DOING A READING CHALLENGE
I’ve long been a bookworm, but in the past few years you’d have been more likely to catch me scrolling through social media or binge-watching Netflix than curled up with a book. But spending hours on Instagram made me feel bad about myself and how I was spending my time – and then last summer I compiled all my unread books and realised I had a veritable mountain of reading material. So I decided that in the new year I was going to take up the 52 Books Challenge, where you read a book a week for a year.
Even though I’m a fast reader, reading a book a week was going to be tough. I found the easiest way to meet my goal was just to read at every opportunity: on the bus, in my lunchbreak, after work, on the weekends… But this did cause a slight issue, where I felt guilty if I didn’t have a book in hand. Obviously this wasn’t ideal – I didn’t want to swap out one thing that made me feel bad for another – so I slowed down and was kinder to myself. I tried to keep my lunchbreak and commute for reading (and still do!), but if I took a few weeks to finish a book or didn’t feel like reading in the morning, or even if I wanted to spend some time on social media over lunch, I let myself.
Even after slowing down, ironically, I still managed to finish the challenge in early October. Though safe to say my goal of getting my ‘to be read’ list to zero has been an absolute failure – my pile of books has actually grown since I started! But there have been plenty of wins.
I’ve rediscovered my love of reading – and the joys of the public library! I’ve also started listening to audiobooks at the gym, which makes my workout go a lot faster – and I joined a book club, where I get to talk about books for hours with the loveliest group of ladies.
But the biggest change has been in how I use my time. I’m not spending every spare moment in a book, but
I also don’t waste hours zombiescrolling through social media. Of course, there are still a few weekends where Instagram has been a major fixture, but these days I’m much more conscious of when I choose to use social media – and honestly, I’d rather be reading.
I read at every opportunity: on the bus, after work, weekends…