I outlined this post a few weeks ago but stopped without finishing it. My impostor syndrome crept in and reminded me of the superficiality of my views: what do I have to offer on this topic?
But I do! I do! I do because I went from hardly reading any books other than school requirements to enjoying reading so much that I will pick up a book whenever I have time. Aha…I am a happy avid reader!
There are things I consciously did that helped me become who I am now. If sharing them would help those who have every bit of intention of reading more but are struggling a bit, I should share.
So here we go — how to (happily) read more.
Don’t finish every book
You don’t need to finish every book you read, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t (other than academic books). In fact, it was my misbelief that I needed to that threw me off my reading habit on my first couple of tries. I came across a book I didn’t like, I dreaded finishing it but I had to finish that one to move on to the next one, so I stopped reading altogether.
You are not going to learn from every book you read. You are not going to like every book you read. If you like everything you read, I can’t take you that seriously. If you’ve learned one thing from a book, you’ve got your money’s worth even without finishing it.
To not waste money through, you can read the first few pages on Amazon before buying or get recommendations from people with similar interests to you.
A couple of pages every day
Like exercise, you need to get moving regularly to form the habit. Like exercise, we tend to say we don’t have time for it, but can honestly squeeze out time if we want to.
I found reading at least a couple of pages every day, whenever I have the time, is extremely helpful to form the reading habit. It will train your brain to crave reading; so eventually reading becomes a natural part of your day, and you don’t need to make extra effort to reach for books.
Mix it up — one for every mood
If you have a full-time job or have other things you spend the majority of your time on during the day, it’s often hard to focus and read a ‘serious’ book after a day’s work. During the weekend, however, you tend to be more focused to be able to learn something new.
Depending on your mood or energy, your book preference is likely to change from day to day; and you should tailor what you read to that, instead of forcing a book on yourself at the risk of stop reading altogether.
To make sure I still read something every day, I usually have 2–3 books started at the same time. During the weekend, I usually read non-fiction or more technical books. During weekdays, if I can, I prefer fiction or memoir to take my mind somewhere else at the end of the day.
Share what you’ve learned
Sharing is a great way to record what you’ve read, to gauge your personal growth through reading, to spark conversations, and to form communities.
Regularly sharing things you’ve learned from books through posts or videos online or offline can create a virtuous cycle, a positive feedback loop, to make you keep reading:
Reading is a seductive, sometimes tiring, but mostly-rewarding experience for me. I’ve traveled through time and space to witness history and experience different lives; I’ve ‘magically’ come up with ideas at work; I’ve gained a more profound understanding of myself and the world I live in.
I hope my tips and tricks can help you read more, happily.