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If You Want To Read More Books To Largely Improve Your Life, Learn These 4 Tricks

If You Want To Read More Books To Largely Improve Your Life, Learn These 4 Tricks

Entertaining, informational, and sometimes even funny, books can be the catalyst that changes your life. You can stack them up by your bedside, carry them around in your backpack, but they won’t part their pertinent information until you actually open them and start reading. Some people spend hours engrossed in the pages of a book, while others dread opening one. Your life will not change until you do, and to get that useful information downloaded into your brain, here are 4 tips suggested by Writer, Patrick Allen at Lifehacker[1] to help ease your way through reading.

4 Tips to Help You Read Better and Read More

Not everyone has the luxury of 5 spare hours to dedicate to reading, but the good news is that there are ways around that problem. However, before you invest in a speed reading course, this is not one of them! There’s no magic pill to swallow or formula to make you read faster- in fact, studies[2] show that increased speed reading decreases comprehension, but there are other proven ways that can help you read more and read better.

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1. Read in Intervals

When your book is fun or entertaining, it’s easy to read, but faced with a challenging text on understanding the stock market, the psychology of anything or the science of bees, keeping your focus on your book can prove to be an arduous task and your willpower breaks down fast. The trick is to read in 20-minute intervals and take 5-10 minute breaks between your reading sprints. Don’t sit and rest during these short breaks, but get up and move. It prevents you from falling asleep too if your book isn’t keeping you stimulated enough, and you have to face it, some books are just boring. Set a timer to help you stick to the intervals and be sure to remove all distractions.

Even the slightest distraction will draw you away from the page, so you must eliminate these temptations from the beginning. Turn off the television. Switch your phone to silent. Find a quiet place to read, far from everyone. A little corner of the library, outside under a tree, or a good place with bright lighting. If the noise around you is still too much, wear a pair of noise canceling headphones. But don’t make your little reading nook so comfortable that you are tempted to fall asleep!

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2. Use Audio Books

Yes, audio books are not actual reading, but they still get the information from the page to the inside of your head.  Audio books make the perfect alternative for the busy person who is always on the move. You can listen to them when you are jogging, driving your car, doing yard work or cleaning the house. How does it work? You can download an audio book app to your device, or alternately access audio books through iBooks or Kindle app. Plug some earbuds in and fire it up. Not all books are available in audio format, so double check before you commit your book report if your plan is to exercise your way through the book.

3. Use Your Phone

People naturally scoop up their phones these days. Sometimes it’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you touch before going to bed at night. Make this habit work for you by downloading your book onto your phone. And instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed or checking your likes on Instagram, open up your book on your phone and read. You were going to have that phone in your hand anyway!

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The beauty of reading on your phone is that you can adjust the font size and the brightness to better suit your eyes. Sometimes you can even change the font style to one that is easier to read. You can’t do that with a paperback!  However, some books may be difficult to find on your phone, like text books.

A great place to locate free classics is through Project Gutenberg[3], which offers over 53,000 free public domain books, which they have put into ebook format. Another often overlooked place to obtain ebooks from is through your local public library system. All you need is your library card since it’s free!

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4. Don’t Read Word by Word in Your Head

A final note on reading. Now that you’ve gotten the ball rolling, if you find yourself mouthing the words or reading them in your head- stop. Believe it or not, this practice does not benefit you and actually slows down your reading because your brain is concentrating on pronouncing the words, rather than just reading them. How many times have you looked at a word, known exactly what it was, or what it means in context, but when pronouncing it out loud, you get flustered or stumble over the syllables? You can always keep a pen and paper handy and jot down those incomprehensible words to look up later, but save the pronunciation for your next Toastmasters’ speech and concentrate on the gist of the words rather than each word separately.

If you find it too much of a challenge not to mouth the words, give your mouth a job to do. Chew some gum or ice. Eat a snack.

These 4 easy tips to follow will help you tackle your reading list, even if you have to rake the leaves or rush to the store for a gallon of milk. There’s a wealth of information in books just waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for? Improve your life today.

Featured photo credit: Makunin via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Lifehacker: How to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day
[2] PsychologicalScience.org: So Much to Read, So Little Time
[3] Project Gutenberg: Free E-Books

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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