That may seem obvious (smarter) but healthier seems questionable. However, science, biology and sociology confirm it in interesting and somewhat surprising ways. Check these out https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286301; https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/28/how-reading-fiction-makes-you-smarter.html; https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/23/why-we-read-authors-and-readers-on-the-power-of-literature

So what are my reading goals for 2018?

As of today, they include expanding my conflict management knowledge to enhance the courses I teach. I am also wanting to read more books by women authors this year (2-4) as well as first nations writers (starting with 1) in order to develop my understanding of the perspectives and journeys of my aboriginal brothers and sisters in Canada.

Also, I signed up for Amazon Prime in December...so that might be a problem.

Read on friends -- I would love to hear your reading goals and how reading changes and challenges you. 

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