3 Tips for Improving Your Relationship with Reading

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Primary Blog/3 Tips for Improving Your Relationship with Reading

Reading…

To some it’s a chore while to others it’s a reward.

I have a love-hate relationship with books. Whether you’re a book lover or a hater, maybe you’ll relate somewhere with my story.

As a child, I lived for going to the library. I had parents that encouraged reading and fed my hunger to learn and eagerness to be swept off into imagination.

Devouring any book I could get my hands on that interested me, I carefully selected book after book to take home until our bags were full.

Fiction, Nonfiction, biographies. Classics like The Secret Garden, topics like The Titanic, my favorite authors throughout the years like Syd Hoff and Lurlene McDaniel.

Then… College.

Taking double full course loads and feeling overwhelmed with reading stacks of textbooks as a Psychology major with an English minor, sadly, I lost my passion for reading for ‘fun’. My ‘free’ time was consumed with studying or working to pay my way through college. Reading was now a ‘chore’. An obligation.

Then… Kids.

I went straight from college life to marriage and babies. Who has time or the attention span to read as a mom of Littles?! I mean, you can’t even sneak away to the bathroom without a tag-a-long, let alone concentrate on escaping into the pages of a book. At least that was my experience. There are always those moms that I was jealous of that read book after book, leaving me wide-eyed and jaw-dropped. (Please, tell me, how do they do that?!)

Finally, it’s my time! (Or so I thought)

Eventually, my desire resumed as I invested in personal and professional growth once again. I loved books again! Yet there was another barrier: I found it difficult to concentrate and comprehend what I read.

I wanted so badly to devour books again and consume the collection of colorful covers filled with thoughts, ideas, and knowledge that I wanted to glean from. I’d excitedly start one, but sadly, I wouldn’t get very far before the bookmarker became a permanent holding place in the pages.

I’d start another, and again, get partway through the delicious-smelling pages (anyone else love the smell of books, or am I just weird?) and yet again…I’d feel like a loser. Guilty.

It’s like it was impossible for me to finish a book.

How were my friends finding time to read fiction for fun, yet I couldn’t check off ONE self-help book from my list by reading it front to back? I was devastated.

This went on for years. I ended up reading bullet points and cliff notes. I took notes on others’ synopsis of great books and ideas. It’s better than nothing, right?
So much to learn, so much growth to be had. There are plenty of other ways to consume knowledge like podcasts, seminars, and networking with the right leaders; yet, I kept feeling like I was missing out.

Then I found out.

Fast forward to this past year. Through some assessments and evaluations, I learned that my brain works a bit differently than I was aware. Sure, I earned great grades throughout my academic years, won awards, and pushed through obstacles that seemed easy for some, but that was just life. Turns out, there was a reason I often struggled, strived, and felt slower than my peers and colleagues.

I was diagnosed with ‘Adhd Inattentive type’.

This didn’t become a ‘label’ for me; rather, it helped me realize more about myself and how I had already learned so many ways to succeed and I could now learn to break through even more barriers!

One of those barriers was reading. For a person with ADHD, the pre-frontal cortex will literally shut down when it’s 1. bored, or 2. overwhelmed.

I had been bored with ‘necessary’ college reading for a few years and then when the opportunity and passion returned, I lived in a state of overwhelm.

Overwhelmed with all the things on my to-do list. My mind goes to the thoughts of what I ‘should’ be doing rather than reading, and I couldn’t focus on the words my eyes were hovering over.

Overwhelmed by knowing that I only had ‘so much time’ in the day and I didn’t want to ‘lose track of time’ and forget something.

You see, I’ve built so many great coping skills around me to deal with the potential weaknesses that could be a problem due to how my brain works. And yet, all of this new knowledge gave me hope! I’m not ‘broken’. I’m not ‘weird’. I’m not ‘stupid’. I just needed to figure out how to take away the overwhelm, and I’d be able to read again!

I tried my thesis one day this summer when my husband, Josh, and I went for a quick camping overnighter. I set my phone aside, knew I had the rest of the day without responsibilities and nothing ‘better’ to do, and…guess what?!

I read 60 pages non-stop and comprehended it all!

If I take away ALL distractions, have a pen/highlighter in hand, am void of time constraints and am interested in the book – I CAN read!

While those conditions will rarely happen, at least now I know I’m not just ‘slow’ or subconsciously ‘don’t care.’
Here are 3 tips for both book-lovers and haters:

1. Try listening to Audio books. Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer a physical book in my hand, but what I have found is that I can actually keep my brain engaged while I’m walking, driving, or working out IF I listen to a book on 1.5x speed. Something about that helps me stay on track and my mind doesn’t wander as much. Want to try an audiobook for free? You can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of my book Measuring Up: How to WIN in a World of Comparison* if you’re not already an ACX member.

2. Know the importance of reading for YOU. You may already know that reading is said to be important, and I won’t do the teaching right now, but figure out why it’s important specifically to you and your situation. Grab the book Read To Lead by Jeff Brown and Jesse Wisnewski (shown in the images) for more on this topic. And yes, you’ll need to read to figure this out. But hey, if you’ve read this far, my guess is you can skim the pages and find out pretty quickly that there are some major benefits for yourself!

3. Stop judging and start being curious. Be who you’re created to be and do what you’re designed to do. Don’t judge yourself (or others) too harshly when it comes to reading. If you hate to read, be curious and dive into potential reasons for why that may be the current case. If you love to read and you find that you escape to reading more often that you should (maybe you tend to neglect other important tasks due to your love for reading), be curious and get to the root of why you do this and perhaps learn how you can live out who you’re created to be with a healthy balance. We are all unique. Embrace your uniqueness.

No matter what, if at all possible, find a way to read in the way that works for you.

As my friend Jeff Brown would say, “Readers are leaders.”

*I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

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Hi, I Am Renee Vidor

Leader of The Winning Movement

I’m a wife, mom of two teens, an author and a business owner; I know who I’m created to be–more than just roles–and I’m doing what I’m created to do, like inviting you into this rewarding process so that you, too, can be who you were created to be and do what you’re created to do!

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