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How to Read More in the New Year

I'm Reading a Book Per Week in 2018, and This Is How I'm Sticking to It

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I'm not typically one for New Year's resolutions, but as a former bookworm who has fallen away from my favorite hobby more than I'd like to admit, I knew heading into 2018 that I would strive to read a book per week in the new year. Because I'm a fast reader, time has never been my issue — it has always been a lack of motivation that got in the way of my book consumption. How do I keep from getting distracted while reading? How do I find new, interesting books to read so I'm not always falling back on old favorites? (Though there's nothing wrong with a good Harry Potter reread every once in a while!)

Shortly before 2017 ended, I began doing three things to change my reading habits and help me stick to my goals. Of course, everybody has their own reading habits; my "tricks" may not be applicable or even possible for others aiming to read more. Read on to see what works for me, then follow along with our 2018 reading challenge to find more inspiration in the new year!

1. I carve out specific time for reading outside of my home.

In the past, it's been a struggle for me to commit to reading because I felt lazy; when I'd sit down on the couch with a book, I'd somehow notice dishes that needed to be washed, or my dogs would beg to go on a walk. Heck, I would sometimes end up answering work emails instead of diving into the book I'd been planning to read! It took a long time for me to realize that I didn't lose my love of reading — it's just that my own home is a distraction. So to accomplish my resolution to read more, I've begun setting aside specific time to leave the house and read somewhere with nothing to distract my attention.

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Now, my fiancé and I have a routine. When he leaves to go to the office on the weekends (he works a nontraditional schedule), he drops me off at a coffee shop, pub, or book shop somewhere near our apartment. With this setup, I spend at least an hour during every weekend day diving into whatever book is on my to-read list, with the coziness of a warm drink in hand and without distractions from around the house.

2. I have new books delivered monthly to treat reading like a gift.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Brinton Parker
To me, there's nothing quite as magical as receiving goodies in the mail. Every time the post comes, I'm like a kid on Christmas morning, tearing into packages to see what's inside. (Usually it's something boring, like laundry pods I forgot I ordered via Alexa, but the excitement is still there.) I've learned to use this love of mail to fuel my reading resolution.

With book-themed subscription boxes, I receive at least one new book to read every month . . . along with other goodies! My personal favorite is the Cozy Reader Club box ($65 per month, pictured above) because of its unique book picks and hygge-friendly contents like tea, candles, and cozy knitwear, but there are more affordable options like Bookcase.Club ($10 per month) that have the same surprise gift feeling.

3. I've found unique ways to get personal reading recommendations.

Over the holidays, two of my dear friends hosted a nontraditional "white elephant" gift exchange. Instead of every guest bringing a silly present to throw into the mix, every participant brought one of their favorite books (wrapped anonymously) to exchange. It ended up being one of my favorite holiday parties ever, and now I plan to incorporate a book exchange element into as many social scenarios as I can.

For my bridal shower, for example, I'm asking guests for a copy of their favorite book with a note written inside rather than a gift from my registry. Hopefully I'll walk away with a massive arsenal of books to read over the next year, all from trusted sources whom I love.

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