There are a lot of wonders reading can bring us, especially when you able to read a hundred of books. But the problem lies when we don’t know where or how to start reading. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t want to improve or don’t want to learn something new, it’s just that you’re trying but the drive or MOTIVATION TO IT IS NOT WORKING VERY WELL. I know there are these times when you tried reading and suddenly your eyes are falling slowly and slowly, until you’ve caught yourself sleeping for an hour or two.
“Is reading really for me?” I bet you’ve asked yourself that question.
What mistakes made your intention to read and learn something new wrong? Or what mistakes you did that made you realized that reading is not really for you? First and foremost, I don’t believe that reading is only for chosen people. I always believe that we all have the capacity to read books, our interest on the genres might be different, but I am certain that with the proper mindset and techniques we can all have this habit.
The problem often falls on the mindset that we have, and since we haven’t built the habit of reading we often failed in our first try.
We as human of habits, our brain is designed to see patterns and has the capacity to automate our decisions. This is one way for our brain to function at the utmost efficiency, leaving trivial tasks that are recurring on an auto-pilot decision making thru what we called “Habits”. Thus, creating the habit of reading is all about the patterns and building those patterns each day for us to create this habit.
We have listed down some ways how you can build the habit of reading, these will help you start, have the momentum, and eventually turned it into your habit.
1. Setting your intentions
Before you read or open your book, set the intention why you wanted to read the book. What you wanted to learn? Why are you reading it? Is this just for the sake of reading something or you wanted to learn something new. The practice of setting your intention before reading increases your focus and clarity on what you are doing.
This exercise is also applicable in other task or activity that you wanted to do. IT IS ONE WAY OF IMPROVING YOUR FOCUS.
2. Start small
The most common mistake that we normally encounter when we are trying to build the habit is that YOU OFTEN START TOO GRAND and CAN’T KEEP THE MOMENTUM. You have to remind yourself that it is not just about reading something, that you are looking after this, it is more of building the habit to read.
Focus on reading few pages before reading the whole book, set specific number of pages per day. Just a specific number of pages that is too easy for you not to do it. Remind yourself that this is all about for the long term and you cannot force yourself to read much since you are just starting.
Try this, target reading ONLY 2 PAGES per day (or whatever number of pages your decided to read) rather than reading a book for a week. The goal here is to make it so trivial and easy that you can’t even procrastinate in doing it. This gives you more sense of control but a lot easier and can be tracked easier.
3. Track your habit
I am fan of tracking habit and I alway believe that you can only make your habit stick to you easier if you can track it. Remember that you often tried starting good habit, but it ended up not making it stick. The reason for that, is YOU ARE NOT TRACKING IT. When you started tracking your habit, you will have this sense of accountability that you can’t break the streak that you’ve made.
But keep in mind that this only works if you do this with 2-day rule. The 2-day rule is a reminder for you not to break your streak for more than 2 days. Otherwise, THE HABIT OF NOT DOING YOUR HABIT BECOMES A HABIT.
(I did this when I was building my habit of working out. I was able to track my habits for almost two months, until it became a habit and now just a reminder for me that I can skip a day but never twice. This allows me to still consistently do my habit and stick to it even until now, and that’s almost 6 months already.)
4. Start with something that amuses you
Start first at the table of contents, and check which of the topics piques your interest. Focus first in making the momentum my reading those that interests you the most.
Start building up the snowball, start with something that you are most interested with. Often times, we got bored on some parts that we are not really interested which leads us in procrastinating from reading.
Since you are just building this habit, I suggest that you have to feed your reading habit with what topics that excites you. Try this and see how it works well with you.
5. Find an accountability partner
Find someone whom you can be accountable for, try committing something each week and each day. This makes you feel more accountable and responsible in your readings and increases the likelihood of completing your book.
The way to explain this is; why is it too difficult to tell to a stranger that you will do your work out regularly than with your family? Simply because we don’t want to look like a stupid saying something that we know we might not do, thus, if you would commit something to someone it creates this responsibility for you to accomplish it. This gives you the feeling that if ever you didn’t do it your reputation is at stake.
Thus, having an accountability partner gives you more responsibility in your book readings.
6. “Put something on the table”
Want to make this habit extra extreme? Sometimes we often stumble in building our habit because nothing is really at stake. When we increase the fear for not doing something you increases the likelihood of doing it. Isn’t it? If you would give someone $500 if you didn’t read 1 chapter a day, how would it affect your performance in building the habit of reading? I guess with this stake you would certainly do it.
SOMETIMES THERE IS NOTHING AT STAKE THAT ALLOWS US TO EASILY BREAK OUR HABIT OF READING that no matter what happen whether you do it or not, nothing will happen. That’s why putting something at stake increase the probability of you doing it.
These are just some of the ways that you can do to build the habit of reading, focus on making slow progress rather than pushing yourself too much and ended giving up early. Remember habits are not meant for a short duration, habits are called habits when it becomes your routine or was imparted in your lifestyle. Focus on making progress each day and you are already halfway there.