Did you make New Year’s Resolutions this year? Having grown weary of failed resolutions, I “resolved” a few years ago to back away from the over-promise/under-deliver reality of New Year’s Resolutions.
This year, however, a personal goal grabbed my attention: I want to grow as a reader. I am not setting numeric goals, such as 3 books a month or 50 books a year. Nor am I using a creative tool that leads to reading a variety of genres. Instead, I am setting a simple, attainable goal that I think will help me become a better reader this year: keep a list.
That sounds too simple doesn’t it? Just a list. Create a document, read a book, and add it to the list. As the year continues, I will keep adding more books as I finish them. Here are a few reasons I think keeping a list will make me a better reader, and why I invite you to join me in this:
Finish what you start. Confession time here, I have a staggering number of books in which I have eagerly consumed a few early chapters, only to set it aside for the next book I get excited about. But only the books that we actually finish get added to the list.
Diversity. Though I am not setting specific goals for breadth in reading, a list will make if painfully clear if I am unbalanced in what I read. If we are only reading fiction, we should read some history. If we are only reading theology, we should read a bit on leadership. If we are only reading professionally, take a break and read something light-hearted. A dynamic list of books should give direction for what type of book to read next.
Competition. Another confession, I tend to be very competitive. I think keeping a list will drive me to read more. Though there is no shame in getting to the end of December and only having a handful of books on the list, many of us tend to be more driven when we are keeping score. And we often set smaller goals as we go along. For example, if by December 15 I have read 28 books, I will probably try to crank out 2 more to have read an even 30!
So that’s my goal. Keep a list. It’s simple. It’s attainable. And I think it will help. I hope to look back on 2016 and see that I read and finished a significant list of books with a healthy dose of diversity.
Want to join me in this simple practice? Have you found other methods to improve your reading? In college, I heard a motivational speaker
say, “Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today but for the people you meet and the books you read.” Let’s make 2016 a productive year of reading together. And I hope this simple step can help us become better readers.