Read a book instead

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions hoping to spark positive change in their lives. Reading is one of the most popular resolutions for many people, including myself. And, for very good reasons.

Reading is an excellent hobby with many benefits.

It puts our brain to work.

It involves several brain functions, including visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and more. Reading increases our attention spans, focus and concentration. Reading also stimulates mental processes, and that helps preserve memory skills as we grow older.

For the past three years, I have participated in the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge.

I have not yet reached my goal, but the challenge has encouraged me to read more books than I would have read otherwise. In 2018, I read 21 books. In 2019, I got to 37 books. I’m finishing this year with 25 books, and hope to finally reach my goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks in 2021.

Austin Kleon’s post, read a book instead, has been one of my biggest inspirations to read more while curbing my digital addiction.

Here’s the full post:

Reading books makes me happy. Being on my phone makes me miserable. So, I made a wallpaper for my iPhone’s lock screen to remind me that I have a choice. You can download a copy for yourself right here.

The wallpaper is an excellent reminder, nudging you to read a book instead. 


Reading is an excellent alternative to mindless digital entertainment.

Often, we turn to our devices because the alternative sucks. The alternative is boredom. The alternative is emotional discomfort we seek to escape.

However, we have a choice. We can choose to escape with a good book instead. We can choose to pick a book as an alternative to mindlessly surfing the web whenever boredom strikes. In doing so, we will reap the benefits of reading.

It is a lot more satisfying getting closer and closer to finishing a book than scrolling through time-wasting websites, then forgetting 99% of the information we just consumed. 

Throughout the years, I have learned three practical tips that have made reading an immensely enjoyable leisure activity— quit reading books you don’t like, cut out distractions, and remove friction.

Read about these tips in depth here.

Here’s to 2021, a year dedicated to reading more.

Until next year…

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Published by Mehret Biruk

(re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world.