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Tsundoku

Tsundoku

Many of us have a desire to read. We buy books, but then the demands of work and family catch up with us, and we never get round to reading the books. The Japanese calls it tsundoku.

A US survey found that more than one-third of adults report a desire to read more books. If you're one of these people, even though you love books, reading them is the least important thing in your life. You may do it at the end of the day, or perhaps when you're on holiday.

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Finding the time for books

To give books the attention and time it deserves in your life, you need to make it a higher priority. It means you have to change your habits and routines to allow more reading.

Sometimes, your reading needs only a little encouragement to displace something that should be lower down on your list. For example, to forgo watching television and reading a book instead.

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The reading habit: Succeeding long-term

  • First consider why you want to read more books. Reading should be enjoyable for you because you find them entertaining, calming, stimulating, and fascinating. Once the habit is set, you can also read other things you "should" read.
  • Change your surroundings to make it easier for you to grab a book. Reading apps can be prominent on your phone. Physical books should be in places that you most often frequent.
  • Create modest reading goals. Permit yourself to start with reading one page a day. Once the habit is established, you can increase it.
  • Once you have laid the foundation for your new reading habit, create an action association, such as reading on the train to work or with your mid-morning coffee or dinner.

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Grow your reading habit

  • Once you've created a habit, you may wonder how long it will take before it gets easier. On average, it takes about two weeks to see a noticeable difference.
  • Increasing your reading means decreasing other activities. You could look at this upfront and eliminate unwanted habits. But once you build your new book-reading habit, unimportant things will naturally fall away.
  • Your social environment is important for a reading habit. Seek out friends who read, or join a physical or virtual book group, to ensure that reading is not only a private activity.
  • Cultivate your sense of self and identity as a reader. The love of books is often central to who avid readers are.
  • Think about the kind of person you want to be and how reading more books will fulfill that aim. It might also help to write it down as it provides a frame for the actions you choose.

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