While the New Year vibe is still going strong, I would like to write a little bit of guide on the habits of reading. In this step-by-step guide to successful reading, I breakdown the inputs and outputs that are required to successful reading. The goal of successful reading through this guide is to achieve your reading target and to maximise the benefit of reading that you reap. Read the guide below to find out the six steps to successful reading.
It doesn’t matter if you plan to read 5, 20, 50 or 200 books this year. What matters is that you are intentional with your goal. In order to be intentional with any goal, according to this article from Forbes it must be written down and broken down into steps.
Focusing on achieving micro goals is so much easier than focusing on a big goal. Which might look good on paper, but is not doable in real life. Trying to achieve something that is not doable is what we would want to avoid in order NOT to hamper our motivation and decide to throw in the towel.
So let’s look into the Step by Step Guide to Successful Reading
1. Have a clear cut decision on the books that you will read this year.
Dedicate a page on your organizer or notepad to list down the books you intend to read this year. Include the title, the author and the number of pages of the book. The books you plan to read may be emulated from people that you admire. For example, if you admire Warren Buffet you may find his book recommendations here.
Such book recommendation is just a Google away and don’t let their list overwhelm you. Always choose doable books and resist the temptation of falling into the ‘New Year, New You’ trap.
2. Have the books you plan to read ready at hand.
Nothing shows how serious you are about conquering your goals than taking action. Having the books you plan to read at your disposal makes it easy for you to start with your conquest.
Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily have to purchase the books you plan to read. A local library might have the titles you are interested in. By having a list of titles ready, you may contact the library for more information to help your planned reading.
Supporting your local library is a great way to save money, build a rapport with the library personnel and to construct a sense of discipline in finishing your reading in a timely manner.
3. Know the purpose of each book you selected to read.
Being fully aware of the purpose of each book that you selected makes reading more enjoyable and beneficial. Not every book you read should be for entertainment, yet not every book you read should be heavy. Knowing the why behind each book makes you mentally prepared to face the books and read them.
Other than that, being intentional with your selection allows for flexibility. With a list of books in hand, you don’t have to be rigid and read a heavy dry non-fiction to accompany you while waiting in the car for your kids/friends/colleagues. You have the flexibility to carry a novel instead. This way, you have the margin to choose what to read without diverging from your intended reading list.
4. Join a reputable reading group.
Having friends who plan to finish the same books as you is delightful and very motivating. Often such groups meet up to discuss the book after completing the reading and this is the part where reading gets interesting.
Such meet up allows for exchange of ideas, impressions and thoughts about a specific book. The plethora of input may shift your perspective, offer brand new insight, and a very useful skill that can be beneficial anywhere you go – to articulate your point and to accept those of others.
I have joined The Classics Challengers since 2018 and I find this group very sociable, respectful and practices conversational learning at its best.
5. Write a review for each book you read.
Exercising the mind to cast an opinion on a book and writing it down is just as challenging as picking up a book and reading to its end. Just allow yourself the opportunity to wrap up your reading experience or for a brain-dump; just as long as there is some form of processed output from your reading.
With time, review writing would turn out to be more exciting than the reading because many questions arise at this point. This brings unknown opportunities of exploring subjects that you might not have known you were interested in. In my honest opinion, review writing is always the most exciting part of reading.
If it weren’t for expanding your horizon or in-depth learning, wouldn’t shallow reading lead to nowhere? And whether or not your reading had been shallow can only be determined from the review you concoct.
6. Keep coming back to your reading list.
Ideally, we would want to complete our reading list in its entirety and write impressive reviews when we’re done. However, let’s not kid ourselves. I have a book that’s on the 11th year on my reading list. I’ve failed 10 times, but that’s just how life is.
My point is to never give up. You might abandon a book half way because you think you can’t waste anymore time and you need to move on to the next one. So do that. Move on to the next one.
And when you’re done with your list, you can come back to the ones you have abandoned.
Trust me, there was a reason you had intentionally listed that book. Just dust it off and try again.
Now I’m curious to here from you. How many books have you abandoned that you picked up again only to find how interesting the book is. I would like to hear your story! You may let me know from the Comment section below. Or, if you are a subscriber to The Baini Mustafa Weekly Email, you may reply to me directly.
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Until then, communicate your ideas effectively because the world needs to know the stuff only YOU know.