To develop a reading habit which will enable you to read at least a book in a week, you need to set small goals, focus on one new thing at a time, remove obvious barriers, and build the new routines onto old ones. This topic is a powerful piece, and if you have not already made the time to read it, you should.
In April, I took a second and more modest shot, this time focusing on reading 15 pages a day. The trick worked. Now whether or not 15 pages sounds like a lot or a little is irrelevant; the real power of the method is in how it shifts reading from an occasional activity to a daily habit.
I think for anyone who wishes to make reading feel like a reward and not a chore, these tips will help.
1. KEEP A BOOK WHERE YOU LIKE TO RELAX
The easiest way to make something a habit is to remove any friction. After you come home from work, you should not lose time deciding on something to read or digging through your room looking for a paperback you started on your last flight. Choose what you want to read, and keep it where you spend your relaxation time.
2. RE-PURPOSE YOUR TIME
I love video games, reality television, and classic horror movies. I’m not ashamed of my hobbies, but I do recognize that I sometimes gorge when a modest media meal would suffice. For example, I enjoy The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but occasionally I watch lesser reality TV shows to chase that high. This is time I could use for books — or anything else, really, that I actually enjoy and find rewarding.
Do not mix your other hobbies, but when you find yourself bored with a television show, movie, game, or any other entertainment, consider swapping in a book not to
realize how much time I could make in my week, until I asked myself if I really valued how I was spending each hour.
3. READ WHAT YOU WANT TO READ, NOT WHAT YOU FEEL PRESSURED TO READ
I mentioned in a recent piece how easily I fall into reading ruts when I feel pressured to read what is trendy, either by friends or some omniscient embodiment of the literary community. For some people, trendy may mean New York Times best-selling mysteries written to become movies, or it may mean the latest novel from a brilliant, but unquenchably angry white dude.
In either case, it is better to read four books that sincerely interest you and nobody else, than waste a month muscling through one book that you might be asked about at a work luncheon or a dinner party.
4. SET AND SETTING
We have inundated ourselves with distractions under the illusion of productivity. NOTIFICATION SHOULD HELP US LOOK AWAY FROM OUR PHONES, NOTIFYING US WHEN SOMETHING IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO MERIT OUR ATTENTION.
But instead, they have been perverted with updates on sports scores and alerts that a high school friend commented on a photo your mother uploaded to Facebook four years ago.
NOTIFICATIONS ARE NOT NOTIFICATIONS; THEY ARE THEIR OWN HOBBY WEARING THE COSTUMES OF A NECESSARY ACTIVITY.
When you read, put your phone on airplane mode. Turn off the TV. Prepare yourself a snack in advance. Reduce the number of potential distractions as best you can. Because if you don’t already read regularly, your old habits won’t want to make room for a new one.
5. MIX IT UPDo not follow Moby D*ck with Don Quixote. Please, just don’t. Mix up what you read. Follow a non-fiction true crime story with some literary fiction with a graphic novel written for teenagers. There are so many different types of books, not just what is on best-seller lists or an English Lit syllabus.
When you read for fun all of the obligation and pressure about what to read should disappear, leaving you with an almost overwhelming choice. Go exploring!
And do not forget to read every day For real: read every day. Even if it is five pages, a daily dose of reading will become habit-forming. It is a mental exercise, and with time, it becomes easier and more enjoyable.
I hope your Monday is great. I read and decided to share this piece, I am sure it will benefit you.
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