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If You Didn’t Love Reading Before You See This, You’ll Love It After

If You Didn’t Love Reading Before You See This, You’ll Love It After

Most people seem to feel like they need to be reading more, but they might not really know why. There are plenty of good reasons to read, so start by reading this list and get inspired to add some books to your reading list.

Reading for Smarts

1. Reading gives you a bigger vocabulary. That seems pretty obvious, but it’s grounded in scientific fact. People who read have larger vocabularies than people who don’t, and tend to have better verbal skills as well.

2. You’ll write better. Absorbing all those words and how they’re put together makes it easier for you to put words together in a pleasing way, too. Which may be why reading more is common advice for people who want to be writers.

3. It’s a great way to learn. Whether you want to learn to cook a soufflé, understand a Civil War battle or take apart the engine of a ’65 Mustang, you can learn from a book.

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4. Reading improves your analytical thinking skills. Deciphering the meaning of literary allusions, plot twists or even non-fiction makes you a better thinker.

5. It’s good for your brain. Reading requires concentration, focus on narrative and use of the imagination, all of which give the brain a workout and can help keep it young. Reading regularly can improve your memory, help forge new synapses and may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

6. Reading can help you achieve your goals, not just through learning, but by inspiring you. If you read stories about business success or people who have lived their dreams, you’ll be more inspired to reach for you own goals.

Reading for Understanding

7. It teaches you to be human. Great works of literature and poetry open you to experiences and feelings you haven’t had, and research shows that may make you more empathetic toward other people.

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8. It shows you other worlds. Whether those are literal or figurative doesn’t really matter; books take you places you could never go in your own life, which broadens your horizons in its own way.

9. It helps you see other people’s perspectives. A good book is the closest we can get to being in another person’s skin, and it can help us understand the real people in our lives a little better.

10. Reading can give you a new perspective. Here I’m not just talking about getting to peer into different worlds, but the fact that reading about life situations similar to your own may give you a different perspective on things. Whether you need help navigating a breakup or dealing with your parents, there’s a book for that.

Life Benefits of Reading

11. Reading is sexy. A study at Northwestern found that women rated intelligence as one of the most important features in a person they might have a relationship with, regardless of whether they were thinking short-term fling or life partner.

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12. It’s a mood booster. People who read regularly report lower stress levels than those who do not. It’s a great way to take a break from your worries and immerse yourself in another world, if only temporarily.

13. It makes you a more engaged person. Research from the National Endowment for the Arts found that people who read regularly are also more likely to vote and be engaged in their communities than people who don’t.

14. It feels good. It’s fun to escape into different worlds, to take a break from your own life and wind down after a hard day.

15. It can make you more creative. Reading a lot of stories can make it easier for you to come up with your own (see number 2), but it also seems to boost creativity in other non-verbal areas of life, too.

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16. Reading an engrossing book on the treadmill may keep you at your workout longer. Just make sure to perch the book on the holder rather than trying to hold it while you exercise.

17. It builds self-esteem. If you feel smart and like you should be valued for your knowledge, it will make you more confident.

18. It gives you something to talk about. And if you’re trying to hook someone who thinks smart is sexy, talking about the last book you read will score you more points than talking about the latest episode of Big Brother.

19. Moral superiority. It’s probably not in any way true, but being a reader makes you feel like a better person compared to non-readers.

20. Reading is really cheap entertainment. If you go to the library, reading costs you nothing. Even if you buy books or e-books, it’s still cheaper to entertain yourself for a month than a cable subscription would be.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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