I usually like to wait some time before starting a 30-day challenge, or have it naturally happen (such as when I start a new habit, and then I decide I want to try it for 30 days to see what happens). The reason is because I want to make sure I set up a system for success. I don’t want to start prematurely only to fail halfway in.

Last night though, I got ahead of myself for my November 30-day challenge to read 20 pages of a book per day. It was time to wash my hair, and I thought I could air-dry it faster if I took a shower earlier in the evening. Usually before taking a shower, I play games on my phone just to keep myself occupied for an hour or so. But since I didn’t do that, I only had a few activities to engage it after the shower, such as clipping my nails, cleaning and folding laundry, and journaling. It didn’t take me long. I thought about playing games on my phone, but it just didn’t appeal to me. There wasn’t anything interesting to watch on TV. I thought about maybe watching Running Man, but wasn’t sure if that would keep my mind too active. So, I ended up borrowing my mom’s Kindle Fire and started reading some books in my library.

It was easier than I thought. I guess the text I was reading was not particularly difficult either, so that helped. There was also this neat feature where it tells you how many minutes you have left for finishing the chapter you are on based on your reading speed. So when I looked at that, I’d think, “Oh, only 20 minutes? Sure, I can read that long.” I didn’t have to read 20 pages since it technically wasn’t my first day. However, I ended up reading 37 pages in total. It took me around 65 minutes. It could be 5 minutes more or less, because I forgot to look at the time exactly when I started. Maybe next time, I’ll set a timer.

Since I hear voices, I was a little worried that the voice would act up. But, it was fine. It didn’t really bother me while I was reading. Instead, I was distracted by random thoughts while reading. So sometimes, I would have to go back and re-read the text.

I think I will read again tonight because it was so relaxing. I will also check out another book from my public library just in case I want to switch books. The current book I’m reading seems okay so far. Some parts I thought were a little uninteresting, but then later realized as I continued reading that she was trying to emphasize certain points.

In future posts about my reading challenge, I might mention the names of the books if I sign up for an affiliate program such as Amazon’s again. I didn’t want to mention any names without knowing how good it is. I can recommend a book if I find it valuable or helpful in some way, even without getting a commission. Though, it would be nice to also get something in return if someone ends up buying the book because I recommended it.

There might be some difference between reading a paperback and reading on a Kindle. I thought reading a paperback would be easier, but I think reading last night on the Kindle proved to be more convenient. Maybe it’s because of the added feature of the reading time estimator. Maybe it’s because I’m used to reading on screens. Maybe it’s because with a paperback, you need to have good lighting. Maybe it’s just the content of the book. I’m not really sure.

I was most surprised by how long I ended up reading. One factor that helped was my curiosity about what I was reading. I also didn’t have anything else that I particularly wanted to do. I felt like this was the most productive use of my time.

Some people would set aside time to read in the early mornings, but for me, it seems like a good way to wind down in the evenings. I would say last year this time, it was hard for me to concentrate on reading paperback books. The voice would talk out loud with my mouth while I was trying to read. I thought maybe it was because of the content of the book was related to hearing voices, but I’ve learned over time that the voice I hear doesn’t need to have any particular reason to do something. And I also remember when I first heard voices, I didn’t have trouble reading books. So, I would try reading every once in a while. Some days, I struggled. Other days felt better.

I thought about listening to ambient music while reading. But these days, I’m trying to focus on one task at a time. I want to make sure that I can do simple tasks without having to distract myself too much just so I don’t hear voices. In the past, I would have listened to podcasts while going for a walk for example. It’s kind of like how people listen to music or audiobooks while exercising at the gym. But these days, I just focus on the walk without any other external stimuli. I want the same to happen when I’m reading. I want to be able to focus on extracting the ideas on the page without relying on something else. I have to see how the following days go, though. Yesterday, I rated my difficulty of reading as a 2/5 (1 being easy, 5 being hard), because I could mostly focus on reading, I wasn’t distracted by hearing voices, though I was a little distracted with random thoughts. If I ever reach a 4 or a 5, I’ll consider using music as a way to help me focus.

Normally, I wouldn’t recommend starting a 30-day challenge early. I would say focus on creating a system to succeed. Figure out the exact parameters you’re going to use to determine if you failed or succeeded each day. Create a support system. Produce a helpful environment. Gather the necessary tools and resources. Set up a way to track your progress.

However in my case, I pretty much set up everything. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was whether 20 pages was too much for me since I haven’t been reading consistently. So, I considered yesterday to be a sort of test day. It ended up so much better than I thought. I will try it again tonight. If it goes well, I’ll consider yesterday to be my first official day of the 30-day trial. Though, I might continue for longer.

In case anyone else wants to join me in this challenge, I will share with you what I’m tracking each day. I have a spreadsheet with the dates on the left-hand side. Then on the top, there are columns for number of pages, minutes spent reading, minutes per page (which is a formula I’ve inputted of the minutes spent reading divided by the number of pages), the book/s I read that day, where I was when I was reading, difficulty (factors include how well I could focus, level of understanding, and level of distractions), and my mood prior to and while reading. I’m most curious about how reading might affect my mood on days when I’m not feeling particularly good. You might be curious about other aspects, so of course, track whatever you’re interested in.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.