However, don't lose heart. If you had a setback, you can always start again tomorrow, and you should remember why you're doing this in the first place - to improve yourself in the long term, not just in these opening weeks of the year.
One thing I promised myself this year is that I would read more books. Reading and learning is worthwhile for its own sake, but can also be incredibly rewarding if you want it to be.
If you ask any of the world's richest people, such as investor Warren Buffet and Microsoft zillionaire Bill Gates, they will tell you that knowledge is key to their success, and to that end, they spend a huge amount of time reading.
At first I set a target of 30 books throughout 2019. That's less than one a week, so definitely manageable, right? Well, I sat down and crunched the numbers, and I came to a surprising conclusion - As a completely average person, I figured out I can actually read 5 times that amount in 2019. That's right - 150 books.
I know what you're thinking - "That's an insane amount of books for one year! Surely you're setting yourself up to fail, Aunty!"
Well, no. In fact, I'm extremely confident that I can do this, and that you can, too. And I will now tell you why, point-by-point!
Let's crunch some numbers real quick. The average American reads between 200 and 400 words per minute. Let's call it 300, for the sake of simplicity. Now, the average non-fiction book contains about 50,000 words. So let's do some quick calculations here...
150 books at 50,000 words a piece makes for a total of 7,500,000 words. Now that may sound like an awful lot, but let's remember that average of 300 words per minute:
7,500,000 words, at a rate of 300 words per minute, equates to 25,000 minutes throughout the year of 2019. Or, if you prefer, a total of 417 hours.
It might sound a little daunting when we put it like that, but that's a little more than an hour a day on average in terms of time, and for so much reward!
It makes even more sense when you consider the alternatives...
The average single american spends 608 hours every year on social media, and a whopping 1642 hours each wear watching TV. So next time you find yourself refreshing your feed for the 20th time today, or watching trash like Pawn Stars on the box, why not make a positive change and put that time to good use?
The amount of useful information that you could absorb from literature in that time is staggering. That's not to say that social media and TV don't have their value too - just not as much as a good book overall.
I don't know if it's just me, but I feel as though every task feels much more attainable, and much more real, if you've written it down on a piece of paper. This same premise can be applied to your new thirst for literature.
Before you start on your first book, make a list of a bunch of books you've always wanted to read, but never got around to. I don't mean that you should pre-plan all 150 of the books you will read - that would be ridiculous. Just a few key targets for learning, as well as some fiction for fun.
For example, on my list, I have the classic self-help book 'How To Win Friends And Influence People' by Dale Carnegie. Written in 1936, it still flies off shelves today, so it must be worth a read.
On the fiction side of things, I have a few classics of American literature that I never got around to reading properly, such as 'Of Mice and Men' and 'The Great Gatsby'.
As they say, variety is the spice of life, so make sure your list covers a whole range of topics and styles. Then, pick one up at random and dig in!
It's easy to plan things, but the challenge lies in actually seeing them through. We all know that reading more is valuable, and that most of us should read more, but how many of us actually follow through with it?
There are a number of proactive steps you can take to increase your book time, such as keeping your smart devices in another room, and going to a quiet place to read. Whatever works for you. The important thing is that you make an effort to do it, and that you remember that your target of 150 books in a year is completely achievable!
Will you be joining me in my 150-book challenge? I'd love to know your thoughts!