I don’t think I need to tell you that reading is good for you—great for you. The more you read, the more you learn. The more you learn, the greater the grasp you have on how the world ticks. Reading expands your life perspective and fine tunes your life filter. You understand life more, and in turn, can deal with it better.
Unfortunately, most people don’t read. Sometimes, people do want to read—they’ve got a book at home sitting on the shelf that they fancy—but can never seem to find the time. Well my friends, this post is for you.
1) Reading is a pleasure.
Obviously, to get yourself motivated to read, read something that interests you. Meditation, animals, philosophy, sex—whatever you want. If you’re drawn to the book, the more likely you’ll be excited to pick it up and read it.
2) Set triggers.
Make reading a habit by setting triggers. For example, breakfast (among other things), is my trigger. Whenever I break the fast, I make it a rule to read. You can do this for anything—when you go the washroom, when you’re riding the subway, while you eat dinner, before bed—you get the point. Your triggers will act as a friendly reminder that you should read. It may take some time getting used to (like all habits do), but it’s worth it!
3) Have a goal.
Some people set radical goals for themselves like reading one book a week. (Yeah, I know right?) Obviously you don’t have to be as radical as that. You can start by reading a book a month. Or a book every two months even. Up to you. Whatever floats your boat. But setting a goal and aspiring to reach it gives you a focus that’ll help you get the job done.
Accountability helps. Maybe have a reading partner. Set something up between the both of you where you tell each other what book you’re going to read and when you’re going to check in with one another to see through your promise.
When you set a goal, letting yourself down isn’t really a big deal. But letting someone else down is something we intrinsically would like to avoid— it helps you achieve your goal faster.
Another thing you can do is borrow books from your local library. (A gold mine!) The return date gives you a sense of pressure to finish your book by a certain deadline.
5) Read whenever you can.
If you’re determined and willing, use every possible moment when you’re idle to indulge in the art of the written word. On the bus. On the subway. On your lunch break. When you’re at the gym. You won’t regret it, I promise!
6) Just start.
Sometimes the thing preventing us from reading is our own mind. Our mind will make up all kinds of excuses not to do something. Not get out of bed. Not clean the house. Not shower (whoops). And in this case, not read.
The trick to bypassing this mental block is to just pick up the dang book already and read! Don’t pour too much thought into the action. Just do it. Once you start reading (if it’s a good book), it’s quite difficult to stop!
7) Always have your book in reach.
Wherever I go, I’ve always got a book with me. Whenever I’m at home, a book is always near. That way, I don’t have to think much when the idea that I should maybe spend my free time reading instead of diddle-daddling on social media or watching Netflix comes into my head. I just grab the book and start reading.
Having your book some place else other than you are adds one more hurdle in your decision making process to not read. It’s a small inconvenience, but the mind is superb in making up excuses for ourselves.
“Aw, it’s in the other room. I think I’ll just watch funny vine compilations on YouTube instead.”
Been there, done that!
8) Create a dedicated time for yourself.
Whether it’s deciding to wake up a half hour early to get in a few chapters, or choosing to get into bed and cozy up with a book before you eventually doze off, dedicating time specifically for reading helps so much. Just saying “Every night, right before I hit the hay, I’m going to dedicate a couple minutes to reading,” can be a powerful decision in itself.
9) Eliminate distractions.
Get rid of the laptop. Turn your phone off. No Netflix. Goodbye TV.
Focus on your book.
10) Create a dedicated space for yourself.
Sometimes, the best way to set the mood for reading is having a dedicated space for one’s self. Perhaps yours is in bed, with your bedside lamp illuminating the night’s final task. Perhaps it’s in the library. Perhaps you have the luxury of creating a reading room for yourself. Perhaps it’s snug in the corner of your local coffee shop.
Reading may seem like a mental strain at first thought. But truth be told, it’s a pleasurable, rewarding leisure activity. You’ll add zest and colour to your vocabulary, expand your life perspective, enlighten yourself with the wisdom and insight of others, and perhaps even learn a little bit about your being in the process which you wouldn’t have otherwise. I hope this article has brought value to your life. Happy reading!
Christopher Tan is a writer at his blog The Art Of Life where he inspires others to become authors of their own story. He helps people wake up to their truth, power, and potential of blossoming into the best version of themselves. You can follow him on Twitter here.