Developing a reading habit is one of the best things you can do if you desire to keep learning and growing. A few years ago, I heard Bishop David Oyedepo say, “Every leader is a reader and every consistent reader becomes a leader”. I made a decision that day to develop a reading habit and I am glad I did. The benefits of reading can never be overemphasized. Reading expands your vocabulary, it improves your memory and focus, it broadens your knowledge-base, it improves your analytical thinking; I could go on and on. Reading helps your imagination and is good for business owners, professionals, students and just anyone at all. As you read, you get so many ideas, even business ideas. Reading makes you innovative; you read about how someone did something and you get an idea about how to add your touch to make something similar but unique. As a writer, I read so many books and articles when researching to write on a particular topic. Reading improves your writing style as you are exposed to different writing styles.
Despite the many advantages of reading, developing a reading habit is not so easy. I remember a friend used to tell me how fast he could finish books and I wondered if it was possible for me. This is to let you know you can develop a reading habit and subsequently fall in love with reading. I once read a quote that said the only way to learn how to read is to read. I think whoever wrote that is perfectly right. Today, we’ll be discussing a few points that’ll help you develop a reading habit. Let’s do this!
1. Have a Goal
You should have a reason for picking any book you choose to read or better still, any subject you desire to read on. Without a goal, you’d start reading books and drop them after reading only a few pages. I mentioned in my article on Goals the need to prepare for where you want to get to. One of the most effective ways of preparing is reading. Read on topics you need knowledge about from Spiritual to academic to career or business. Have a subject area you desire knowledge about and gather as many good books as you can on it. Read various books from different authors until you’ve gathered enough information before you move on to another area of interest.
2. Keep track of your reading
Have a log for recording titles of books you’ve read, authors, the start and finish dates, and probably short notes on the books you’ve finished. As this list builds up, you’ll be happy seeing how many books you’ve been able to read and this will motivate you to read more.
3. Build a library
Most people don’t see the need to buy a book if they are not ready to read it immediately. There’s nothing wrong with having a number of books you’ve never read. What do you do when you urgently need information on a particular subject but you can’t find a book to buy on it. So buy good books when you come across them before they become extinct or even more expensive. Invest in developing your mind. Buy books and keep them. You can also keep a digital library. Whenever you need information on a topic, you can just check your library for a book on it.
4. Have a list
Have a journal for recording the titles of books you hear about or people recommend to you. When you get the chance, buy them and keep them for when you’d need them.
5. Have a set time for reading
Have a set time for reading. If you can’t read for about 30 minutes straight, you can read three times within the day for 10 minutes each. You can start reading only a few pages at a sitting. With time, you can increase the number of pages you read. Know that, to develop a reading habit, just like any habit, you must be consistent.
6. Read for understanding
Most people read to prove a point or to tell others they’ve read so many books. But that really isn’t the point. Take your time to really understand the message being communicated by the author. Make notes as you read, highlight important points, make plans of action, put down the ideas you get; that is the point of reading!
7. Get rid of distractions
Get rid of anything that could distract you during your reading times. Get a quiet place for your reading times. If you are reading a hardcopy book, you can put your phone and laptop away till you are done. Put off the TV and get away from all the noise. Get a comfortable chair and have all you’ll need within your reach so you don’t have to keep getting up.
8. Get a reading partner
Reading with a friend can be fun. If you are finding it difficult to read consistently, get a partner with similar interests and goals and read books together. You can have discussions at the end of each day. The accountability this affords will help you greatly with your reading.
9. Always carry a book
One of the major excuses given by people who don’t read is that they don’t have time. Nobody has! You make time for whatever is important to you. Even better, each day there’s a little time that slips by without it being used for anything productive. Make use of those times. As you commute to work in a bus, read. As you wait for a meeting, read. As you microwave your food after work, read. You’ll be surprised how many pages you are able to cover during your downtime.
Make a personal commitment to read everyday. You’ll never regret you did. Apply these reading hacks, they’ll work wonders for you!
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