All of us would love to read more books, right? Well, it becomes pretty obvious that this requires us to establish a consistent reading habit. But like any other new routine, becoming a regular reader can be quite difficult. So here you are, wanting to know how to get into the habit of reading.
“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”Jim Rohn
Many of the world’s greatest leaders say they love to read, and most CEOs have been known to go through at least 4-5 books per month. Could reading for an hour each day be the ultimate secret to becoming a voracious reader?
Let’s start with the basics first. Reading is good for you – there’s no denying that, ever.
But it all gets a bit foggy when you just can’t seem to concentrate on reading. You turn a few pages, daydream while reading, so you have to go over those paragraphs again and again. And, let’s be honest, sometimes you get entirely distracted and turn to your phone for another 20-minute blank-minded scroll through your social media accounts.
You somehow end up taking the book with you everywhere, from your bed to the coffee table, and the backyard, but you never seem to get down to actually reading it.
Have no fear, there’s still hope for all of us who are absolutely tired of this crazy routine already.
Here are a few simple steps that will help you figure out how to get into the habit of reading:
1. Discover why you want to read
The thing that matters most when you want to pick up reading in a smarter way and making a habit out of it is finding out your WHY. What is your ultimate reason and motivation for reading? Why is it so important? Why do you find it essential and valuable? What do you want to achieve?
To get started, get a paper and a pen and jot down all the ideas that come to your mind when you think about reading and how you find it enjoyable or meaningful. Try to elaborate on those ideas as you go. That is, the clearer and more specific your WHY is, the more you’ll feel like it’s part of your identity and, therefore, a habit that will stick.
2. Make time for it daily…
Honestly, we’re all busy, and we all have tasks already piling up on our daily to-do’s. Finding time to squeeze in some reading between all these other commitments can be extra tough unless you purposefully schedule “reading time” in your agenda.
So, you can set a few times during your usual day-to-day activities when you’ll read – be it for 10-15 minutes or half an hour. Heck, you could even include those few minutes you have to wait for the pasta to boil – you name it! Because, at the end of the day, when you add them all up, you might find out you read 45 minutes a day. And that’s an awesome start. These will be your reading chunks that you shouldn’t give up on.
Doing it this way adds a sense of importance and will help you no longer ignore reading for weeks.
3. …Or read in bigger bursts
Maybe you’re the type of person who really enjoys reading and gets immersed in the information and details in the texts, and giving it just 5-10 minutes would seem like a waste. A solution would be to kind of reserve bigger chunks of time during the weekends, for example.
This, of course, may not be ideal and might not seem like you’re actually developing a reading habit if you don’t read daily. But it’s important to take your lifestyle and personal preferences into account too. You’ll still read habitually. The difference is that you’ll do it in a single sitting.
4. Make a TBR list
You know you want to read more and build your reading habit, but there are so many good books to choose from that it can actually become daunting. It might even prevent you from achieving your simplest reading goals.
What you could do is research a bit before – find out what genres you like. Maybe you prefer non-fiction, maybe you like YA fantasy books, or perhaps you just want to read the classics. Then, compile a list of books you want to read by the end of the year. It’s important not to overdo it – the key to making your goals happen is to set achievable ones.
Having a TBR list will likely inspire you more and keep you motivated. Plus, it will be your own little personal resource for books that you’re sure you’ll enjoy no matter what.
5. Find your reading nook
Another useful trick might be to assign one or more spaces for reading in your home. After reading for a while in one spot, your mind will automatically associate that certain place with the act of reading. These book nooks can become powerful reading cues that help you make reading a habit.
In your home, find those places that provide comfortable seating, good lighting, and generally a relaxing ambiance (less external noise and distractions), where you feel you could read for hours on end.
6. Reduce social media / TV time
One of the most popular excuses people give when asked why they feel unable to read more or as much as they’d want to is that they don’t have time for it. Which is actually kind of silly. Most people have a lot of time to spend on their phone scrolling for the latest updates in their timelines or binge-watching that new Netflix show everyone has been raving about.
You already have all the time you need. You just tend to prioritize other things. We all have small pockets of time that we could use for building a better reading habit. So, whenever you feel bored, instead of grabbing your phone or the remote, go for that book on your nightstand.
You’ll also enjoy the added benefit of falling asleep faster, as you avoid blue light. So, try making reading your new default response to boredom.
7. Always have a book on hand
Wherever you leave the house for work or a walk in the park, bring a book with you. Before you open the front door, make sure to bring all your necessities: phone, wallet, keys, and your current book.
So that whenever you need to wait for 5 minutes or commute for 25 minutes, you can quickly whip out your book and read. Time will pass a lot easier, and the wait will definitely be more enjoyable.
8. Read with a pencil
Yes, although a pencil is usually associated with the act of writing, it can be surprisingly useful for reading too. Next time you open a book, grab a pen (or any writing instrument of your choice; even that Harry Potter magic wand toy you have lying on your shelf).
The idea is to move it along the lines of the text, as to direct your attention. You can do this at a speed that is comfortable, going from margin to margin, or you can go a little faster with each reading session so you can improve your speed. Using a pencil is a really simple trick, but it can definitely improve your reading habit.
9. Know when to give up on a book
When it comes to movies or new TV shows, if you don’t like them from the first minutes or first episode, you don’t think twice before calling it quits. But with books, it seems it’s not that easy. We’ve been conditioned to believe we should finish every book we start. Even though one of the fundamental motivational points of reading is enjoyment.
If you tend to find yourself yawning, stressing over, or generally not having fun with your current book, you should just give it up. And you shouldn’t feel sorry about it! Not all books are meant for everyone. Quitting books should not feel wrong; it should actually help you in defining the types of books you actually enjoy reading.
10. Track your progress
Ultimately, one of the most important things you can add to your reading routine to make it a habit and keep yourself motivated is tracking your progress. Initially, tracking can seem like a chore, like that time you had to log your school assignments or your expenses and general budget.
But having a tracking system can hold you accountable when you’re serious about getting into the habit of reading regularly. You can either log your reading in a notebook, in your bullet journal, a spreadsheet or, you guessed it – an app.
Bookly is here to help you every step of the way, by keeping track of your books, making you read more, better, and faster. Think of the app as your new reading buddy that keeps you motivated and helps you find out exactly how to get into the habit of reading. Like that AI coach on your fitness app that pings you every time you need to track your workout.
So, now that you have all these awesome tips & tricks, what are you waiting for? Get started with your reading, and smash those yearly goals! Download the Bookly App now!