How to Develop a Reading Habit
If you want to read more books, these tips will help you cultivate a reading habit so you can be smarter, less forgetful, and apparently – sexier too.
Go old school and visit your local library to find a good book.
Why? Because deadlines set by other people are great motivators. Getting a book from the library gives you a built-in deadline for reading the book.
If your library’s web site has an email notification feature for due date reminders, use it. And if you’re lucky enough that your library system participates in Library Elf, you can configure exactly when you want to receive those due date reminders. Otherwise, you can set up reminders on your phone or whatever calendar system you’re already using.
2. Do It Everywhere
While I was reading the Harry Potter series for the first time, I would bring the book with me everywhere.
Nowadays, I have the Kindle app on my phone, so it’s super convenient to pull out my phone and read a paragraph or two here and there. For example:
• Bring your book along to appointments and show up early so you get a little extra time in the waiting room. Plus, you won’t have to stress about being late to your appointment because you’ll already be there!
• If you find yourself alone for lunch, don’t just eat at your desk and catch up on email. Run out to grab a quick bite, and bring a book to read while you eat.
• Read while waiting in a long line.
• Listen to the audiobook version while driving.
• Read while your kids are in the bathtub.
• Read in the elevator so you don’t have to make uncomfortable small talk.
Side note: I once saw a guy riding a bicycle while reading a book. Extra points for his commitment to reading, but he wasn’t even wearing a helmet!
3. Read to Kids
As soon as my Little sister Abby could sit still longer than it takes to read Moo Baa La La La, I started reading chapter books to her at bedtime. And nothing that would drive me crazy like Junie B. Jones, either.
We’ve read the absolutely fantastic Penderwicks series, every Pippi Longstocking book we could find, and recent award-winning kids’ books like Flora & Ulysses.
Pick a book that sounds good to both you and your kid, and read that at bedtime every night. Bonus: Reading to kids 20 minutes a night is a proven investment in your child’s future.
4. Make It Social
There’s nothing like peer pressure to get you to do something. Book clubs give you that, and they also impose deadlines.
Start a monthly book club. Just make sure there’s at least one person in the book club who is committed to finishing the book. Because if your group is made up of a lot of people who won’t actually read the book, your book club will quickly devolve into a wine-and-cheese club. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not going to get you closer to your goal of a daily reading habit.
5. Choose Carefully
Life is too short to read books you don’t really want to read. Don’t try to read books that you think you should read because they’re classics or because you think it will make you look smart.
Read the books you want to read. Read the books whose front cover descriptions get you excited to the point of drooling.
If that just so happens to be Moby Dick, fine. But if what you really want to read is a comic book or Fifty Shades of Grey, go for it. Moby Dick’s not that great anyway, trust me.
If you’re not sure what to read, sign up at Goodreads and see what your friends have read and enjoyed. Every time you come across a book you want to read, plop it into Goodreads for safe keeping so you’ll remember it later. After you use Goodreads for a while (see tip #8), it will start to learn your literary tastes and give you personalized recommendations for which books you’ll enjoy reading next.