3 Excuses To Stop Making To Read More Books This Year
See if this sounds familiar: ‘I want to read more books but I can’t because of x,y or z reason’.
Whether you are thinking of reading more books or not, this line of reasoning can be used to describe any habit such as eating healthy, exercising or saving money.
I’ve been in that situation and have even said that same sentence to myself and others. But the truth is, it is an excuse.
Everybody has the ability to read more books. It is fine if you don’t want to read more, just don’t make excuses for it. Be real. Reading is just not a priority for you at the moment and that’s okay.
For those who are keen to read more in 2021, here is a short guide filled with some hacks I’ve developed over the course of my reading journey.
The Time Barrier:
‘I want to read more books but I don’t have the time.’
Hack: Read for only 2 minutes every day.
As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says: ‘a habit needs to be established before it can be improved’.
So pick up a book, read it for 2 minutes and put it back down again. The next day, do the same thing. And repeat. You get the point.
Start increasing the time once you’ve accumulated 21 days of consistently reading for only 2 minutes. Maybe try 3–4 minutes for the next couple of weeks before aiming for 10 minutes of daily reading.
The challenge of creating any new habit is starting. Inertia can be a powerful force to overcome, which is why you should not try to fight it. Instead, harness momentum for your own benefit. That slow drip will soon turn into a roaring wave with consistent effort.
The 2-minute rule is designed to get you started. It is like going to the gym. You don’t try and bench 100kgs on your first day. You start with much lighter weights and progressively overload and stretch yourself over time. The same principle works with reading.
The 2-minute rule also sets some early boundaries with your goals. Most people start a habit off really strongly, which is great. But that early motivation is rarely sustainable over the long term. You would rather do the bare minimum to keep progressing for a long time than aim for perfection and burn out after a few months.
So while you might want to read a book a week you need to start with a system that you can manage. You want to think big with your goals, start small with your habits and iterate your system quickly. Find what works best for you and don’t stop.
The Interest Barrier:
‘I don’t know where to start reading. The choice of books can be overwhelming.’
Hack: Read what you love until you love to read.
Don’t listen to what everyone else says to read.
This is your own reading journey.
You get to decide what you want to read. With that in mind, read whatever interests you. Comics, romance, comedy, Twilight, whatever. Just sit down and read something.
Slowly over time, you will start to mature your reading habits and your natural curiosity will take over. Don’t put any pressure on yourself to conform to any standard or social pressure.
There will be an endless procession of people saying you have to read this book or that article. Ignore them. It might offend them, it might hurt someone’s feelings. I am sure they will get over it.
In the beginning, you want to cultivate your own interests and protect your curiosity. They are the most powerful weapons you have in the knowledge economy.
Investing time to understand your likes and dislikes will give you a better direction later on in your learning journey. It is a bit like dating. Don’t settle for the first topic you’re interested in. Keep reading widely until you find something that captures your attention effortlessly.
You will get to a point where you will just love to read for leisure. So no matter what you read, it will be interesting. You just enjoy the journey of learning something new so much that the topic doesn’t matter.
The Cost Barrier:
‘Books are too expensive. I can’t afford them.’
Hack: Use libraries or second-hand book stores
I am not advocating this, but in this day and age, you can find almost anything for free on the internet. This includes books and podcasts. Similarly, libraries and second-hand book stores offer free to heavily discounted pre-loved books that you can have for yourself.
If you don’t have space around the house and need to save some cash, go to the library. If you love to highlight, write and collect your books, go for second-hand book stores. When you face restrictions, you will innovate. Necessity is the mother of all invention.
I would also argue that books are an investment in yourself. If you can afford to eat out often, you can afford to buy a few new books every year. Again, this is all about priorities and what you choose to invest your time and money in.
As Robert Kiyosaki says, the ‘rich pay themselves first and then everyone else later. The poor do the opposite.’ Invest in yourself first. It pays the best dividends.
Other Quick Tips:
- Don’t be afraid to quit books — lost interest in a book? Ditch it. Move on to the next one. Don’t get stuck reading a boring book. Life is too short.
- Bring a book everywhere — make use of otherwise dead time. Waiting for doctors, on public transport, waiting to meet a friend. It will make the wait time more bearable and productive.
- Less social media — instead of scrolling through social media, pick up a book. Your eyes and mental health will thank me later.