One of my favorite resolutions to make is improving my literary life. The effects that reading can have on our lives is pretty revolutionary. For one, reading can increase your attention span and your memory, as well as decreasing stress. I know that reading has changed my life personally: it has given me a major (English literature), a potential career (teaching English to high schoolers) and a much-needed escape when the world around me becomes hectic. Even though I try to prioritize reading both in and outside of the classroom, I can always find room for improvement. This year, for example, I want to focus on increasing the quality, rather than the quantity, of the books I read by reading more memoirs, non-fiction and Christian literature. I can't recommend more that you spend more time grounded in literature in this new decade.
Maybe you, too, have resolved to read more in 2020 but find that you haven't finished a book and it's the last week of January. Maybe you're struggling to find time in a busy schedule, losing interest and motivation in reading, or are scrolling through Instagram instead of picking up a book. Even though we've already started 2020, it's never too late to cultivate a habit of reading. Below are my favorite tips in order to prioritize reading in a new year, busy schedule and all.
Find a consistent time to read every dayGiphy
I get it - as college kids, we find it difficult to find five minutes to breathe during the day, let alone sit down and open a novel. But I believe that if we were to take inventory of our lives, we could make more time for reading than we thought possible. My roommate, for instance, attempts to make reading part of her bedtime routine; I prefer reading mid-afternoon. If we intentionally schedule reading into our days, we'll progress in our reading goals rather than remaining stagnant.
Take a book with you everywhere you goGiphy
This tip is popular for a reason! No matter how packed your day is, there are bound to be periods where you will be waiting between activities. Instead of pulling out your phone and texting or scrolling, why not pick up your book and start a new chapter? You may be convinced that you won't have any time to read throughout the course of your day. Pack a book anyway.
Create specific and daily reading goalsGiphy
Thanks to the spread of the Goodreads reading challenge, it's easy for any reader to set reading goals for an entire year. However, if one doesn't accomplish these goals, one can feel increased frustration and guilt in their reading lives. Instead of focusing on the big picture of reading for my year, I like to see how I can prioritize reading every day. For example, I like to count how many minutes I spend reading per day, or how many pages I can get through. That way, I feel like I'm accomplishing my reading goals for the year, even if I have yet to finish an entire book.
Check out your campus libraryGiphy
I can guarantee that your library doesn't only have dusty textbooks from the 1950s. There are many contemporary and popular novels in the popular reading section, or on the library catalogue. Who knew that we could access so many books for free?
Alternatively, start a lending library with your friendsGiphy
Swapping books with friends is just like going to the library, but with a personal touch. Your friends know you the best, and are probably excited to share their favorite novels so you can enjoy them too. If you have friends, and if they like books, this is a great way to jumpstart your reading life.
Create a reading environmentGiphy
I'm the sort of gal who can read anywhere, but I do like to have an ideal environment where I can dive into a novel. I love reading by windows so I can get natural light with a cup of tea or coffee or a little snack. Constructing your own unique reading environment will make reading a ritual that you look forward to and that refreshes your day.
Take your book out to dinnerGiphy
Or on a bus ride, or on your lunch break. Let's face it: as much as we love people, there are going to be chunks of time when we have concentrated alone time. Why waste our time scrolling through our aunt's pictures on Facebook, when we can instead delve into a real book?
Make books your default relaxationGiphy
Let's face it: it's so much easier to browse social media than dive into a novel. Whenever I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, I'm tempted to reach for my phone or take a nap to destress and detox. Instead of these habits, I'm trying to make my book my go-to after a long day. Relaxing with literature will train our brains to go for books to de-stress: plus, reading a good book is never a waste of time.
Read what YOU want to readGiphy
Your reading journey belongs to you, so you should read what makes you feel excited, energized and inspired. Even though there's a lot of pressure to read classic novels or great works of history, you are just as valid a reader if you prefer YA novels, rom-coms or graphic novels. Plus, reading books you are passionate about will increase your motivation to finish them, meaning you will accomplish more reading in 2020.
No matter we are as college kids, there are ways to implement reading into our schedule. Ultimately, while finding time to read can be stressful, developing literary habits will allow us to reap so many benefits. Let's continue in 2020 by cultivating a culture of reading, even in the midst of a busy college schedule.