And how to make it your new habit
Every year you may write 'Read more books" on your resolution list. Or maybe you have a bunch of books you can't seem to find the time to read. We all have books on shelves we purchased with the best intentions of "some day" finding the time to read it. And I think if felt easy to do, many of us would read a lot more. But it doesn't feel easy when there are so many other things vying for our attention.
Until I went back to school to get my MFA in 2010, I would always say, "I wish I had more time to read." Back then I was teaching full time , running a student journalism program, and raising two school-aged children. Then something wild happened. With the same amount of responsibilities, and the same amount of hours in the day, I read 18 books my first year in grad school. By the end of three years, I had 60 read books behind me.
It's amazing how we make time for what we make a priority. I read before and after activities, early mornings, evenings after dinner and for hours at a time on the weekends. But it was required. After it wasn't, I stopped finding the time. It took me a while to move away from pushing myself to read like a student. to building reading into my daily life for pleasure and self development.
Even if you don't need to make reading a priority, and you're not trying to read a book a month for a book club, you can still build better reading habits if you make it easy for yourself to read.
In the book Atomic Habits James Clear says one of the best ways to build a new habit is to make it easy. I started making it easy for myself to read and almost automatically found myself reading more. You can too.
5 Ways to Help You Read More
Give your self a reason for reading. I want to read more because _________. Your reason could be to relax, to escape, to increase patience, to activate your imagination, to improve vocabulary, to write better or learn something new. When you have a clear reason, you can make the decision to do it a lot easier.
Remove the pressure. Read without expectation of how much you read at a time. If you're a slow reader like me, the idea of not reading enough pages can add unnecessary pressure. It can be a chapter a day, or a page a day. You'll make progress even if you read 5 minutes a day. Adding unnecessary pressure adds resistance. Your goal is to remove resistance.
Decide on a location. Designate a relaxing and quiet place for your daily reading so that you want to go there. I read at my desk because the lighting and height is right, and my chair is comfortable. Wherever you choose, make it attractive, inviting and optimized for the activity. Make it easy.
Attach reading to an existing daily habit. Read after or before you regularly do something else. This is another way to make it easy. For example, if you drink coffee every day, grab your book and read until the cup is empty. I read a chapter before I start my work block for the day.
Keep the book you are reading visible. The more times you see the book, the more you will be reminded to read it. I have lots of books on my bookshelves (many still unread), but the book I'm currently reading is out on the table next to my desk. All I have to do is grab it on the way to my desk, read it, and return it to the same place. Keeping it visible makes it easy to remember. As we know: "Out of sight goes out of mind."
To recap: If you want to read more this year, make it easy on yourself:)
If you want to see what I'm reading this year, click here.
And feel free to reach out if you need a book recommendation.
Wishing you luck on your reading journey this year.