If you’ve seen our website, had a treatment, or just had a chat with with us you will know that we are continually looking to improve our skills and learn more. That learning comes in many ways – in-person attendance on courses and conferences, marking massage student papers, watching online tutorial and of course reading. It’s the reason we use the hashtag #alwayslearning
Back before I (Lynne) qualified as a massage therapist, and indeed a personal trainer, I had an office job. During full time work I added the challenge of obtaining a BSc in Psychology degree to my workload and undertook the study via the Open University. The OU is a great way to gain qualifications – superb support, self-driven study and as I found out, a whole lot of reading. It’s fair to say that after the 7 years it took for me to graduate (6 study with a year out after 4), reading had overtaken life somewhat. In the years following graduation I found it incredibly difficult to concentrate on reading, be that academic or fiction – but mostly fiction as my approach to reading academic text made it easier.
Since moving to Glossop I’ve read some books, but on the whole haven’t had a love for reading. I have kept saying that I want to read, but just don’t have the ability to concentrate.
Although I’m not one to make new year resolutions, I set myself a target for 2019: to read one fiction, and one non-fiction book each month. 24 books in total. The feeling of being overwhelmed was instant, but my motivational word for this year is “Courage” – so I drew inspiration from within and just approached both books in January one page at a time. Because one page is progress and one page closer to reading the book.
Unlike previous attempts to read I essentially forced myself to engage in the non-fiction book by taking notes, even if just writing down chapter and paragraph headings. I was reverting to ‘study’ mode and it worked.
With the fiction book in January I literally set out to read a couple of pages and just engage with the story. That also worked. Before I realised it I was hooked into the book and the non-fiction book took a bit of a back seat as I wanted to see how the story unfolded. Not only was I flowing well with the text, I was relaxing into the process. Dare I say I was enjoying reading again? Or was it just ‘beginners’ enthusiasm?
I share all this because it is a parallel story to the yo-yo effect I see with people new to exercise – initially too much is done, the muscles ache, they stop, and then find it hard to regain interest. But if you push through the initial resistance it is worth it. I’m now enjoying reading. After an initial splurge on more books than my monthly target I’m slowing down but my target is in mind and keeping me on track.
Here’s what I’ve read so far (as of end of March):
- The Colour by Rose Tremain
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
- Solar by Ian McEwan – currently reading
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown (I was almost at the end of this book anyway but the challenge spurred me to finish it so I could start a fresh book for January)
- Create Space by Derek Draper
- The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier (initially read towards the end of 2018 but I reviewed the book and took notes in January as I had finished my target book)
- The Self-Care Revolution by Suzy Reading
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (previous read, I did a scim/speed read as February book finished before end of the month)
- How to be Human: the Manual by Ruby Wax (read in parallel to February’s book, funny stories I found hard to put it down)
- The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
- Two Lengths of the Pool by Simon Hartley (previous read, a short book quickly read to refresh as February book finished before end of the month)
- Drive by Daniel H. Pink
- Could I do That? By Simon Hartley