Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Too often, I come across people who want to make reading a habit in their life but are unsure of how to make it a reality. With the overwhelming presence of digital media and increasingly busy schedules, reading books—both physical and digital—has fallen by the wayside. So, if you want to read more but struggle to find time for it in your schedule, I have several strategies that can help turn you into a bibliophile once and for all.
Set a reading goal for each day.
Setting a reading goal for yourself of 10-20 pages per day is one of the easiest ways to make reading part of your schedule. It allows you to easily stick to a plan that won't take up too much of your time if you have a busy lifestyle. And if you have a bit more time or get so invested in your book that you can't stop, there's no harm in reading more. Another way you can set a reading goal is to time yourself; set a timer for 30 minutes and read as much as you can within that specific timeframe. Again, if you find yourself wanting to continue once the time is up, there's no harm in doing so.
Read in your spare time instead of playing on your phone.
In addition to wanting to read more, a lot of people also want to decrease the amount of time they spend on their cellphone. Reading instead of playing on your phone is a way to kill two birds with one stone (ouch)! When you recognize that you're aimlessly scrolling through your phone, pick up a book instead! No time is being lost here, in fact, your time may be better spent reading something of substance instead of drooling over what the celebrities wore to the latest awards show.
Bring a book with you everywhere you go.
I always keep a book tucked away in my purse anytime I leave the house. This way, if I find myself waiting at a doctor's appointment or at a restaurant, I have something readily available to occupy my time. Books are perfect for those moments where you find yourself waiting or sitting for long periods, like at the DMV, on long car rides, or on airplane rides.
Find a quiet, public place with no distractions.
The one thing that tends to deter most people from reading is the constant distractions that seem to interrupt you just when you're getting into the story you're reading. It's exhausting to start reading, get distracted, and then feeling the need to reread the entire page because you didn't retain any of the information. Finding a quiet place built for reading is a great way to combat this problem. Libraries, cozy bookstores, or even small cafes are amazing places that cater to readers—even the easily distracted ones (i.e. me). Finding an effective way of eliminating distractions is a key way in making sure you stay committed to the books you read.
Put your phone on airplane mode or leave it in another room.
If you'd rather curl up on your couch under a blanket and read, setting yourself up in a room with few distractions is the way to go. Having a buzzing phone or dinging computer nearby keeps you from getting invested in the book you're reading. Put your phone or any other distraction in another room if you can't seem to keep your hands off of them. This will help you stay focused on your reading and simply enjoy the time you have with your book.
Only read books you're truly interested in.
How many times have you been peer-pressured into reading a book only to find that it's not in a genre that you're interested in? Too often, people pick up books that The New York Times or Oprah have deemed worthy of a read only to realize that the book is definitely not something they would have picked up on their own. To make reading a habit, you have to introduce yourself to books that you truly want to read, otherwise, you'll most likely never finish them. Who cares if your favorite genre is YA romance or if you're still obsessed with everything Harry Potter?! There's no rules or regulations about who can read what. Read whatever your heart tells you to!
Make a reading list.
Creating a reading list will keep you interested and eager to finish the books and work your way down your list. My strategy is to put the books I'm most excited about in the middle of my list, that way I become more motivated to finish other books that I may be less excited to finish. Having a reading list also keeps me from being without a book once I finish my current read; once I'm done, I can simply move on to the next with no break in my reading schedule.
Join a book club.
Joining a book club is the perfect way to make reading a habit because you are surrounded by like-minded individuals who will keep you motivated to complete a book within a certain amount of time. These people will serve as your reading buddies and will hold you accountable if you slack off. It doesn't feel too good to be completely lost during a good discussion because you didn't finish the book on time. Book clubs are also a great place to introduce yourself to new genres or books that you aren't familiar with. You will never run out of titles to read because these clubs are designed to keep your reading schedule consistent.
Making the extra effort to commit to reading is challenging at first but will surely benefit you in the long run. Reading enhances your vocabulary and creativity and exposes you to many different writing styles that will no doubt influence your own if writing is something you do on a regular basis. Even if you're not a writer, reading opens your mind to new concepts and ideas, and you will find yourself more knowledgable about certain topics that you otherwise would not have been introduced to. So, make reading a habit for yourself; I promise, you will not regret it.
Let me know in the comments what books are on your reading list, and as always, subscribe for more tips, tricks, and advice!