My trick to reading over 9.000 pages a year

My trick to reading over 9.000 pages a year

At the start of 2016, I tried to quantify my desire of wanting to read more. Other than being fun to do, reading is one of the most valuable activities in life. It allows you to:

  • Improve skills like analytical thinking and memory, but also learn new skills from the texts itself.
  • Learn about people and different personalities you encounter in real life.
  • Gain perspective, form and alter opinions.
  • Improving vocabulary and writing skills. As I prefer reading books in either Dutch or English, it also helps in becoming more proficient in secondary languages.

Futhermore, it is the ultimate activity for winding down after a busy day. By reading for an hour before bed, you consequently eliminate screen time to favorably impact melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Because reading requires focus it can act as a de-stressor, since your brain is occupied with reading instead of engaging in imaginary discussions and reminiscing about cringe-worthy past experiences.

Though I had an interest in reading more, it was still a challenge to do so with life getting in the way. In order to read more, I combined the following 3 principles I learned:

  • Start by doing the ‘smallest’ possible activity. An entire book seems like an obstacle, but just 25 pages before you put the book down, that seems doable! For some people this amount may be less, 10 pages. This clears the hurdle of starting to read, since the activity will only cost half an hour of your time at most.
  • To put time and effort into something, block off a moment in your calendar dedicated to just that task. For me this is the moment before I go to sleep.
  • James Clear has written an article on measuring, in which he states: ‘What we measure, we improve’. Once he started measuring how many pushups he did, he became stroinger. By recording his values, he began living with more integrity. He tracked his reading habit of 20 pages per day, which increased the numbers of books he read. I applied this same strategy by literally creating a 365 day grid on a piece of paper. This piece was then stuck to the cabinet next to my bed. After I read 25 pages for that day, I crossed off the box relating to that specific day. This allowed for a visual reminder of how much I read until the present day. On top op that, it motivates me to keep a streak going and to prevent gaps in the overview.

The result was that I read 7.125 pages; or 32 books in 2016. I intend to break that number and at least read the  9.125 in 2017, so I created a new grid. In addition to a “reading grid”, I now also added a pushup grid (45 pushups daily) to get me to do 16.000 pushups in 2017. Most likely it wont stop there, since the 3 principles noted above are applicable anywhere in life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *