"Read more books" is one of the most common New Years resolutions, as about a fifth of Americans commit to reading more every year. Do reading resolutions work, though? Mine's already working.
See, I'm super frugal with my spending money, and I'm a pro at procrastinating. I suspect there are many others like me. I only buy the cheapest version of a book online or at a secondhand store, only to read the first couple of chapters and never touch the book again.
For some reason, every time I'm in London, I find myself getting comfortable in big, colorful bookstores like Waterstones. There's all kinds of fun, new, and relevant reading material, and even places to sit and hang out while reading. It's kinda like Barnes & Noble back in the U.S., in case you're wondering, except here in London they're EVERYWHERE. The books there are usually more expensive but people will shop there exclusively for the experience.
Anyway, here's how I plan to get myself to read more books:
I'll only buy books at full price from higher-end bookstores with reading lounge areas. I will find an interesting book to read, and try to finish it in one sitting. If I can't finish it in one sitting, I will have to buy the book. Of course, being frugal and a procrastinator, I will have to finish reading the book at the latest before my one-week or one-month return period for a refund on the book. Once I return the book, I must start the cycle again with the next interesting book I find there. I must always have a book on retainer.
The worst-case scenario with this New Years resolution would be that I didn't finish reading the book before the return date and I have to purchase it. But who wants to pay full-price for a brand new book I won't end up finishing? Not me, anyway. That's why it's the perfect self-punishment, and thus, the perfect motivator.
The resolution has already started working for me. I'm already halfway through English singer Lily Allen's autobiography that I just bought, My Thoughts Exactly, and I should be done soon. The best part about reading Allen's book in one sitting is that I'm zooming through the whole thing without constantly forgetting details and having to reread chapters as recaps.
By the way, it seems I'm not the first person with this idea. I half-jokingly told the guy at the bookstore cash register that I plan to read the book and return it when I'm done, and his response was, "as long as you don't put the book through a washing machine or something, you'll get a refund if you return it with the receipt within 30 days." Okay. GOOD TO KNOW I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING ILLEGAL. Makes me feel better about exploiting your refund policy for my New Years resolution, he he.
Happy 2020 everybody! Hope you get to read lots and the guy behind the Barnes & Noble cash counter doesn't get pissed at ya.