Most of us had to read a lot while growing up. Often, these books were forced on us and were rarely something that we enjoyed. Slowly, we began to see reading as something boring, something we were forced to do in our English classes. But reading doesn’t have to be boring. If you read the right things, it can be a fun way to learn and maybe, change your life.
Let’s have a look at why you should read and how you can begin to read more books.
The benefits of reading books
Reading books has many benefits that can improve your life. Some of the benefits include.
You get smarter
When you read, you learn new things, no matter what you’re reading. You get ideas and thoughts from the author. If you can find non-fiction books that you enjoy, the amount of knowledge you can collect is almost endless.
Through books, you can learn about psychology, philosophy, business, economics, health, and many other subjects that can help you improve yourself and live a better life.
You get a break from screens
We spend far too much time looking at screens. We work on computers, find “connection” through phones, and relaxation and entertainment from TVs. This overuse of our devices is so common that we see it as normal. Everybody does it, so it can’t be that bad, right?
Using screens has been proven to negatively affect concentration, memory, ability to process information, and impulse control. In other words, overusing screens can make you have a hard time learning, creating anything of value, and saying no to instant gratification.
Most people pick up their phones when bored. Reading provides an alternative way to spend that time. An alternative that makes you better, not worse.
You reduce stress and sleep better
When you read a good book, you’ll enter a flow state. Nothing else matters, and your mind will only be focused on the present moment. This presence can help you reduce stress and get better sleep. Many find that reading before going to sleep is a great way to calm down.
You might not enter this flow state the first, the second, or even the third time you read. But, over time, as you get used to reading and find genres and subjects that you like, it will come easier, and the benefits will become more noticeable.
How many pages should you read a day?
When people start reading books, they tend to focus too much on how many pages they should read a day. One page in book A might take 1 minute to read, while one page in book B might take 3 minutes. While reading 20 pages in book A would take 20 minutes, it would take 1 hour in book B. But the length of the pages isn’t the only reason why you can’t find an exact number of pages that proves optimal.
If you wonder how many pages you should read every day, you most likely aren’t into the habit of reading yet. And that brings us to the second issue.
When we start on something new, we want to get the benefits of it as fast as possible. So, we find the optimal way to do it, overdo it, and then stop because it was too much too soon.
Instead of focusing on how much you should read, you should focus on how much you can read. How much you want to read. The most important thing isn’t how much you do something but that you can stick with it. It’s better to read 5 pages every day than 30 pages once a week or no pages at all.
Related: Habit myths
How to read more books
Let’s have a look at 9 things you can do to read more books.
Related: How to build good habits
It might be tempting to set an ambitious goal for yourself when starting to read. But doing so will increase the chance of you failing. When you do something new, it doesn’t matter how much you do, but that you actually do it.
To create the habit of reading, you can begin by reading at least one page every day. You don’t have to read more than that, but if you want to, you can.
If you expect yourself to read a chapter, you know it will take a while to finish, and it’s difficult to start. When you know that you just have to read one page, you know that it will be fast and it’s much easier to begin. Most days, you’ll end up reading more than one page, but on the days you don’t, you kept the streak alive. You still created success for yourself
Related: How one habit can change your life
Read books you enjoy
If you look for books, it’s easy to find lists of books “You have to read.” And it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that these books are the best or most helpful there is out there. That if you don’t like them, it’s because you don’t enjoy reading.
Sure, you can find great books on these lists, but they should be used as suggestions, not commands. Just because someone else liked it or found it helpful doesn’t mean you’ll see it the same way.
An easy way to read more books is to read books YOU enjoy, and don’t be scared of stopping one if it turns out not to be worth your time.
Related: Identity-based habits
Place it after another habit
A simple way of creating a habit is to place the behavior you want after a habit you already have. This works with many things, reading included. This method is called habit stacking.
If you want to read in the evening, you can start doing it after doing the dishes or finishing an episode of whatever show you’re watching. If you want to do it in the morning, you can do it after eating breakfast or brushing your teeth. The possibilities of this method are only limited by your current habits and imagination.
Related: Create an overview of your habits
Don’t see reading as a chore
Sometimes when we try to do more of something, it can begin to seem like a chore. And once this feeling begins, it can be difficult to shake.
One way of avoiding this is to see reading as something you get to do, not something you have to do. This small shift in your perspective can make reading more enjoyable, and you’ll be able to read more books.
Leave a book somewhere you’ll see it
An easy way to read more is to leave your book somewhere you can’t avoid seeing. This can be at your desk or nightstand.
When you see the book, you’ll be reminded that reading is a possibility. This is especially helpful on busy days when your mind is somewhere else.
Join/start a book club
We are social animals, and if we’re around people who do a specific thing, we are more likely to do the same thing. You can use this social pull to help you read more books.
Maybe you have friends who want to start reading. Together with them, you can take turns picking a book or maybe make a shared list on Goodreads. Every month (Or how long you need), you can read one book. After each, you book you can meet up and discuss it. This way, you are holding each other accountable, and you get a nice reward in the end. To spend some time with your friends.
Another option is to find a book club in your area. This can be a bit more tricky. Try to search Google, Facebook, or if you have relevant apps in your area.
Whether you decide to start or join a book club, it can help you read more books. And maybe, even connect with people who have the same interest.
Make reading more comfortable
The more comfortable you can make reading, the more likely it is you’ll read more. Find a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed. Wear something comfortable and allow yourself to relax.
Track your efforts
A great way to stick to a habit is to track it. To track how many days you did the behavior. You can use a habit tracker for this.
A habit tracker is a simple tool where you can note every time you did the desired behavior. You can do it in a notebook, a calendar, on your phone, or somewhere where it’s convenient for you.
As you track the habit and slowly build a streak, it will be harder to forget about the habit or skip it. It will be easier to stick with reading.
Related: Learn to celebrate small progress
Reading is one of the best habits you can create. It can help you learn new things, get a break from screens, have less stress, and better sleep.
There is no optimal number of pages that you should read every day. The thing that matters is that you do read.
9 ways for you to read more books are: start small, read books you enjoy, place it after another habit, don’t see it as a chore, leave a book somewhere you’ll see it, join/start a book club, make reading more comfortable, and tracking your efforts.
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