Here’s a crazy statistic for you: Half of Americans read fewer than four books per year. Yep, that certainly is crazy, but does it really surprise you?
In a world of binge-worthy TV shows and hours of social media scrolling, picking up a book is on the backburner for most of us. However, by neglecting to read, we’re missing out on important benefits for our minds and bodies (read all about them here!). With just a few simple steps, we’ll help you not only build a reading habit, but learn to love this new part of your routine as well. Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Find your genre.
The fun thing about books is that there’s something out there for everyone. Not a fan of science fiction? Try out a fantasy read! Struggling to stay engaged with an action or adventure novel? Maybe a personal development book would be more your style (use this list to find the perfect one for you). Or, if you own a business, you might find books on mindset or successful entrepreneurship to be helpful. It’s important to find a genre that excites you and makes you actually want to read, so take your time to find what’s right for you!
Step 2: Start small.
Getting into a reading routine doesn’t have to mean finishing a book every week or powering through 500 pages a day—at least not at first. Instead, start by challenging yourself to read for just 15 minutes daily or finish a chapter each night. As you get more comfortable, you can tack on more to each goal, or even set new, bigger ones.
Step 3: Make time.
We know what you’re thinking: “How could I possibly find a minute of alone time to read during the day?” Well, when you don’t have the time, you must learn to make the time. That’s why some people prefer to do their reading in the mornings while everyone else in their house is still asleep. Others like to read right before bed. It’s also a good idea to assess the time you spend on your phone each day … could you give up 20 minutes of social media scrolling to sit down with a book? Find little pockets of time in your day and take advantage of them!
Losing motivation? We've all been there ...
Those first three steps should help you set a solid foundation for your reading habit, but now comes the most difficult part: staying motivated. Let’s be honest, it’s often tough to hold yourself accountable, especially over a long period of time. Ten minutes of reading turns into 5 … and suddenly, you’ve completely let go of this part of your routine altogether. Here are two tips for keeping your reading habit going strong when you feel yourself running out of steam.
Join the club.
Book clubs set you up with a built-in group of people to keep you on track! Find an in-person one near you or sign up for virtual clubs like these. You’ll be much more likely to keep up with your reading when you know you’re not doing it alone. Plus, you might just find yourself with a new friend or two!
Write it down.
You know what’s really motivating? Looking back and seeing all the progress you’ve made. That’s what makes a reading journal such an incredible tool. Write down the books you’ve read, when you them, and any of your key takeaways. When you start to feel unmotivated, pull out your journal to get reinspired!
More than anything, don’t forget that reading should be fun. It’s a way of transporting yourself to another world for a while, so enjoy it. Like Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”