How to Establish a Strong Reading Habit

There’s no getting around it: people don’t read as many books as they used to. Instead, they spend hours each day doomscrolling low-effort posts on Instagram and Facebook.

If you have been trying to build a reading habit to no avail, you aren’t alone. Every New Year, millions of people set the resolution to chug through a dozen books before Christmas. By the time Christmas rolls around, though, they’ve only knocked out one or two.

Everyone’s reasons are different. Some want to read for fun, some to educate themselves. Whatever your reasons, you can learn to enjoy reading and do it more often.

Let’s discuss reading tips on how to build a rock-solid habit for reading.

Start Your Reading Habit with a Goal

It all starts with a goal. People don’t recommend setting goals just because it’s the fashionable thing to do. Rather, it creates a sense of accountability.

Accountability is the only way to improve. It means holding yourself to the standards you have created, regardless of how hard it is to keep them. Otherwise, you would just do it when you feel like it–i.e., never.

Write the Goal Down

So, set a goal. You can do this on a piece of paper, a phone app, or any other medium you prefer. What matters is that you write it down rather than just taking a mental note that you’ll forget.

Many people have their phone’s goal app send them a notification reminding them. Or, they put a Post-it on their door or computer screen. Find whatever method works to remind you of your goal.

Start Small

It’s easy when setting goals to go for grand achievements. You want to read a book a week, even if that means reading 4 hours per day. If you have no prior reading habit, this is a great way to burn out fast.

Start small. Only read for a short period, such as 15 minutes, on your first day.

Slowly ramp it up. By the end of the week, you might be reading for an hour each day.

Choose Reasonable Books

It’s probably not a good idea to pick up the latest Brandon Sanderson novel as your reading target. A doorstop of a book could easily take you weeks or months to finish. That could prove a tall order, one that’s hard to stay enthusiastic about the longer you read.

So, begin with something realistic like a novella or average-sized novel. Choose an author that writes in comprehensible, easy-to-understand prose. Most important of all, only read what interests you.

This way, you make it easier for yourself to acquire a reading habit. Looking for something to read? Find my next book with this link.

Find a Distraction-Free Place to Read

No matter what anyone tells you, know this: the human mind cannot multitask. You can only switch between multiple tasks very quickly–not do them at the same time. Switching like this degrades your performance in each individual task, too.

So for starters, make sure you are only reading and nothing else. Find a place where you won’t have any distractions. Distractions can include anything: TV in the background, chatty roommates, or your phone.

Stay Away from Your Phone

Consider leaving your electronic devices in another room. This takes away the temptation to check them every five seconds for notifications. That way, you’ll be able to be fully engrossed in the book as you read.

Distractions will not only make it difficult to focus. You will fail to absorb as much as you could have. Comprehension will be more difficult, and it will take longer to read.

Reward Yourself for Reading

Too often, people set a goal without a reward. Reading is its own reward, sure. But at least for forming a habit, you need some incentive to push you forward.

So, reward yourself for each successful reading session. The easiest way to do this is to make reading a barrier to your typical leisurely activities. For example, playing video games after work.

That means you cannot play any video games until you have finished your reading. Once you finish reading, you get the dopamine hit for success: video games. Over time, it programs your brain to get used to reading as a means to an end.

It’s a great way to jumpstart a good habit without changing too much in your daily routine. It can trick your brain into reading more. Eventually, you may long to read even without a reward.

Consider Investing in Your Habit

Humans have a strong aversion to loss. We hate losing things more than we like gaining things. We’d much rather not lose $1 than gain $1, as a small example.

This provides a clever avenue to force yourself to read more. In particular, spending money on your reading habit. This means buying a brand new book or purchasing an e-book reading device.

Every time you see that new book you’ve purchased, you feel bad for not reading it. This drives you to read more. It’s much more effective than a library book, something that’s free and therefore risk-free.

You can easily spend upwards of $15 on a book. That’s your hard-earned money going down the drain if you don’t put it to use. 

So whenever you are struggling to read, put your money on the line!

Start that Reading Habit Today

Everyone wants to have a reading habit and finally finish the next book on their TBR list. If you want to read more, then all it takes is a bit of goal-setting. 

Remove reading distractions, reward yourself, and make reading cost you if you don’t do it. Soon, you’ll enjoy reading like you used to.

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Written by Patricia

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