Year of Reading: Series Introduction



 At the beginning of 2021, I set an audacious goal. I wanted to read one book a week for the entire year.

Several factors played into this goal.

a.       I’d heard that the average CEO reads 50 books a year. Some faulty logic told me that by reading 50 books in a year I’d be just like a CEO. It’s like saying “all pro tennis players own a tennis racket, so if I own a tennis racket, I’ll be a pro”. Now let’s be clear, I didn’t actually think reading 50 books would make me a CEO, but I was attracted by the habits of CEOS.

b.       I noticed that I was reading at a pace of about one book per week, so continuing seemed doable.

c.       I noticed that there were a few books I repeatedly borrowed from the library because I enjoyed them so much and wanted to come back to the information they provided. But I’m so cheap that I never buy books. So I made myself a deal: if I read a book a week, I’d let myself buy 12 books. This too was a mental trick. I could have just as easily bought the books without the deal, but making the deal allowed me to feel like I had “earned” them.

So with my reading pace noted, the similarity to the habits of CEOs and needing to trick myself into buying books, I set my goal. To motivate myself, I told a few people I was close to. They’d check in casually on my reading which helped me stay accountable. Additionally, I recorded each book I read on my calendar in the margin beside each week.

One thing I didn’t factor into my plan was change. At the time, I was easily reading as book a week. I even sometimes read the same book twice within the week. Once just to read it and another time to take notes on it.

But then I move and changed jobs. And I couldn’t keep up anymore. I was reading, but sometimes a book would take two or even three weeks. I tried to read more, and felt stressed, but kept slipping behind.

It was only after this season (7 months) was over that I realised why it was so hard. My schedule had changed. I used to read while I ate breakfast. 15-30 minutes reading, 7 days a week really added up. But when I no longer read over breakfast, trying to find time throughout the day didn’t work.

Thankfully, in October, I had two weeks of nothing. Every evening after my hikes, I’d sit down and read for hours. This was such a time of refreshment. And amazingly, I almost caught right back up. But I still had some work to do.

So until the end of the year, I focused on carving out consistent time to read each day.

But in the end, I didn’t read 52 books.

I read 54!

Yup, I was able to catch up and even read a few extra books before December 31.

For the next year, I’ll be sharing the books I read, and the books that topped my list and now my shelves. I’ll be sharing a brief description of the books, my thoughts and how it impacted me.

Just a few quick take-aways for now though.

·         Setting a clearly defined goal was hugely inspiring to keep me reading, even when I had no energy.

·         Creating a reward not only helped me continue, but also helped me do something I might not have otherwise: buy books.

·         Tracking the books on paper was essential. If I hadn’t had that staring me in the face, I could have forgotten how many books I’d read and spent lots of energy remembering.

·         Realising how my daily routine impacted my reading was necessary to understanding and improving.

Note, that as I share the books, I’ll be sharing 4 at a time mostly, but because I got a bit behind and had to catch up, they might not all have been read in that specific moth. But this is the order I read them in. 

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