2023: The year of reading

The year of reading

Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions.

It’s that time of year where everyone’s thinking about their goals, reflecting back on the past year, and generally feeling like they are flipping the page to a new chapter, whether they like to admit it or not. The changing of the year does that. I’m not into big new year resolutions (I don’t think they work) but I haven’t met anyone who is immune to the urge to reflect, even a little bit, on what they’re aiming for and set their sites on something.

I haven’t done a reflection yet, like the simple two-column review model from Tim Ferriss or the 7 questions format from Farnam Street, so this might be premature, but I have a really strong feeling that the right approach for me this year is to have a “theme” (NOT goals) and for that theme to be reading.

I can explain.

As someone who experimented with multiple, monthly “amplify and reduce” goals last year, the thought of coming up with a bunch of new specific achievements for this year sounds like a fools errand. In short, I’m not sure I know much more than be a good dad, a good husband, and kind human. A theme sounds like a good fit for someone who has a bit of goal exhaustion at the moment. HT to Critter for the inspiration and for this video that explains why it makes sense:

Ok, but why reading?

Two things are making me choose this theme.

First, there are a bunch of books I really want to read. I didn’t read very many books last year (less than 20 and that doesn’t mean I finished them. I want to change that. Articles too, I want to read more of the great longer-form stuff that I come across regularly instead of skimming. There is so much quality writing out there that I want to soak in and enjoy.

But the other thing, the really BIG thing, is that reading is a habit that has secondary and tertiary impacts that go beyond the actual act itself. Reading is a keystone habit for me, like running. I don’t drink as much when I am in the midst of a good book, I get up earlier to have quiet time to read, I feel relaxed and meditative when I read, and I’m less distracted because I don’t read endless emails and other crap if I have more important things that have my attention. After I read I feel more calm, less rushed, and more present.

In other words, all of those things that are side-benefits of reading will help me with my personal challenges. The things that, if I did a yearly review, I’d put in my “generates negative emotions” column. I know I said at the beginning that I hadn’t done a reflection for last year yet, but maybe I’ve just done it?

So that’s why I’m making 2023 the year of reading. As far as goals go, I’m going to start with a simple one: read 2 hours a day. I probably won’t get there most days, but, just by trying I’ve been reading for over an hour each day (in the early morning) which is an hour more than most days in 2022. I’m off to a good start.

P.S. Send me your book recommendations please!

3 responses

  1. All the best!

    I have been a terrible reader in 2022 so trying to change that in 2023.

    Will DM the books I had in my reading list just in case it sparks anything for you.

  2. I think reading is a terrific goal. My theme this year is CREATE. I also have several reading aims on my 23 for 2023 List. One of them is to have a Year of Christie. I want to read more Agatha Christie books. I read two in 2022 (And Then There Were None and Crooked House) that I loved.

  3. I’m in the middle of my MA, and that necessitates an awful lot more reading than I’m doing now, so I think this is a great focus that I’ll steal for my New Year aims too. I’m looking forward to reading some of the Robert A Caro tomes, now that I’ve had a taste of his methods, but they’ll have to wait ’til the MA is done. In the meantime, I’m having a month of Dideon. I’ve ordered a few of Joan’s books after reading some of her articles in The New Yorker. One of my essays is writing about an influential writer but I’ve read so scatteringly that no author stands out. So my arse about tit method is to plump for someone that I’d like to know more about and focus for a bit. Fingers crossed she’s as good as I hope.

Comments welcome!

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