I read 15 pages
every most mornings. I’ve tried to make reading a part of my morning routine for a couple of months now. I have to say, I strongly recommend it. I was trying to do it every night, but when I go to bed I’m tired– I don’t want to add one more thing. The result: I wasn’t reading. When I switched my reading from the evenings to the morning, I had a lot more success actually reading. I now read about 15 pages every day or 100 pages a week (almost always one of my weekly goals). I give myself a little grace for the weekends, since I don’t always aim to keep my routine. I now get through two books per months, plus or minus a little wiggle room. We’re not through December yet and I’ve already finished 24 books this year according to my Goodreads Challenge! Compare that to the 7 books I read from September-December in 2015. In fact, on New Year’s Eve last year, I remember telling Casey that I needed some time to finish my book and, lucky for me, he was very understanding. Even though I aimed for 20 this year, since I’ve crossed that off, I’m now aiming for 25! It’s certainly a reach goal, but I’m willing to push myself to get there.
This week has been rough. As I mentioned on Twitter, I’ve been dealing with a lot of muscle spasming and a pulled muscle in my rib cage. I’m more tired than usual and, frankly, a little more cranky because of it. I’m uncomfortable and I don’t really want to get out of bed. As you might know, I drive my neighbor’s kids to school, so “I don’t want to get out of bed” is not a viable reason to not get out bed since they still need to get to school on-time. It’s crazy what being on someone else’s schedule can do to your sense of obligation.
Yesterday morning, I watched the alarm clock go off at it’s usual time of 5:55 AM. I was awake, but after another night of poor sleep, I didn’t get up. I rolled around and avoided getting up until 7:05, when I have to leave the house by 7:10 to go pick up the kids. (Let’s just call it: I was being lazy- but justifiably lazy.)
The result: I didn’t read yesterday morning. This morning when I sat down to read, I aimed to only read my usual fifteen pages.
Have you ever heard of the app Headspace? The idea is that it can help you with guided meditation for 10 minutes per day. I have been trying to do it for a couple of weeks now. I have in my daily to-do list (in my Wellness category) to do my 10 minutes of Headspace. I haven’t done it once in the past three weeks. Now I feel like I have a so much to make up when I start that I get initmidated by the idea of starting! It’s the same thing with reading. If I told myself that instead of reading only 15 pages, I had to read 30, 45, or 60, I’d be so overwhelmed I would not be able to start.
Instead, my staying focused on that very small goal, I am setting myself up for success. 15 pages is always doable. Worry less about catching up and more about continuing forward.
Setting Yourself Up for Success aka Chunking
When I finish reading for the day, I take my seoncdary bookmark and mark off 15 pages. This means that when I sit down to read tomorrow, I will already know what page I need to reach without having to make any decisisions that morning. This helps keep me from falling short of my goal each morning or making excuses about my progress.
Fifteen pages is also a reasonable goal. Depending on how awake I am when I start each morning and what bok I’m reading, it can take 20-25 minutes to get my reading done in the morning. Setting reasonable goals are a prerequisite for setting yourself up for success.
It’s Okay to Fail- Just Don’t Make It a Habit
Some days you’re not going to get the reading done. That’s okay. Brush it off and start over the next day. Every day is an opportunity to start over, including for these daily habits!
And remember these habits add up! Fifteen pages per day turns into 105 pages per week which turns into about 2 books per months.
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.