I hated reading books. I only read them to comply with school requirements. Reading meant going through pages of boring information I had to remember. I knew that after reading a book, I would either have to write a book report or take an exam to test how much information I retained. So when I graduated college, I was happy that I no longer had to touch a book.
8 years after enjoying my book-free life, I am now crazy about reading. I recently went to a bookstore where I bought 7 books I wanted to read all at the same time. I spend my days reading in the morning, before going to bed and whenever I have the chance to.
What made me shift?
It all started 4 years ago when I discovered a book I l resonated with. In a dire state of wanting to know the meaning of life, I googled for answers which lead me to a book, The Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. This paved the way for me to give reading a second chance.
It took me months and even years to transition from a book-free life to reading everyday. It was on-and-off thing. What kept me going back to reading after a few weeks of hiatus were the benefits I reaped from it. The more I read, the more I enjoy these:
- It answers my questions and sparks up new ones
- It opens opens new perspectives and worlds that I never imagined of
- It provides access to wisdom and lessons of other people
- It takes me on an emotional journey
Knowing that successful people read – A LOT, also motivated me to work harder in building a regular reading habit.
- Fortune 500 CEOs read 4-5 books per month
- Abraham Lincoln who only had one year of formal education credited his appetite for reading with his success
- Warren Buffet devotes 80% of his time each day to reading
- Bill Gates reads 50 books, on average, per year
- Mark Cuban reads more that 3 hours per day
I know that staring a reading habit is not easy. So let me share with you (3) WAYS that helped me START my READING HABIT.
1) What is your Interest?
What topic excites you? What are you curious about? What do you want to learn? What world do you crave to see?
When I was in elementary, I read Nancy Drew books but do not like the Daniel Steel novels from my mom’s collection. I read Sweet Valley high but do not like Archie comic books. In high school, I read Harry Potter Books 1, 2 and 3 but, lost interest when the 4th book was published.
Reading should be a pleasurable experience. You don’t have to read Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird nor Catcher in the Rye if you want to read Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or 50 Shades of Grey.
If you suddenly lost interest or feel disconnected with a book you are reading, ditch it. No one will ask you for a book report nor test how much you memorized or understood the book. Reading should be fun. So, read books that you like.
Do you often hear yourself saying, “I don’t have time to read. I wish I could make time for it”? I did!
The next 2 tips are meant to help you MAKE TIME TO READ.
2) Set a regular time to read
Instead of worrying where to get that 1-hour or 30-minute chunk of reading time, set a regular time to read, regardless of how much time you have. You can do it upon waking up, during lunch time or after dinner. And stick to your schedule. When done consistently, you will create a habit of reading on those times.
The ones I observe are:
– Before going to sleep (10-30 minutes). Reading helps my mind calm down and makes me sleepy.
– During my morning toilet break (5-15 minutes). Instead of browsing through social media, I find reading more productive and relaxing while on my p**p break.
3) Listen to Audiobooks
Listening is another way to consume books. Audiobooks provides a convenient answer to the common question of “How do I find time to read?” It allows you to ‘read’ books whenever it is convenient for you – during your daily commute, while waiting in line, cooking or doing mundane chores.
Though I prefer reading the actual book because of its relaxing effect, I still go for audiobooks when I need to consume information within a limited time.
Creating new habits is challenging. During the first part of habit creation, it takes a lot of will-power and discipline to doing an activity consistently for a period of time, to make an activity second nature. But once the habit is built – a good habit, you will be able to enjoy the benefits you get from it with minimal effort.
If you attempt or have attempted to start a reading habit but failed once, twice, thrice or several times, don’t give up. Keep trying – harder and differently the next time. Reading is a beneficial activity that does not only entertain but takes you to places, expands your imagination and makes you wiser.
Happy Reading! 🙂