It’s no secret that reading has been proven to have far reaching effect on individuals—in terms of an increase in their concentration levels, ability to understand and empathize, work towards problem solving and most importantly—assisting people with debilitating mental health. You may have found yourself wanting to inculcate the habit of reading but somehow reading doesn’t excite you or give any form of comfort. It’s completely natural to feel desolate and lost. But don’t give up just yet—with a few minor changes you can become a passionate reader.
If you’ve been playing around with the idea of getting into the habit of reading but can’t seem to get past that first page without succumbing to deep slumber— here’s what you need to do:
- Identify your goals: Before you pick up a book, it’s essential to identify your preferences. Not every book will be your cup of tea. Here’s when you have to look within, and figure out what floats your boat. If you want to work on yourself then self-help books are your jam, if you want to read to learn and understand the world around you—pick up non-fiction books. It’s imperative to set clear boundaries in order to reap the benefits of reading. Knowing what works is half the battle won. If you’re feeling ambitious, read a few chapters of different books and choose the one that holds your attention.
- Start easy: When you embark on a new project, there’s a ton of excitement and energy that starts to fade rather quickly. Don’t get ahead of yourself—instead try to take it slow. If the thickness of the book intimidates you, try short stories or graphic novels or better yet— take a trip down memory lane, pick up your favourite childhood book and read. Reading one short story per day is also enough to put things in motion. With the availability of audio-books, it’s comparatively easier to make time for reading. Whether you’re driving, or completing a chore, all you have to do is plug-in a book of your choice and you’re fit to go! The idea here is to ease you into the habit of reading—one that lasts long.
- Make a reading list: Your reading list should fulfill your goal, and ultimately help you realize why you wanted to make reading a habit in the first place. Follow bloggers and readers whose reading tastes are in perfect alignment with yours, research online, read summaries of different books to better understand what it entails and get down to business.
- Consistency: Habits are formed when you continuously work at it. Much like going to the gym or eating healthy in order to lose weight. It is the sum total of everyday routines that you religiously follow. Since you want reading to be a habit, it only makes sense if you incorporate reading into your life on a daily basis. Wake up half an early to catch a bit of reading before you go about your day, or read each night before sleeping. Set up a time that fits perfectly for you and stick to it. You can read up to a 100 pages or read only 2 pages—the quantity of reading is not of paramount importance.
- Take your book everywhere: You’ll be surprised to know how much reading can be done when you’re waiting for your appointment, or when you’re stuck in traffic, or have an extra class off at college/uni. The few minutes you get for yourself can be turned into an efficient mini-binge reading which is far better than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Carrying a book with you at all times works wonders.
- Avoid distractions: We’re slaves of the internet. This is particularly damaging because there’s information dump happening all around us, and our attention spans are reduced to less than that of a goldfish. It’s super-important to avoid as many distractions as possible. Put your phone on silent for half an hour when you’re reading and DO NOT check your phone unless it’s an emergency. It’s going to be difficult initially but remember—the first step is always the hardest. You can set up a cosy reading nook where you sit for hours with your favourite beverage. Having a designated place helps your brain identify what needs to be done and this is how habits are formed.
- Hold yourself accountable: Give yourself a reading challenge to read 12 books a year or more than that; join a book club or get yourself a reading partner who is as passionate about making reading a priority as you are. Having someone on the same journey makes it easy to stick to a habit. Make it fun & exciting by holding discussions or readathons, and you’ll look forward to reading every day. Another way of making sure you stick to your plan is to make it public. Nothing gets work done more than the fear of public shaming. Start a blog. Talk about your thoughts on a particular book, what worked for you, what didn’t.
If you feel saddled with work & responsibility, take some time off. Making reading an obligation or a task that needs to be checked off will narrow down multitude of benefits reading has to offer. It’s important to enjoy the process and bask in eternal pleasure the written word has to offer.
Hope the above tips encourage you to pick up a book today!