I've always considered reading to be a very fruitful hobby. It's more than mere entertainment, it's enriching. As a kid, I would always accompany my mother to our local library and find so much content in browsing through the bookshelves and grabbing myself a nice read. That's how I've spent most of my summer afternoons.
As I've grown up however, my relationship with reading has been a little rocky. And I'm guessing that comes with adulthood. A lot of us struggle to keep up with our hobbies.
Throughout my years in college, my reading graph has undergone numerous ups and downs. And during this quarantine period, I thought that I should focus on creating a consistent and realistic reading routine that I can imbibe in my lifestyle for a long term. If you’ve been looking for getting into reading or getting 'back' into reading here are my top tips for doing it the right way.
1. Be realistic about it
I have struggled with this in the past. We as readers don't have a universal pace when it comes to books. Based on our preferences we're bound to finish some books faster than others depending on how easy they are to understand, what genre they belong to and such other factors. It is important that we keep this in mind while setting a reading goal for ourselves.
2. Form a system, not an end goal
When deciding on your reading habits, decide what you want to accomplish based on your routine. Instead of aiming to complete 2 books a month, aim for reading 20 mins a day. Maybe you'll end up reading more or less than those 2 books, but you'll more likely end up with a habit that has been imbibed into your routine. This relates to point 1 of being realistic as well.
3. Start off easy
The best way to form or resume a habit is to ease yourself into it. For example, I know that I'm more likely to continue a fiction rather than a non-fiction. So the best way for me to start is by reading a fiction book. By the time I complete it, I shall have re-established my association with reading and I'll be more likely to get through the non-fiction without losing my habit in the way.
4. Allow yourself to quit books
There's no such rule that you HAVE to finish a book once you've started it. If you are not enjoying what you are reading, you are allowed to hop on to the next one. A lot of times, when we are stuck in a book, we give up reading all together and the habit simply vanishes from your routine. Instead of doing that, try giving up on that book and start a new one. Who knows? Somewhere along the line, you might even want to pick up where you left off.
5. Surround yourself with other readers
Having close friends who read more than I do has been such a blessing for me in terms of reading. They always have good recommendations for you and they help you stay on track with your reading. If you don't have people in your close circles who are readers, seek out people in your life - family, friends, friends of friends. Try joining an online bookclub ( there are so many!) to surround yourself with readers and stay inspired.
6. It’s not a competition
Compared to a lot of my friends, I'm kind of a slow reader. (Like I mentioned earlier, this pace differs from book to book) But it's important to not view that as a fault in any way. The important thing is to keep reading. You'll pick up speed and interest eventually, that isn’t the most important part. Even if you end up reading less or slower than others, it's more important to keep up with the habit. As long as you’re doing that, you're doing a great job!
7. You don't need a POLISHED taste in reading
Read what you are attracted to! Read the genres that interest you and the authors you are moved by. You don't need to read what everyone else is reading if that is not your style. Find your own style and be proud of it. You might even have some hidden treasures in your reading list that people are completely unaware of.
8. Track your reading progress
A great way (tried, tested and recommended personally by me) is to track your reading progress. Whether you want to track your daily reading time, the number of pages you read daily, the number of books you read in a certain period or the number of genres or authors you explore is totally up to you!
Tracking your reading is a great way to remind yourself of your accomplishments and to give yourself the periodic boost of motivation to keep up with your habits.
9. Remember reading is for everyone!
It's so untrue that people who have never read books, or have disliked it so far cannot take up reading. It's a choice. Not something you are born with. Yes, surely some people have a tendency to take up reading, but you can take up reading even if you think you don’t have it! All you need is the intention to read and a book! Don't be scared to take it up. It's important that you start.
10. Take it one day at a time
Maaybbeee you forgot a day or two? It’s fine! Even though you had decided that you would read EVERYDAY and you had maintained a streak of 48 days, you forgot or couldn't find the time to read for a couple of days. It is fine. You can continue from the third day. Perfection is not important. Continuation is. And no, you don't even have to make up for the 2 days by reading for extra time on the third day. Putting all these conditions on yourself is only going to pull you away from your habit. Take it one day at a time and take it easy. Continue with your habit like nothing happened.
I hope that these 10 tips are useful for you to start or resume reading! Reading is such a great way to escape reality every once in a while, and we all could use that escape right now. Happy reading!
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