I Read A Book A Week — Here’s How I Do It

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commit to life long learning

About two years ago, I committed to using my down time more wisely and invest it in reading. It was one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made.

I struggled at first.

I was used to getting a quick dose of dopamine with every scroll — not every page, but sooner than I thought, I was devouring knowledge more ferociously curious and just as entertained, as any late-night Pinterest binge.

I started from literally struggling to finish a book for months, to reading 14 books this year — and it’s just April!

Reading a lot made a huge leap in my life:

I stopped trying to look interesting and started being interested.

I stopped trying to impress others, and sought out ways to be impressed by the world.

I also stopped being entertained by books, and started to actively use them.

Guess what happened? My life expanded.

Almost over night, I felt on fire. And more so, people around started being even more drawn to how I see the world. I had more depth, more nuance, more understanding.

I started seeing things differently, then, doing things differently, that led me to seeing myself differently.

As soon as I started to show up as a different person in my life, my life immediately started to change for the better. These past years I’ve grown more than I did in all my collage years combined.

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Why read more?

There are countless benefits to reading regularly, and I don’t mean IG descriptions!

It enhances your analytical skills, your memory, your creativity, your vocabulary, your speaking and writing skills. It also reduces stress and hands you a great amount of culture without needing to buy a plane ticket or schedule a meeting with the author.

Most importantly, reading allows you to live with the thoughts of other people for a while. It makes you experience life in new and empowering ways. It literally changes you from the inside out.

Imagine what happens if, for just half an hour a day, we would press pause on our own thoughts and allowed someone else’s thoughts to run the show. We would, quite literally, be thinking the authors thoughts.

I sure want to think like my heroes, don’t you?

It’s like putting on a dress to see it if fits. You try out a world view, a belief, a mindset and decide if you feel more comfortable, more capable or more happy wearing it. Then you can choose to make it your own or put it away. The choice is always yours.

But keep in mind, you don’t know what you don’t know.

That’s why exposing yourself to more knowledge is so relevant. After all, creativity is merely the act of connecting different ideas together in original ways. But how are you supposed to be creative if you only know as much as everyone else around you already knows from the outside environment? Open up the doors to new worlds and connecting the dots will come naturally.

The content of what you read is just as important, if not more, than how much you read, but I want to help you get in the habit of actually taking the time to feed your mind and we can talk about specific books in the comments.

Shall we?

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1. Make it your identity

Is being a worldly, educated and intelligent woman a priority to you? Is it someone you want to be? Then make that vision clear and colorful in your mind’s eye. What do you want to be like? What do you want others to say about you? How can reading help you achieve that? All change starts with a compelling vision.

If you shift your identity first, then everything will fall effortlessly into place.

2. Make it personal

One of my dreams is being a great writer, so reading ties into that goal. In order to write well, you need to read well, so it’s quite relevant to my personal journey.

If you’re into the arts, it might just be a good idea to understand human behaviour and emotions, so you can spill that knowledge in your work and let the art truly speak to people. If you’re a mom, get your hands on some parenting advice or a book on how to build a side hustle on the web, to keep you busy while you’re at home.

Reading is the means, not the goal itself. So how can reading benefit your particular life and interests?

3. Join a book club

Association is a beautiful tool if you use it properly, so surround yourself with people that are polished and intelligent, decisive and worldly. — And remember, you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.

4. Find role models

The people I look up to are all highly educated people with truly cosmopolitan personalities. Doing the things they do, makes me feel like I’m part of their world. It makes me feel like I’m that kind of a person.

If you can’t physically spend time with people that are better than you, at least do it mentally with role models and mentors.

5. Follow your curiosity

“Read what you love, until you love to read.” — Naval Ravikant

Follow your heart and let it lead you. Only buy the titles that are truly sparking to your curiosity. I’m serious, do not read anything else.

Right now, all you want to do, is make it so enjoyable, that you build a habit out of it. Eventually, this will make all future reading second nature to you.

After you’ve established the habit, you can dive into new and complex fields, read critically and enjoy pondering ideas you don’t truly agree with. Soon enough, your curiosity will need harder and harder challenges to get the same high, so you’ll naturally get into heavier lectures or drier, scientific facts, that will benefit you even more on a daily basis.

6. Always keep a book at hand

Us, humans, generally shy away from large or difficult tasks in order to save energy. So cut down on the steps between you and your desired action. Have one sitting on your night stand or carry one in your purse.

7. Use Technology

Get an Audible account so you can listen to audiobooks while driving, putting on make-up or cleaning the house. Or you can even set up a Kindle account and have your favorite book synced on all your devices.

Let technology work for you, not against you. Make it help you focus, instead of distracted, and you’ll already be in the top 10% of the population, by taking back your precious time.

8. Don’t finish it

This was major for me. I felt this incredible pressure to finish what I started, even if I hated the content. If I struggled with with reading a book, I would punish myself and stop myself from enjoying a different book until I finished the first one. Witch made me lose out on some valuable advice at the very moment in time I may have needed it most. It sounds crazy now that I’m saying it, but so many of us have the same rule!

Let go of that! Start as many books as you feel like and just read whatever calls you. If a book is bad, that’s fine, there are as many books as there are their authors, you don’t have to agree or like all of them.

You are allowed to have moods and tastes, and as soon as you’ll embrace that, you’ll find there are books out there soothing to you for all these different phases of your life.

9. Map out a time and place

Decide in advanced what a good time to read looks like for you.

I decided I was going to train my mind as I train my body, so I started listening to audiobooks while going on a run or doing my strength training. I also listen all the way to the gym and back home. Doing so, I have a really serene state, since my mind chatter is quieted by the sound of a narrator teaching me stuff I truly want to know.

I made a whole lot of other associations too. Whenever I’m standing in line somewhere to run my errands, I always pop up a great book that keeps me entertained. I do the same if I’m caught up in traffic or travelling on a plane. I’m never rolling my eyes and staring at my watch in despair. I’m actually enthusiastic that I get a few minutes to finish my chapter.

You can also plan out a time of the day, like half an hour in the morning before work or an hour before bed. So, what is a good time and place to read, that fits in your life?

10. Track your progress

“What gets measured, gets done” is a saying that is true for reading too. Track your pages or chapters per day, it will give you a sense of fast accomplishment. I like to track my books in an app and rate them. I also keep my notes over there, so I can go back to some piece of advice I really enjoyed. Seeing how I got from 0 per year, to a book per week makes me feel proud, and that is a reward in and of itself.

11. Pair it with pleasure

As opposed to point 6 and 7, where I suggest you fill in your wasted time with invested time, now I want you to think of something you already love to do, and add reading to it. Say you love spending time in nature, a hot bath or really enjoy a glass of iced tea. Tie them together! Whenever you open a book at night, you get to sip a glass of your favorite tea. (Mine is Jamaican Rum.)

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You’re all set. Now go do some magic!

Use a few or all of the tips above and make reading and learning a bigger part of your life.

You might just find your career path in a book, a solution to your most burning problem or a new way of looking at things that will shift you forever. Subconsciously, you already know what you need to find out, so let it guide you to the book you actually can’t wait to open!

All of the greatest minds in this world have been life long learners, so find pride in being a student of the world.