“Read more books” was one of the goals that I wrote down in my journal on January 1st, 2020.
I didn’t have a particular number in mind, I didn’t clarify the goal by saying I needed or wanted to read a book or two a month. I knew that if I put a specific number down on the piece of paper stating my goal that I would hold myself accountable to it and then that arbitrary number would warp into a stressor. No longer would reading more books be enjoyable, it would turn into a to-do list item. I am not the person that needs MORE to-do list items!
“Read more books” was open-ended. It allowed me freedom within the goal to let life happen, to allow stumbles and falls. It gave me permission to pick books at random, some long, some really short.
When I look back at the list of books that I read in 2020 what I notice is that I read more books for pleasure, rather than for business development. Which is a beautiful switch for me. Another goal of mine at the beginning of the year was setting the intention to honor my downtime. All too often when I would previously find free time in the day I would fill it with more business marketing or content creating. It’s hard as a small business owner to create the boundaries around work but we all need to find ways to recharge. Reading books has become that for me, a way to recharge and escape from the stress that this year has been. I own a yoga studio and in March 2020 I had to pivot my business to completely online due to our county executive mandates and I haven’t been able to have students in the studio since then. The stress of this pandemic has been a lot to endure. Thankfully, reading has become a very welcomed reprieve from all of it.
So how did I reach this goal?
- I created a new habit of going to bed earlier so that I could read. That meant I had to learn how to say “no” to one more episode of whatever amazing show my wife and I escape into at the end of the day. Saying “no” to your own indulgences is hard but choosing books that are enjoyable to read makes going to bed earlier easier to do.
- I bought a Kindle. I never thought I would love it as much as I do. Don’t get me wrong I still buy paper books as well but I noticed that when I’m reading on the Kindle I read faster than I do with a paper book. Maybe it’s the swiping to the next page, maybe it’s getting rid of the tactile sensory input of holding a book and feeling it’s weight and the texture of the pages on my fingertips that allows my brain more room to process the content rather than the sensory input of the experience of reading. This seems so silly but what also helps is that little text at the bottom of the screen that tells me how many minutes are left in the chapter….that tiny bit of data is often what pushes me to the finish line of completing the chapter before turning out the light to go to dreamland.
- I started a book club. One of the members at my yoga studio asked me if I would ever consider doing one, it was the perfect timing for the new year and my new goal to “read more books” so right before the pandemic hit we met for the first time at the studio. After that, we’ve met every month via zoom. It’s a no-frills book club, people come in and out of it each month though we do have a strong core group that shows up every single month. We meet for one hour and each month someone volunteers to host, by being the host you facilitate the conversation and come to the meeting with some questions to get the conversation going. We have a growing list of books in a shared google spreadsheet that folks can add to at any time, fiction or non-fiction. Our only requirement is that the book has to be 400 pages or less.
I read 24 books.
I’m proud of myself and rather than trying to read and finish a book during the holidays so that I could claim one more book read. Instead, I’ve been enjoying basking in the accomplishment of completing the goal. I’m honoring “the pause” and allowing myself, or rather giving myself permission to enjoy this feeling of success.
Here is my list, not in the order that I read them but in the order of the images above from left to right.
The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent : this book is currently free (as of the date of this published post) on Kindle with an Amazon Prime membership.
Where The Story Starts by Imogen Clark
Can You Feel This? By Julie Orringer : this book is currently free (as of the date of this published post) on Kindle with an Amazon Prime membership.
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal
The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
Themes and Variations by David Sedaris : this book is currently free (as of the date of this published post) on Kindle with an Amazon Prime membership.
Get Out of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis
In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Spilled Milk by K.L Randis
Normal People by Sally Rooney (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club)
The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
If you are interested in joining the virtual Bee Yoga Fusion Book Club, send me an email (Gretchen @ BeeYogaFusion.com), and I will add you to the email list.