Sometimes the pages are hard to flip, and the lines are hard to read, and the back of the book doesn't sit right. Do you think you can make yourself read at least a page like that! No matter how interesting the book is, everyday life can take away all your strength, and circumstances can force you to put off all your favourite stories for a boundless "later". So how do you avoid burnout and make reading a habit? Let's figure it out.
There are a thousand reasons why any of us might think to improve our reading habits. Are you tired of ditching a book of a hundred pages halfway? Started BelBookChallenge, but can't get into the rhythm of reading? Promised a friend to read his favourite novel, but can't get through it for the third time? Breathe deeply: you can still fix it. After all, reading, like almost everything in the world, can easily become a habit, and you will no longer have to force yourself to read.
Let's start with the basics, which we picked up from an excellent book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. Every habit is formed gradually, and Clear provides a simple four-step scheme that even the laziest can handle.
Step 1. Remind yourself to read!
Much of our behaviour is simply a reaction to signals and cues from outside. You grab cookies in the kitchen because you notice an open packet on the table. You sit down to watch TV when you come across a remote control. Good news: this property of your body can work to the benefit and you don't even have to scatter books around the apartment.
1. Place a book on your pillow every morning when making your bed. Add this small step to your morning routine: wake up – make your bed – put your book on top. It's not a bad reminder, especially when you feel like lying on the bed after work and falling asleep. Now a book will be waiting for you in plain sight and scream at you: "Read a couple more pages!"
2. Do you read books on your phone? Move your reading app to your home screen! Sometimes a physical environment for reminders is not enough. Just think how much time we spend with our noses in our phone screen! And if every time you unlock your screen you come across a book application mute reproach, you will probably want to read another page.
3. Make yourself a special reading space. Habits are somehow connected with associations. For example, a sofa can be firmly connected in your head with watching evening TV shows. And as soon as you settle in this place with a book, your hand automatically reaches for the remote control and new series! But it's not about you, it's about the associations. Now it is the time to keep distractions to a minimum and build your temple of reading at home. Would you like to move the chair and lamp to the far corner of the room? Or you could find a café near your house where you will drop by with a book after work. Whatever it is, you will quickly get used to reading in your special reading space.
Step 2. Make reading attracting
Yes, it sounds obvious, but the more interesting the activity that you want to turn into a habit for you, the easier it is to get used to it. It's much easier to get used to drinking cocoa before bed than doing exercises in the morning. Therefore, here are a couple of ways to make reading a little more attractive as a hobby, and at the same time to involve others in it.
4. Talk about books with your friends. Easy-peasy, right? As soon as you start discussing books with friends, reading becomes more interesting from the get-go. People have always strived to be part of a community. That's in our blood. If books make you feel like you're part of something bigger, that's even better. One detail: you need to have friends.
5. Join a book club, or start your own. Here's the key phrase from "Atomic Habits": "Join a group where your desired behaviour is the norm." The habits of the people around you will seem natural to you, and they definitely try to read a lot. And at the same time, there will be an additional incentive to take up a book – you need to discuss something with your book club friends.
Step 3. Make reading easier
It's hard to train yourself to read if the reading process itself is a headache. Therefore, as with any habit, it is worth simplifying – after all, you should always start small. You are unlikely to become an effective reader if you begin to train yourself with three chapters of Ulysses at a time.
6. Read one page a day. The simplest way to make reading easier is to set an easy goal. You may be tempted by big, big goals like “read one book a week” or “read 40 books a year,” but let's face it, without making reading a habit, these goals are unachievable. Therefore, moderate your ardour and start with a couple of pages a day. It will obviously be more effective. And from here, a hundred books a year are not far off.
7. Try reading early in the day. Wait, don't close the article, just listen! Reading, oddly enough, also requires your energy and attention, and at the beginning of the day, you probably have enough of them. And the closer the evening, the more background tasks there are that aren't helping to concentrate at all. Read until your email is filled with letters. Read until the phone rings. Read until you need to cook dinner and think about paying the bills.
8. Listen to audiobooks. Maybe, books are inconvenient for you to carry around, and reading in transport makes you sick. An audiobook will solve all your problems. Regardless of whether you are sitting at home or running after a departing bus, a book will still be with you. And your hands will be free. Reading becomes something that you can easily fit into your day.
Step 4. Make reading enjoyable
So now we have a variety of ways to get used to reading. But you know what else will be great? It's when reading brings you joy. Then the habit will not only develop, but also persist for a long time. That's what we're trying to achieve, isn't it?
9. Read what excites you. Set aside the must-read books – this is your hobby, there's nothing obligatory! Instead, read whatever you like. Even if it's dubious romance novels or low-quality fantasy. After all, as long as you enjoy a book, no matter what it is about, reading stories that you enjoy will help you stop ditching books halfway through.
10. Read what will be useful to you. Here's another option: focus on reading books that have a direct impact on your life. Facing challenges in life? Find a book with a similar topic and read it cover to cover. Reading will help you not only to feel that you are not alone in your trouble but also to reflect on what happened and maybe even learn something from other people's mistakes! And when you feel the real benefits of reading, it’s harder to quit books.
So, we have given you all the wisdom that we could get from "Atomic Habits" and our own everyday experience. Now you are definitely ready to dive headlong into the BelBookChallenge and read all 12 books without ditching one halfway through! So go for it. And finally get down to reading, until your bookshelf is completely covered with dust.
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