Yesterday I spoke about my daily reading habit, and mentioned 10 of the books that I read this year. Today I am going to talk about the 5 tips that helped me start my reading habit, and how this could help you start to read more (or indeed do anything more).
1. I set a clear goal – and in this case it was to read one chapter a day. It did get a bit dicey earlier this year when I was reading a book with extremely long chapters, but I thought this was a more tangible way of keeping myself accountable. I have a friend who committed to one book a month, and another 10 minutes a day so these are other ways of doing it. Either way – set a manageable goal and if you are finding it a struggle then allow yourself to revisit it! This is something that I enjoy and I didn’t want to feel pressured like I had to be scrambling to turn pages at 11.55 just to tick it off the list. If you want to do “more” of something it is always a good idea to define what “more” looks like, and then set an attainable goal and move slowly towards it.
2. I injected some variety – I love fiction just as much as I do non-fiction, and so I injected some variety into the reading, as well as sometimes it was a magazine! You can decide if you want to read more fiction, or personal development, or even about a specific topic – finances, or health to give an example. For me variety was important – some of the non-fiction books I read I found to be a bit heavy, and I wanted something light to read in between, so I kept more than one book on the go at almost all times – one fact, one fiction. Sometimes a bit of variety in what we do can allow us to stick to our goals.
3. I found shortcuts – and one of those was audiobooks. I discovered the joy of audiobooks many years ago while doing my masters when I lived in England. I had long drives to London to sit exams and do some summer sessions, and I bought a few Harry Potter unabridged CD sets. Those were life to me on the long motorway journeys there and back, and since then, I have had a love for audiobooks (as long as I like the narrator). These have been great – especially with book club – and I listen while driving or cooking. This helps me get through books that I might not otherwise get through, and if you have a long commute then I would suggest giving it a try. This can also work if you want to learn more on a topic – there are numerous non-fiction audios and podcasts, as well as The Great Courses which you can listen to on any variety of topics.
4. I was prepared – this helps with any habit! In the case of reading for me it was simple – I never leave home without a book. Ever. Having audiobooks on my phone, as well as kindle helps, but just as often, I can be found with an actual book in my bag. And that has come in handy in those long bank lines that I sometimes find myself in. This may look different for other habits – but for me making a habit of something means doing a bit of prep to make it the easiest decision to make. An obvious example when it comes to something else – health – where meal planning and meal prep may be the way to stick to your goals rather than grabbing something on your way out the door. For me this was one of the keys to keeping this habit intact, and starting again when it fell off for a month or so there.
5. I kept it fun – this was easy because I love reading so much, but I also picked books that I really wanted to read, and kept it fun. There were a few that I started that I didn’t finish for whatever reason. I may return to some of them. Or I may not, and that is ok too. When you want to start a new habit, I think it is a good idea to inject some fun into it. It can really be the bright spot in your day, and you will be more likely to reach for it even when you are a bit tired or busy because it can give you a burst of positive energy to keep moving forward. I definitely found this with my reading habit.
So – my five tips to start a reading habit! Tomorrow I will have the final part of the series where I will list a few of the books that are on my shelf for the next coming months so that I can finish 2018 as I started it – with a book in my hand!
Sending you big love from a small island
PS and one thing that really makes reading fantastic is a lovely cup of coffee!!