How to create reading habits
Doctors, such as neurologists and even psychologists, recommend maintaining reading habits as part of your routine, but they do not know how you should go about it. In fact, many people end up "forcing" themselves in order to please those professionals or even themselves. But, in this way, reading becomes a tedious task and difficult to maintain over time. So, how do you create good reading habits for your daily life?
In order to fully take advantage of reading without feeling pressured into doing it, we need to create healthy habits. The good news is that it’s, in fact, very simple and easy to do.
Why create reading habits?
Surely more than once, you have said to yourself, "I want to read more.” If not, you should consider it because reading has many benefits. Reading teaches you to think outside the box and see things from different perspectives than the ones you're used to, it connects you to the brightest minds and thinkers, and it can get you to imagine characters that seem so real that you think you actually know them. As the English essayist, poet and screenwriter Joseph Addison said, "reading is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body".
Today, the advancement of the Internet makes access to knowledge much less cumbersome than it might have been not so long ago. Indeed, technology has turned boring, traditional reading habits into something of an enriched reading experience. This is because, today, you have the possibility of reading from any electronic device (whether a cell phone, tablet, or computer), without any limits to our time and space.
So, what are you waiting for to start reading? Imagine how many stories, adventures and mysteries to solve you are missing out on. It goes without saying that each book you pick up will leave you with an impactful experience or lesson.
Benefits of maintaining reading habits
If you incorporate reading into your daily routine, it can bring you many positive benefits. Below are just some of them that will surely encourage you to add reading moments to your day. Reading can:
- Encourage and improve the exchange of information and knowledge.
- Encourage people to be more empathetic regarding different aspects of their life.
- Stimulate a person’s imagination.
- Improve a person’s concentration.
- Encourage a more diverse outlook and perception.
- Delay the onset of any dementia-related diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, during reading, different parts of the brain are activated that promote creative processes based on the narrative’s events you are reading about. This sometimes stimulates your mind and you begin to remember memories and past recollections of personal experiences.
As you can see, maintaining reading habits brings nothing but benefits. So, how can you cultivate the habit and keep on reading?
How do you create reading habits?
If you have already made the decision to start reading more, then there are certain steps to follow that will help you.
Establish a reading schedule
Like any habit, the important thing is to be consistent. That's why setting aside a time of the day to dedicate to reading can be a great option. Some good times to consider for your reading can be: before going to bed, on your commute to school or work, after some common daily routine like having dinner, etc. You can even mark that time in your schedule as ‘busy’ so that nothing interrupts your moment.
Choose a book that motivates you
Don't know where to start? You can start with great classics or authors that you think might deal with topics that interest you. Another option might be to base your search on the genre of movies you like. For example, if you are into thrillers, then go for that same genre in books.
Another alternative is to start following social media accounts that recommend reading material. These accounts usually offer a glimpse of what a book is about, which can help you make a decision. Ultimately, the important thing to keep in mind is that the only way to figure out if you like a book or not is by starting to read it.
Starting to read from scratch can sometimes seem overwhelming. It is common to feel anxious and to want to see your progress as you read. Therefore, an exciting idea can be to set daily goals. Whether it is 5 or 30 pages, this goal must be achievable. If you think that 20 pages are too much and you probably can't achieve it daily, then go for a smaller quantity.
Track your progress
After setting easy-to-achieve goals, it is time to monitor your progress. A good idea for this is to create a weekly spreadsheet with the number of minutes, pages, or chapters read during the week and then start increasing the minutes of reading as the days go by.
Reading habits are crucial for improving our mental health, but they also offer a comforting and relaxing moment for those who do it. Reading should not be seen as an obligation but rather a moment to enjoy and disconnect from daily responsibilities. When you find yourself hesitating to do it or not, remember these tips:
- While reading, move away from any kind of distraction.
- Change books if you find what you’re reading is boring or unappealing.
- Don't worry about progressing quickly, read at your own pace.
- Share the experience with your friends and surround yourself with those who also enjoy reading.
- Ask other avid book readers for recommendations.
- Take your book everywhere you go to make the most of your time. You never know when a great time to read presents itself.
- If you have children, take advantage and teach them about reading. It will be a beautiful shared moment for you, and, for them, it will be the start of a great habit.
Now you have some useful tips and reasons to help you incorporate reading into your daily life. Now, all you have to do is crack your next book open and get to it!