It is not a secret to anyone that I love books and that reading not only feeds my mind, but also my soul. I am always asked how I am able to read so much while maintaining two jobs, a social life, and taking care of my health. And although most of the time I always give the same answer: It’s a matter of wanting to!, I know there is much more in play when reading with the intention of understanding, learning, and enjoying, so I want to share with you all the tips that have allowed me to build and maintain the habit of everyday reading.
Reading has been part of my growth since I was a little girl. At first, I would read many fairy tales, and as I grew older and made it to college I started reading books on history, literature, and many other things that made me fall in love with this practice.
Especially in my early 20s, I realized the many benefits that the habit of everyday reading brings into our lives. But to successfully include this practice in my routines, I had to give myself the chance to read while maintaining a good attitude and without complaining about it.
In fact, I like to think that one of the keys to creating any healthy habits that last, is to simply be patient, and have a good attitude in the process.
It is super important that you do not compare yourself to others in terms of how many books you can read, or how fast you do it. Instead, focus on the quality of your reading, because it makes no sense to read a few books a month without retaining or understanding what we are reading.
Let me tell you a personal story. As a Mass Communications undergrad student, I read a lot during college, however, I would forget many of those things after a few years. Reflecting on this, I realized that this happened because I was not reading to understand, but just to be able to pass my examinations. For this reason, I gave myself the time to learn how to read and retain the information. Instead of wanting to read 50 books a year, I started with the goal of wanting to truly understand and learn from a few books a year, and continued to progress from that.
The most important thing is that you understand what you are reading, not that you add more books to your library to presume that you read tons.
I love to share this saying: “We make time for what we want”, because I think it is super true. If you really want to read, you are going to find a way to include this habit in your life. For me personally, it helps to block my reading time on my calendar and add it to my morning routine. However, I also read during other times of the day when I feel like it. For example, at nights before going to bed, I try to read something that’s not too heavy on information so it calms me down and helps me sleep better.
Sometimes the best way to find time is to check our screen-time and realize that we usually spent lots of time doing nothing on social media and other apps, so the question is, What could I learn if I use part of this time to read and not just to kill time? We are talking about setting priorities.
It really helps me to think about what I want to read and why. To plan beforehand helps me to maintain my reading practice because I can relate it with my goals and life objectives.
I personally like to make a reading list for at least 3 months, and of course, I always have the option to change it or improve it on the way. The list just serves as a guide.
One of the reasons I stay inspired to continue reading is because I share what I read with those around me, so I am not only benefiting myself, but also those around me.
Sharing what I have learned helps me vocalize the information that’s entering my brain. And the fact that other people can ask me questions, inspires me to learn more about each topic and even to reflect more on them.
In the end, it is a matter of wanting. I hope you have learned from my experience, and that you can build your own reading routine. Make sure you follow me on Instagram @andreinavalderrama so you stay updated about the books I am reading, and all the tips you need to continue growing in your life.