When I was a little child, I took weekly trips into the land of unknown, hidden in the local library. Every Saturday, my back was bending carrying the two bags of books back home. But my mind was about to go and fly from the excitement. Then I lost it. But now my book relations is rekindled anew! How?
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. [Jorge Luis Borges]
Everybody likes a love story… Especially rekindled one…
When I was little, I read a lot. I used to go to the small village library back home every Saturday, spend 2 hours there browsing the shelves and then coming home with two full bags of fresh books to crack. We used to go there with my classmate Hako and just browse, open the book, read a couple of pages, see how it feels. And if it felt right, here it went up on the pile of others… It’s been an amazing time. I even kept this hand-made bookmarks collection. Everytime I started a new book, I drew a small rectangel on the thick paper, cut it out with scissors and carefully wrote the book title and author on the cover page. Then while reading, I was just noting down the main characters and at the end, I finished with my own simplified synopsis… I wish I would have kept this treasures of my childhood, but I think I threw them away in one of my “I’m an adult now” moments…
Here comes the happy plot twist…
Just couple of days ago the month of May finished. For me, date May 31st marked besides the end of month also the end of official challenge to read 31 days without exception and the renewed love story – me and reading. That’s what thirty-one days of daily reading brought me in the first place. I feel I’m in love with books again. A month ago, it was rather an acceptance.
I started with daily reading right after I got back from work, but this didn’t work much for me. So I switched to an audiobook listening every morning during the car-drive to the office. It’s amazing, how well this fit with me. This was for the last month The Lean Startup [get the book in English here, in Slovak/Czech here]. It gives me ideas for work and it starts my thinking into the business topic. Yesterday I haven’t gotten the new audiobook into my phone, so when I sat down into the car, I had nothing to listen to. It was a strange feeling to listen to radio during the drive. I was missing my book listening.
The second time, that I found I like to read is the evening in bed. The moment I lay down, I take the kindle or regular book and spend around 30 minutes reading. At this time I reach for the leisure literature, namely The Interesting Times. It’s great for the setting of my dreams and imagination and for unplugging the brain from the reality.
What is it worth anyways?
For me personally, reading is something I pick-up and drop in cycles. And I was pretty unhappy about it. So I decided to change it and make myself a long-term reader. That’s why I went for the one full month with no exception (and today it’s another week of month number two).
What is it worth for you? I really don’t know. Maybe you just would like to try. Maybe you wish you’d have time to read more for passion. Or you need to read books to develop some knowledge for work. Or you just like interesting challenges.
The question ‘why’ is important. But I’d rather ask ‘Why not? Can’t you go and try it for a month?’
Ok, ok. I’m in this reading for a month idea. But I don’t wanna start and fail. What should I do?
Step 1: Take the start seriously. And have fun!
I mean, don’t go for one date, try 30 dates and then see. But don’t be stressed. It’s an experiment. But it should be completed. Grab the book by the hand, I mean by the cover, and start reading for the sake of reading. Let the rest happen. In the beginning, it’s good to know, why you actually start. But maybe the results will be totally different.
Step 2: Let the others know (and maybe even join)
I know, it’s strange to let public know about new relationship, but I guarantee you, it will help you to survive one month together. You can share on facebook, twitter, or just let your friends know. Are you afraid of the public commitment? Good! That means it will work even better on you! Go out and shout it out loud: “I commit to read EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR NEXT 31 DAYS! No exceptions!”
It’s pressure, but hey, it’s for a good reason!
Plus I’ll bet you’ll find someone who will join. And that’s even better. A reading buddy. Just like me and Hako on Saturday mornings, you can share this habit with one or more people and help yourself stay on it!
Step 3: Use tracking and reminding tools
Tracking is important. I recommend iPhone apps Momentum or Way of Life, or a print-out calendar. Or just use your standard calendar. Or prepare a pile of coins in a small container and remove one into a small piggy bank every time you complete the daily reading. The point is to have some kind of visual status report for yourself everyday. This will help you not to forget.
As well, the tools should remind you to read. Either phone notification. Or a post-it paper on the door of your apartment. Or ask a fried for it.
Step 4: Create a reward/punishment scheme
You can start with the money from the previous point as a reward. Let’s say you complete it for 31 days, end up with 31 EUR (or more, if you go with more daily money stake). Or put money where your mouth is and use the stickk.com (you put stakes on doing something, and if you don’t your money goes to some charity or organization which you support, or, one that you hate!).