103: Reading Roundup: 101 books in 2022
In this episode Lucy does a reading roundup of 2022, explaining how she went form reading 20-30 books a year to achieving her Goodreads Challenge goal of 100 in 2022.
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Reading Roundup: 101 books in 2022
Since some of you might know, in 2022 I decided that I was going to get more consistent and intentional with my habit of reading. So I thought it would be fun to do a reading roundup of 2022 because I learned a lot and I thought that you might find it useful. I know that quite a lot of my listeners and followers like to read so I thought that it would just be something that would be a little bit of fun and also a little bit helpful too.
The first thing I did when I wanted to read more, back in December 2021, I started to read a bit more – I basically picked up a few books and just started reading and read one book in two or three days and I was like, I’ve never read a book until a few days before it normally takes me two or three months. So I was thinking what can I do to get more consistent with reading?
Now, for those of you that have followed me for any amount of time, you will know that for me if I want to get consistent with a new habit, I literally give it my everything. I will get apps, I will get subscriptions, I will join memberships, I will literally do whatever I need to do. I’m going to talk you through the things that I did.
The first thing I did was get a Goodreads account because if you’re going to read regularly, you need a Goodreads account obviously. By this point, I was following quite a few Bookstagram accounts. I went on and I was like, oh, what’s this reading challenge that looks cool. I looked at a few of the other people that I followed on Instagram and saw their goals were around 300 books a year and thought I’m not going to be doing that. I was reading 20, maybe 30 at most books a year, previously, so last year, I chose to set 100 books. I thought I’m probably not going to achieve that but I’ll just set a big goal then if I get there, I’ll be really proud and if I don’t then I’m going to read more than 20 or 30.
So I set the goal of 100 and then cracked on, basically I went through I added loads of books that I wanted to read to my list and all the books that I already owned I went through and created an inventory of them all.
How I got my books
I have the Hay House app, which is basically like self-help, spiritual, personal development type books and I absolutely love those audiobooks. I think it’s about £50 a year or something like that. You can pay monthly but it’s cheaper to pay for the year so I just do the yearly subscription. I listen to so many books now through that.
I just started off with paperback books in the evening and audiobooks whenever I could – when I was driving, when me and my partner went on a long journey we listen to a book together that we we’re both interested in we listened to a lot of comedy books at that point because he also has an audible subscription or we’d listen to some self help books on mine.
Basically every opportunity I had I started reading. Any spare minutes, if I was having a bath, getting ready, home alone, I would stick a book on instead of watching TV and just listen to it in the background while I was doing other things. So that was to start with how I ended up getting a lot more reading in and the first few months it was okay, I was reading about six or seven books a month I was doing better than I normally would.
The benefits on my mental health
I was reading most evenings instead of watching TV or scrolling social media and I found that to be really helpful to my mental health spending less time in the in the evenings on social media or watching like TV, although I am very intentional about what I watch on TV. I only watch positive, uplifting programmes or films or comedy. I don’t watch a scary films, even scary adverts to be honest.
I was finding that from reading every single evening I was feeling so much calmer and relaxed. I was sleeping better, obviously I wasn’t staring at screen so didn’t have the blue light impact. Everything just felt like it was really good. I really enjoyed it.
The addition of a Kindle!
I can’t remember exactly when I got my Kindle. I remember my mum suggesting to get me a Kindle for my birthday. At the time it was a couple of months before my birthday and I didn’t want to wait that long so she bought me a birthday present a month or two early. The kindle was a game changer. Literally. I could read so quickly on the Kindle.
There was no blue light, I did and a lot of research into it because as I said my sleep was feeling really good and I didn’t want to then go back by staring at something with blue light for two hours before going to bed because obviously that’s not going to be very helpful. I had Amazon prime at the time and discovered prime reading. I started going through that and getting all these books for free and I was absolutely loving it.
Tracking my new habit
I carried on doing everything, I carried on tracking every single book. I rated every book as well once I finished it, I loved doing that basically when it got to the end of the book was really, really exciting to get that rating on. The good thing about Goodreads is that it then goes on to Amazon and I know as an author myself those ratings are so so helpful to get your book out there to more people so I always make sure that I leave a rating when I finish.
I read a mix of romance, self-help and comedy books. They are my favourite genres. I always listen to self-help books as an audio. I’ve got quite a few paperbacks that I’ve either been given or bought over the years as well. I’m slowly making my way through.
To be honest, I hardly read paperback at all anymore. I’m still listening to the audiobooks in the car and whenever I can, like before recording this podcast, I was listening to one. I use my Kindle every day.
I read every single day without fail that to me it’s just absolutely amazing. Like how did I go from reading 20 or 30 books and reading two or three times a week to reading every single day and finishing on 101 books in 2022.
My new found love for Kindle Unlimited
In October time I got offered a 3 month free trial to Kindle Unlimited so I thought I’d give it a go. I read 15 or 18 books, essentially for free because I’d been given a free trial for three months. There are a lot of full series on there like right now they’ve got the whole Harry Potter series available which I find nuts as that’s one of the biggest book series out there.
I’ve now decided I’m going to continue with my subscription so I renewed it. It’s a really good way to get books on your Kindle without having to pay £2.99, £3.99 or £4.99 every single time you just pay the monthly subscription. I think it’s like £7.99 and then you can get as many books as you want for that.
That was my reading roundup. I actually managed to read 101 books in 2022. I’ve also set my reading challenge for 2023 as 100 because for me, it’s not about like reading loads of books or beating my score or whatever. I just want to enjoy loads of books and for me having the goal is a little bit motivating. I do obviously want to achieve the goal, of course, so for me that is a little bit of extra motivation to make sure that I actually follow through with it and continue to read every single day in 2023 like I did in 2022 because it’s a habit that I’ve enjoyed, and it’s something that I want to keep up and keep doing really consistently.
Lucy J Smith is a Mental Health Advocate, Author of the Stand Up To Anxiety Book and creator of the Mental Wellness Club. After her own struggles with severe anxiety, Lucy found ways to understand and manage her anxiety and continues to manage it using personal development, self-care, routines and having an anxiety toolkit.
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