How To Make Reading A Habit

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So many people want to read. They sit down doing some work or other and remember how they used to love reading. They ask themselves where the time has gone, whether they grew out of it or found something more interesting to do with their time.

When they ask that latter question of themselves they start to feel the answer is no. They still want to read but for the life of them can’t figure out what’s going wrong to keep them from opening a good book, curling up with it, probably listen to their favorite music and watch those pages turn as they immerse themselves in its beauty.

This post goes out to all you people out there who love to read but are confused as to what happened that made you stop.

The ‘Reading Everyday’ Conspiracy

I’ve used the right word there, it really is a conspiracy because often people have no idea who did what and when, themselves included, to keep from reading. As you peruse this post you’ll understand what factors play against you every day and how you can twist those illusions to serve your cause.

Reading, after all, is the best means of learning, growing, evolving and expanding your world view. Watching TV shows and movies is another way to achieve that, but depth and soul-level understanding can only be gotten through books, whether you read them in print and bound form or through their more recent e-versions.

The following steps are based on my own experiences. You can take ideas from these and make them work for you. Tap into your imagination and come up with totally different ideas if you want.

3 Steps To Help Create A Reading Habit

Step 1 – Small Drops Make An Ocean

I’m going to say this first line of this first point as plainly as I can. The first step is always the most difficult. This first step to making reading a habit is going to require you to force yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of ways you can misunderstand that line. Force is good when you know how to apply it. Sometimes you force yourself to do something or pretend to do it and you end up actually doing it and liking it.

In the case of reading it can be tough to go along with because of the modern world’s many attractions. From gaming to internet chatting and browsing, online shopping and more, not to forget everyday chores and duties, in addition to office and other make-a-living jobs, reading can easily be stashed into the box of ‘last options’.

Step-1 is meant to share the following idea… Open a book for the first time and just keep that watch away, turn yourself away from the clock (wall and computer desktop) and just forget your obligations. This will take some getting used to, but do your best. Begin reading and keep your ‘session’ for, say, three pages (both sides of the page). Put the bookmark in and get back to your day.

Repeat the 3-page-routine casually and with a little bit of positive force 7 times a day. That’s 3 whole pages spread throughout the day, you spend reading 7 times. Doing the math, that brings us to 21 pages a day!

Wow, that’s more than you might have thought possible, right? The slowest reader will spend a maximum of 15 minutes for three pages, so doing the math again, you spend an average total of 1 hour 45 minutes in your whole day to read 21 whole pages. That’s awesome progress! That’s 630 pages in 30 days! Wowza!

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Step 2 – Stick To One & Go Steady With It

Since you’re getting back into the reading game, it’s best you keep your attention and time focused on one book at a time. Most people get carried away on the waves of over-confidence (I used to do this earlier too) and read three different novels at a time.

First they read chapter-1 from one story, they get back to doing some work, then they read chapter-1 of a totally different novel and they get back to doing some other work, returning to read the first few pages of an entirely different and this time a non-fiction book.

Granted, all three books may be super-interesting and you might even succeed over the course of time to complete reading all three. Give yourself a pat on the back and take ten minutes to appreciate what you read. You’ll find yourself panicking and rushing to come up with the memory you need.

Every book packs emotional value. Emotion is the reason people write and people read. To not be able to fully appreciate one book is a bad state to be in. That becomes possible if you attempt over-reading, as detailed earlier.

Take your time with a book, reading it calmly and steadily. You’ll be shocked and awed to see how much time you save by reading steadily and not rushing through the pages. Seriously, no kidding, I used to rush assuming I have no time. I ended up taking much longer than when I later started reading steadily and I also failed to recall the content I read.

In summation, stick to one book and read the required pages indicated in Step-1 steadily, without rushing to complete.

Step 3 – Share Your Sentiment

Once you’ve gotten a good flow going (Step-1) and you have made the extraordinary decision to start and stick to one book, and read it a calm and enjoyable rate (Step-2), and you have completed one book and feel super-cool about having made it to the last page, the next thing you need to do is talk about it.

You can blog about it, introduce it in conversation or online chat with your buddies, write about it in your diary or just speak to yourself and imagine you’re the writer of that book and a famous talk show host is interviewing you about it. Whatever it takes, just let yourself share what you read and were a part of.

This step not only helps you remember the book for a very long time to come, it helps you recall the lessons you learned from its pages. You get to a core in the plot that you never imagined you could travel to just by sharing your ideas with others or yourself. All it takes is a maximum of 20-minutes to get through this last step, and you’re done.

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Final Note – Warning: This Could Sound Rude To Some People

If you really, really, REALLY want to spend a certain amount of money on something or someone, or you really, really, REALLY want to spend a certain amount of time with something or someone you will find any and all reasons, excuses, logics, theories, ideas and more to make it happen.

It’s human nature, so unless you’re inhuman don’t scoff at this common experience everybody has gone through or will go through in their mortal lives. In this fashion, make time to read, make it a habit and make things happen.

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge."

—George R. R. Martin.

(Author of the bestselling Game of Thrones series, now a hit TV show).

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