The New Year is finally on the horizon and after a tumultuous 2020, we are all eager to welcome a fresh start. But as you resolve to eat less sugar, drink more water, or get more exercise, why not add one more exercise — this one for your brain — into the mix this new year. In 2021, we at BookClub think that you should make it your goal to read a minimum of 30 minutes everyday.
Though it may be intimidating to get into a daily reading routine, especially if you haven’t had one in the past, all you need is a killer book or two (and we have plenty of recommendations for you on the blog), a cozy place to curl up, and a few distraction-free minutes to improve brain function and overall feelings of wellbeing in 2021.
There is one catch: those articles you’ve found online or long Facebook posts from friends don’t count towards your resolution. In order for reading to really stimulate your brain and improve function, memory, and more in the coming year, science says that it’s got to be a book in audio, print, or e-book form.
After all, there’s nothing like feeling the crack of a new spine and the smell of dried ink on the pages of a new book, or hearing that first sentence read aloud in the author’s own voice. Who knows, in a few days time, you might just find that reading daily is the easiest-to-keep New Year’s resolution you’ve ever had. Even better, you might be surprised by the science-backed benefits to cracking open a good book every day.
The benefits of reading every day
On top of things like stress reduction and brain stimulation, reading daily can help prevent dementia and alzheimers because it helps keep all aspects of your brain active and engaged. Daily exposure to literacy can also help you become a better writer by broadening your vocabulary and exposing you to different writing styles. Not only that, but reading published works more frequently can help improve cadence, flow, and tone of voice in your own writing. If you ever feel stumped creatively, picking up a good story might give you just the dose of inspiration needed to finish your work.
Additionally, reading every day helps improve critical thinking skills by using clues left by the author to foreshadow plot lines, character developments, and important moments in the story. If you’ve ever solved a mystery novel before the main character did, you’ve done exactly this. Picking up on clues in books helps you do the same in real life critical-thinking scenarios.
In today’s technology-filled world, people are often torn between monitoring their phones, checking social media, and responding to emails or Slack messages all day every day. This kind of distracted multitasking can make it hard to focus on the tasks that require 100 percent of your attention. Because reading requires 100 percent of your attention, it can help you tune out other distractions and focus on what’s needed when the time is right. And after all of the craziness this year, the ability to turn everything else off and focus is something we all probably could stand to learn.
Finally, reading every day is said to make you a more empathetic and well-rounded individual because books expose you to the struggles and triumphs of the characters written into the books you are reading. If you can connect and empathize with those you are reading about, it makes it even easier to do so in real life, which will only enhance your personal relationships heading into 2021.
By reading every day, not only will you stimulate your brain, improve your writing, and become a more well-rounded and focused individual, you’ll learn tons of fascinating (and perhaps some not so fascinating) things throughout the course of the year. In fact, did you know that according to data from Degreed users, people learn more from books than they do from any other source? This love of learning through books is what inspired the BookClub team to create this platform and it’s exactly why we are encouraging you to read every day.
Getting started in 2021
The best part about making this your New Year’s resolution is that it’s easy to work a few minutes of reading into your daily routine. Slide a book into your backpack to read on the train during your daily commute, place one on your bedside table if you like to read to decompress before bed, or put one in a basket near your bathtub if that’s your idea of total relaxation. You could even start your day with a chapter of your favorite book and a cup of coffee, The options are endless! It’s easy to take a book with you no matter where you go.
Keep in mind that not all of your reading has to be done all at once. If it’s easier for you and your schedule, break it up in sections throughout the day (on your lunch break, in between tasks with the kids, while commuting, while working out on a stationary bike or elliptical, etc.) where you can get a few pages in here and there. You could even get your kiddos involved and have a family reading session every evening.
Regardless of how and where you get your reading done, you’re sure to feel the stress-relieving benefits in absolutely no time at all. And if there’s one thing that we all deserve heading into 2021, it’s the ability to feel a little stress-free with the help of a few good books.
What will you be reading heading into 2021? Share with us on Twitter @bookclubdotcom.