We’re almost half-way through 2017— so how are those New Year’s resolutions of yours? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably let a few slide or you’re barely holding on to others. Reading was one of my resolutions, and there have been quite a few days and weeks where I’ve struggled to keep up—and today is definitely one of those days. So like the weirdo I am, I wrote this blog post for myself but thought I’d share it with you.

1. Stop Making Excuses

The biggest obstacle to reading is making excuses!  There will always be something that seems more important than reading, and if you don’t make reading a priority, you will always have an excuse not to read. (I may be writing this blog as an excuse not to read.)

2. Start Small

Don’t start off with an 800-page book! When you start off too big, discouragement gets you, and you won’t want to continue. Start with what you’re comfortable with— whether it’s a blog post, some newspaper articles, or a 100-page book. Start something you know you can finish!

3. Enjoy what you read

Life is too short to read books that you don’t enjoy! If you’re not enjoying it, there’s no shame in putting the book down and starting something else. When you’re not reading for a school or work, it shouldn’t be a burden. Go ahead and pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read and enjoy it.

4. set apart time

You can’t read if you don’t have time, and you won’t have time if you don’t set aside time. So it’s as simple as picking a certain time every week or every day to read. It can be every Saturday or every night before you go to bed. Whatever it is, find a time where you won’t be interrupted and you can simply sit and enjoy your book.

5. create a habit

Now that you have set apart time every day or week to read, stick to it! Don’t let things come in the way of your reading. Like I said earlier, you’ll always have excuses to prevent you from reading, but those excuses come less frequent when you have a habit.

6. Make goals

“Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.” Start off by setting a goal of how many books you want to read for the year. Then each time you sit down to read, set a goal. You can set a time goal for how long you’re going to read, a page goal, or even a chapter goal. I usually start with a time goal but end up doing all three. One of the things I love most is winning, and when I accomplish even the smallest of goals, it makes me feel like I’m winning (I’m weird I know).

7. track your reading

You’ve taken some time to set goals, now track those goals! There’s a sense of fulfillment in tracking the books you’ve read. There are several different apps you can use to track your progress (Bookling, iReadItNow, RecoGoodreads, etc.). I personally use Goodreads (it’s like Facebook but for readers). It helps you keep track (and brag ha!) about the books you’ve read. It is a website and app that lets you update your progress as you go through a book. One of my favorite parts about Goodreads is that can share your progress with your friends. Making a public commitment helps keep you accountable with your reading habit.

8. Read during wasted time

How many hours of television do you watch? How much time did you spend on social media today? I guarantee you have more time to read than you realize. The average American watches 5 hours of television a day and spends at least an hour a day on social media. So look at your day for wasted time, and read instead.

9. Take books with you everywhere

The great thing about today is that you don’t have to take a hard copy with you everywhere (although I always carry one with me). Today’s technology allows you to carry an entire library with you everywhere. If you have the Kindle, Nook, or iBooks apps on your phone, you’re able to read anything anywhere. There’s a ton of times during the day when you can read. Maybe at the doctor’s office, at your lunch break, in line somewhere, or before a meeting. You’ll be surprised how many reading opportunities there are, once you’re looking for some. Whenever you have a free moment, break out your book and read. One of my favorite times to do this is at social events (just a forewarning, people tend to talk to you more when you have a book than when you don’t).

10. Listen to Audiobooks

This might be considered cheating, but I really love audiobooks. If you commute or have a job where you can listen to music, listen to audiobooks. They’re awesome because you can “read” during otherwise wasted time. Some Kindle books come with and audiobook companion which allows you to read along or pick up where you stopped listening. I actually love audiobooks so much that I had to limit how many I listen to in a week—it was getting a bit out of hand.

Reading shouldn’t be something you dread—it should be something you love. I hope that you find time to read more. On that note, I’m going to go read, because I’m behind my reading goal.