Whether your New Years goals are focused on health, finance, or your personal relationships, you shouldn't neglect mental growth, learning and self-improvement. If you are well-versed in information related to your goals, you will be more likely to achieve them.
You can greatly increase your odds of accomplishing your goals by arming yourself with the right tools and information. Books, podcasts, audiobooks, and other mediums are invaluable resources for reaching your goals.
The first goal you should implement this New Year is a reading goal. Reading goals are just like any other goal. You need to have short and long term goals to keep you on track; and most importantly, you need to write them down and keep them in a place where you will see them everyday.
Seeing your goals on a daily basis will help keep you accountable.
Start with a big picture goal for how many books do you want to read in a year. Then break that large goal into smaller and more achievable short-term goals. How many books per month will you need to read to reach that goal? How many pages will you need to read each day to reach your monthly goal?
Everyday I try to read at least 10 pages out of a book, any book. Sometimes its more, sometimes I miss my mark, but I am always aware of my goals because I keep them visible. At home I keep post-it notes on my nightstand mirror and at work I keep an open To-Do List up on my desktop.
This year, my goal was to read 50 books. I did not reach that goal but I can tell you with certainty that I read more books this past year than I ever have in my life. Put your goals on paper. There is power in the pen!
5 Benefits of Increased Reading:
1) Mental Stimulation:
Studies have shown that consistent mental stimulation can slow the progress and even possibly prevent brain diseases like Alzheimers and Dementia. Your brain is just like any other muscle, it requires exercise to to stay strong and healthy and reading is the best mental workout.
Everything you read fills your head with new information. The more knowledge you have, the more ideas you will have and the more connections you will be able to make.
3) Better Vocabulary & Better Writing Skills:
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any career as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events. The same is true for your writing skills, the more exposure to published, well-written work has a positive influence on one’s own writing,
4) Memory Improvement:
When you read a book, you have to remember a lot of different information from characters and their backgrounds, history, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots throughout every story. Every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods.
5) Sharpen Your Skills:
I read to target my weaknesses. Whatever area I am lacking in, there is most likely a book I can use to sharpen my skill set in that particular area. This is called Deliberate Practice and it is one of the main themes in the book “Talent Is Overrated” (#2 below). It is basically using self-assessment to determine your strengths and weaknesses and then making time to turn those weaknesses into strengths. It is an on-going process and something that never really ends, there is always room for improvement in the game of life.
Below are 5 books to read in 2017 to help you accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.
- Slight Edge - Jeff Olson (Productivity & Lifestyle)
- Talent Is Overrated - Geoff Colvin (Principles for Great Performance)
- The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley (Finance)
- The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg (Lifestyle)
- How To Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie (Personal Skills & Relationships)