Reading offers many benefits to people who do it often. However, getting into the habit of reading on a normal basis or even every day can be a challenge but there are things that you can do to jumpstart this new practice. Continue reading to learn ways to create positive reading habits.
If you are hoping to read more often, you are not alone. Whether it’s a new habit for the New Year or a commitment to learning more about the world, starting positive reading habits is a big item on people’s to-do lists. According to YouGov, 11% of Americans hope to read more in the year 2023. That’s approximately 36 million people!
However, it can be difficult to set aside time and find a quiet place to open a good book, web article, or magazine. Between busy schedules and the allure of binge-watching, starting a reading habit might feel impossible. Luckily, there are simple steps we can take to make reading habits a part of our life.
Why Start Reading Habits?
Benefits of Positive Habits
Positive habits can be a great way to bring more joy and hope into your day-to-day life. They can be done on a monthly, weekly, or even a daily basis, depending on how you include them in your schedule. Positive habits should affect your life in a way that improves it—whether that’s making you happier, healthier, more hopeful, connecting you with others or giving you a sense of purpose. For many people, reading is a way to do this. But how?
Benefits of Reading
There are various benefits to regularly reading. According to Healthline, reading books can reduce stress, help with sleep, improve brain connectivity, and increase vocabulary and comprehension.
Taking the time to read is a good way to slow down in a busy world. It gives us the chance to sit down in a quiet space and take a break from the screen. It lets us feel our emotions and look inwardly to see how we truly feel and react to different stories.
Reading can also take you on journeys to interesting worlds, all without leaving your living room. It can put you in someone else’s shoes, show you different perspectives, and increase your sense of empathy towards others. It can also be a source of comfort. Reading a story that we relate to can help us feel more seen and connected to the world around us.
How to Start Good Reading Habits
1. Put Your Reading Habits on Your Calendar
Finding the time to read is one of the major obstacles people face when they commit to reading more. After a stressful day at work or running errands, you might want to plop in front of the TV or open your phone. Make reading a part of your schedule by adding it into your calendar. Find a time during the day when you have downtime—in the morning while you drink your coffee, during your lunch break, or at night before going to bed. Adding it to your calendar, whether your daily planner or on your phone with an alarm, will remind you to slow down, sit comfortably, and crack open a book.
2. Start Small
If you are committing to reading more with reading habits, there’s no need to jump into an epic novel or a lengthy nonfiction book. Let yourself start small. Pick an easy read, like a short novel, a collection of short stories, or a magazine with short articles. Also start small with the amount of time you spend reading. If you don’t have the time to read for hours, set aside fifteen minutes. If you want to do it for longer to really dive into your book, increase the time as you go. Soon, you’ll be so pulled into a story, you’ll spend more time reading than you imagined possible with your busy schedule.
3. Go Chapter by Chapter
Another way to stick with a reading habit when you don’t have much time is to take your book chapter by chapter. Commit to reading one chapter a day, or even one chapter a week if you are especially busy. Set a schedule that makes sense for you. Don’t overdo it, or you run the risk of burning yourself out or stopping altogether. Remember that reading is not a race. The joy and knowledge you get from it is for you to have at whatever pace works for you. Habits stick when you focus less on doing them quickly and more on doing them consistently.
4. Make a Reading Spot
Who doesn’t love a reading nook—a quiet, cozy space where you can snuggle up and enjoy a good book. Make a reading spot for yourself in your home. It can be in your living room, a corner of your bedroom, in the kitchen, or outside on your porch. Here are a few characteristics that make for a great reading spot:
- Make sure the spot is filled with light so you can read easily
- Add pillows and blankets to make it more comfortable
- Personalize the spot with your favorite scented candle, flowers, artwork, shelves of books, etc.
Do whatever you want to the spot that brings you joy so you are excited to return and continue your reading habit.
5. Use a Reading Habits Tracker
A reading habit tracker is a tool that helps you keep track of the books you’ve read, plan to read, and are currently reading. It’s a great way to figure out your reading goals and catalogue your accomplishments. If your goal is to read a certain number of books, add them to the habit tracker and mark them complete as you go. There are various digital habit trackers you can use, such as websites like Libib and BookSloth, or apps like Goodreads and Bookly. You can also make your own reading habit tracker in a spreadsheet or a journal.
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Original article published on guideposts.org