Habits. They are, for the most part, what make us or break us. What we have habituated in our lives takes a lot less effort to do and becomes an automatic part of it, meanwhile, we struggle to do those things we haven’t.
Take getting dressed, for example. While you might spend some time picking out what you will wear, more than likely it takes you less than a minute to put everything on. But think of all the steps involved, things we have not had to think about since our parents stopped dressing us… Make sure the clothes are right-side out. Pull your socks onto each foot. Put on your pants. Put on your shirt and button it. Tuck in your shirt and then fasten your pants. Put your belt through each loop, etc… You can see how this is much more involved than we usually think; yet, “putting on my clothes” and “complicated” would never be two things we would utter in the same sentence.
Over the course of our lives, we habitually get dressed thousands of times, and we don’t complain or think about it. So, what does this have to do with reading? Well, with the new year, many people will be trying hard to stick to their resolutions, and cognitive health is just as important as the physical goals often set. And the best way to exercise our minds will involve reading of some sort. To meet those resolutions, without draining our will power and focus, we will need to habitualize the changes we want to see in our lives. The new year is traditionally when we look at what the last year held and say, “This is what I’m going to work on; where I want to be in the future.” Reading will expose you to new ideas and information, other people’s thoughts put into words, and let you be anywhere your mind takes you. Reading gives you the resources you need to change from within. Whether you want to escape from reality, learn more about your present, or our collective past, the Natchitoches Parish Library (NPL) has something for you. Would you join the NPL and make a commitment to read in 2021? It doesn’t have to be anything big either! You could shoot for 10 minutes every other day, 30 minutes each evening, a chapter a week, or a number of books in a year. Whatever works for you. And yes, reading to your kids counts!
The whole point is to pick something that will encourage you as you succeed and to provide some mental enrichment during these stressful times. 2020 is over, and while we wait for the changes time will bring in the new year, let us commit to reading and make it a habit to use our minds for the things we want, taking control of the things we can, and learn something new along the way. Make reading (or listening to audiobooks) something you do without thinking, and your life will be better for it.
Want to know more about making changes that stick? Check out “The ONE Thing,” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, available now on Hoopla. All you need is an NPL card and you can download the audiobook, free.