A survey carried out 17 years ago showed that almost half of Americans didn’t read a single book in 12 months. Since then, reading rates have been falling. Sometimes this happens just because we don’t have enough time, but more often it’s just lack of motivation. So, before you turn to our foolproof tips for developing a reading habit, ask yourself a simple question.
Do you really want to read more?
Most of us know we SHOULD read more. Yet, we don’t really WANT to – we don’t truly understand all the benefits. That’s why so many attempts to read more fail. So, what are the benefits of “consuming” more texts?
- Keeping your mind sharp: Reading involves mental effort, it forces you to think – this is what television, for instance, can’t do.
- Becoming an expert: Having read around 15 books on a subject, you build a better understanding of it than most people. Having read 200-300 books on a topic, you reach the level of an expert.
- Changing your life: Self-help genre is the best in this respect, yet even fiction often gives ideas for self-improvement and making your life better. Reading a lot often gives you a chance to think in ways you hadn’t considered earlier.
- Being aware of what’s going on in the world: Books may give an insight about trends that will affect our future.
- Think of other, more personal reasons: If you are still sure you really want to develop a reading habit, try the following strategies.
1. Start your morning with reading:
Why not start your day with investing in yourself? If reading is the first or one of the first things you do when you wake up, you will be less likely to skip it or just “forget” about it. This routine will help you make reading an automatic activity. You will also read later in the day, when you have time.
However, if you know your mind tends to be slower in the first half of the day, then you might consider reading in the evening, when your concentration is better.
2. Set a daily goal:
For instance, 30 pages or 10% of a book daily. In this way you will be able to read about 3 books a month, or 36 books a year.
For bigger books, 10% is a lot, so you may want to read 5% in the morning and 5% later in the day.
3. Drop a book you don’t love:
Having read 20% of a book you discovered it’s just a waste of time? Don’t be afraid to quit. Otherwise, reading will become a chore rather than a passion.
4. Keep a list of books you’d like to read:
Amazon Wish List can be rather convenient for building such a list. Avoid multiple lists, as you will very likely lose track.
5. Keep track of the books you’ve read:
If you are able to see your achievements, it will help you build up motivation.
6. Make notes:
Use note taking software that gives you a chance to synchronize information on several devices. If you prefer paper books, you may consider making notes on a piece of paper and keeping this piece inside the book.
7. Try speed reading:
This technique is great for many types of books, including self-help books and books connected with one’s job. You will easily find books and software to help you increase your reading speed. But just to begin with, try the following simple steps:
- Run a card, a pointer or your index finger beneath the text – in this way you force your eyes and brain to keep pace.
- Stop “pronouncing” words you read in your head.
- Read in sprints: set a timer (10 minutes, for instance) and read faster than you actually comprehend.
8. Have a book with you everywhere:
If you find paper books too heavy, opt for an eBook. You may be surprised by how much you are able read during the time in lines etc.
9. Listen to audio books:
It takes more time to listen through a book than to read it, yet audiobooks are great when you can’t actually read (doing chores, walking around).
10. Make reading more of a social activity:
Join a book club. There are a lot of online groups, but you may also find in-person clubs in many towns. Get a library card or find friends who share your interest in reading.