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6 Practical Tips to Help You Cultivate a Reading Habit

Make a List of Books for Each Month

Write out a list of the amazing books you want to read. Ask for recommendations from friends and mentors. 

By being intentional about your reading list, you’ll stay focused on your ultimate goals and avoid lurking at any book that passes you by. 

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

6 Practical Tips to Help You Cultivate a Reading Habit

6 Practical Tips to Help You Cultivate a Reading Habit

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/6-practical-tips-to-help_b_10311094

huffpost.com

7

Key Ideas

The Essence

It’s important to have a deep willingness to read and grow in the process. Approach reading as a fun, enjoyable and transformational activity that ultimately impacts your life. 

With this kind of mindset, you’ll become intentional about the books you read by picking out those areas in your life that need improvement and plan towards growing to the next level by reading the right books that target those problem areas.

Determine Your Reading Goal

Start off by setting a goal. This goal should be articulate and backed up with a purpose.

For some, it could be a goal of reading 24 books in a year. Once you’re done placing a target figure to your reading goal, then divide them into smaller goals.

Make a List of Books for Each Month

Write out a list of the amazing books you want to read. Ask for recommendations from friends and mentors. 

By being intentional about your reading list, you’ll stay focused on your ultimate goals and avoid lurking at any book that passes you by. 

Read at Least 10-20 Pages a Day

Consider setting aside at least 10-20 pages per day to read, especially if you have a busy schedule. This process will help you stay focused as you look forward to accomplishing your daily goal of a specific number of pages. 

Take out time to understand and engage in the reading process. This way, you’ll be open to learn and be able to transfer that knowledge to others when an opportunity comes.

Invest in Tools that Encourage Reading

For most people today, mobile apps, tablets, news aggregators, ebook readers, and other online tools actually work wonders. Because the world is digital, most people prefer having their handy mobile appliances that would help them stay on top of their goals. 

Figure out what tools work best for you and invest in them.

Set Reading Times and Days

Set aside specific times every day to read your assigned book for the week/month and any other articles you may have bookmarked. 

Ready for at least 30-40 minutes a day is a great start and would help you develop a concrete reading habit as you’ll always look forward to having your ‘me time’ that supports your reading goals.

Get a Reading Partner or Book Club

Get a reading partner who has a heart and willingness to read, and create a plan to help you achieve your reading goals.

With a book club, you’ll create a concrete strategy that constantly keeps you motivated and inspired to grow beyond your comfort zone. Such gatherings give you an opportunity to discuss lessons you learned and other thoughts.

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We can apply the same technique to get ourselves to read more.

Instead of 2 hours of Netflix each night, cutting it in half would still give you the satisfaction of watching Netflix in the evenings but also free up time to read as well.

Book Summaries

Preview the book in order to vet whether or not it’s worth investing your time in.

  • Use book summaries. Find apps that give accurate and concise summaries of many of the most popular books out there and are constantly updating their library.
  • Use podcast interviews with the author. Authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote their books. 

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How to fit in more reading

We often struggle to find time to read. That's why we need to start small.

  • Read five pages of a book that interests you every day. When you are comfortable with five pages, try ten, then twenty.
  • The book should interest you. Reading a book of your choice makes the activity a pleasure to look forward to.
  • It helps to keep the book, audiobook app, or e-reader on you. Then, when you have some downtime, you can read instead of playing a smartphone game.
Audiobooks

Research found that audiobooks stimulate the brain differently but just as deeply as reading.

With print books, you need to provide the voice, imagine the tune and rhythm of speech, the intonation, stress of syllables, and so on. All this gets provided for you when listening to audio. With audiobooks, you're using different methods to decode and understand it. But it still deeply impacts your thoughts and feelings.

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Reading is highly enjoyable

... if you have a good book. 

If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for seve...

Set times

Have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what — triggers that happen each day. 

For example, make it a habit to read during breakfast and lunch (and even dinner if you eat alone) and when you go to bed.

Always carry a book

Wherever you go, take a book with you, unless you know you definitely won’t be reading (like at a movie). 

If there is a time when you have to wait (like at a doctor’s office or at the DMV), whip out your book and read. Great way to pass the time.

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A habit of compounding growth

Reading is a habit of compounding growth. When reading, you'll learn more, and you'll generate ideas and motivation for making other changes.

Reading books means you're getting more concentra...

Put the book down

The real cause of reading too few books is that you don't enjoy it enough.

Don't feel compelled to finish a book that has become boring, predictable or unhelpful. Start a new one. You can have many books through various states of completion. Some won't be finished, and that's okay. Reading less is worse than having a few go unfinished.

Build an online library

An obstacle to your reading habit is not having enough interesting books waiting to be read.

Create a list of potentially good books. If you have a Kindle or eReader, get samples of any book you might want to read — Source your wishlist from suggestions from other writers and authors. When someone recommends a book on a blog or tweet, add it to your wishlist.

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To get better results in life you need to learn constantly. And the best way to learn is to read effectively and a lot.

Upgrading your brain

A new idea, outlook on life, mental model, is all it takes for something to click inside your brain.

Your brain will start making connections between books that seemed to be on different topics. The more you read, the more links you form and the richer your understanding becomes.

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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

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.

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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Set Accountability Metrics

Come up with trackable goals like a number of words or pages per day. The specificity is important because being able to measure it allows you to keep track of your progress and better change your behavior. 

Make It a Regular Practice

Keeping track of streaks is a very powerful tactic for developing any new habit. Knowing that you have consistently succeeded for a number of days helps you push through the days who are unmotivated.

Other ways to foster regularity: writing in a different style or genre, and doing your writing first thing in the morning.

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Slow Is Good

The speed-reading habit is making us lose our deep attention and focus, gradually shunning denser, more complicated content. Instead of optimizing for speed, we need to optimize for comprehension, deep understanding, and retention of information.

Deep or slow reading, when the brain is attentive, absorbing, understanding and analyzing text expands our attention span and improves concentration and learning.

Better, Not Faster Reading

The brain develops stronger analytical skills and gets into critical thinking mode, forming new connections and even creates new ideas.

Deep focusing on a book is one of the best investments of your time.

Strategies speed readers use
Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...
Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read
  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).
Reframing excuses we make for not reading:
  • Time: Stop thinking of it as some activity that you do when you feel like it. It should be a reflex, a default.
  • Money: Reading is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
  • Purpose: Whate...
The purpose of reading
The purpose of reading is not just raw knowledge. Reading is part of the human experience. It helps you find meaning, understand yourself, and make your life better.  
Reading more
If you want to read more, there’s no real secret. It’s about adjusting your priorities and your perception so that reading becomes an extension of who you are and what you do.