• Micah Hayes

How to Become a Reader in 2022

I used to be that person that says, "I'm not a reader." I didn't like reading. I thought it was boring. Even in school, I was the guy reading the SparkNotes. My dad and grandfather always used to encourage me to read, and I just didn't see the value in it.

I've since learned to enjoy reading. No, I'm not a bookworm, and I don't read as much as I should. I have lots I need to read and not enough time to read it all. I spend more of my free time streaming TV shows or scrolling social media. And to top it all off, I read pretty slow. Sometimes I need to read things multiple times to comprehend it. But I can honestly say I like to read!

I've become a big believer in reading. Science has proven that reading makes you smarter (Google it). For me, I feel more creative when I read, like I'm tapping into the little kid imagination part of my brain, which I don't experience any other way. I also feel more refreshed when I read. My brain feels boosted rather than drained like it does from TV and social media. I also get the satisfaction of feeling more accomplished and productive.

If you want to read more books in 2022 or you just want to become a reader at all, here are some things that have helped me enjoy reading:

1. Read what you enjoy.

This is the biggest one. For me, I didn't like reading growing up because I hadn't really read anything that I enjoyed. I didn't like the books I was forced to read in school. Great Expectations ruined all books for me, seriously.

I was amazed when I found out that there are books that I actually enjoy. I think that's true of everyone. So I don't believe it when people say, "I'm not a reader." There is a book for everyone because there are books about everything. Don't feel like you have to read what you think you should be reading. Read what you enjoy, even if it's Amish Romance.

What do you like? Politics, sports, history, fishing, photography, fitness, nature, skiing, food? There are thousands of books on these very topics. Anything you enjoy, you can read about and enjoy even more.

What kind of movies do you like? You may be shocked to find that a book can be action-packed or suspenseful. There's a reason the book is always better than the movie.

There are endless books on endless topics in endless genres. It just isn't possible to say you hate them all.

Which leads to number two...

2. Don't waste your time with a bad book.

If a book doesn't hook you in the first chapter, put it down and try another one. Did it get old in the middle? Throw it out and move on. Don't guilt yourself into thinking you have to finish every book you start. And don't leave it on your nightstand telling yourself you will finish it later.

There are too many good books out there to get hung up on a bad one. Most of the time, you can read the first chapter or introduction online for free. Give it a little test drive and see how you like it.

Keep trying books until you find one you like. I promise the right one will come along!

3. Ask others what they are reading.

Talk to the people you like about what they are reading. If your friends don't read, get new friends. Ask people you look up to what they are reading.

Look at reviews online like Goodreads or Amazon. Everyone and their mother puts out a top 10 book list at the end of the year. Look through those. Check out the top books in the country right now. They are best sellers for a reason.

Ask people on social media. What's the best book you've ever read or read this past year?

4. Read in multiple formats.

Have a paper book, ebook, and audiobook ready to go at all times, so there's never an excuse not to read.

I've come to enjoy and actually prefer ebooks, which I know is scandalous to some of you traditionalists. I like them because I can read any book I want, any time I want. I can adjust the lighting and text size. I can read the book on my phone when I'm stuck waiting in line. I can read on my computer when I have a break from work. I can also get endless free books through my local library straight to all my devices. I know some love the feeling of paper in their hands and the turning of the pages, but I like having one flat surface I can read laying down, sitting up, and even walking, rather than needing two hands to turn a page.

I know many people who love audiobooks when they workout or drive. I've never gotten into audiobooks, though I have done a few. Try one and see how you like it.

Again, I use all the formats and try to have them ready when I want them.

5. Read multiple books at once.

I like to have about 3 different books going at any one time. Sometimes I need a break from one book or I will switch around based on my mood. It keeps things fresh.

I always try to have something that benefits me spiritually, something fiction, and something non-fiction. Right now I have a book going about exercising to improve your mental health, a crime novel, and a book about God's providence.

This is not some hard and fast rule. But it works for me. It keeps things interesting to bounce around to books that are very different but each enjoyable in a different way.

6. Go to the library.

Seriously, just go and walk around. There is something about the library that makes you want to read. It will make you feel smarter.

Look around, scout out some books, talk to people. Bring your book and find a spot to read there in the building. It's quiet, and people will leave you alone. This is free therapy.

7. Build the habit.

Reading is like most things that are good for you. It takes some effort. You are going to have to push yourself in the beginning.

If you wait to read until you feel like it, you won't ever do it. There are still days I would rather scroll on my phone than read. But reading is one of those things where I never regret doing it afterwards. I always feel better after I read.

Start with 5 minutes. One chapter a day. Go from there. You may never be a super reader either! But you can discipline yourself to make reading a part of your life

8. Break the rules.

One of the things that made reading hard for me was thinking I had to follow some set of reading rules.

Some were things I heard people say and some were expectations I put on myself.

Things like:

-You need to take notes and use a highlighter when you read.

-Fiction is for kids.

-You need to read "serious" books.

-You need to read this many books every year.

-Audiobooks don't count.

-You have to like this book or this kind of book.

-You have to finish every book you start.

-You have to read the books people recommend.

-You are not allowed to skim or skip.

You will hear many other things like this. People mean well. They want to help. But the reality is, there are no rules to reading. When you read for fun, you can read however you want.

The main thing is that you just read. Read something (Look, you're doing it right now!). It's good for you. And I think you'll find like I did that reading makes life better.

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