Spending time reading daily sounds scary, especially when we’re used to staying glued to our screen for several hours in one go. But at the same time, you don’t have to read for 2-3 hours straight just to say you managed to develop reading habits.
Most of the time, integrating 30 minutes into your morning or night routine is more than enough to figure out how to develop a reading habit.
Besides, cultivating a reading habit feels like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone. On the one hand, you’ll do a relaxing and funny activity in your spare time. On the other hand, you’ll become more knowledgeable and creative.
Good reading habits should be healthy and realistic. And the truth is that only you know how much you should be reading, or what the reading routine that serves you best looks like.
When you plan on developing a habit of reading, try to consider other things like:
- How much should you read daily?
- When can you find time to do it?
- What books can help you keep up the momentum?
But first, let’s start at the very beginning!
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How to make reading a habit?
Whether you decide it’s time for a change of pace or you want to build habits from 0, there are some tips you should keep in mind:
1. Understand what habits actually are
A habit is defined as a type of behavior, action, or series of actions we tend to perform with a certain level of automatism. They are things we do without putting much thought into them, they are part of our daily routines, actions we perform simply because they have become second nature.
You don’t put much thought into taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Why should reading, which is an activity that is at least as rewarding, necessary, and beneficial, be any different? The short answer: it shouldn’t.
To achieve this, the first thing for you to do is to simply understand what habits are and how they are formed. Granted, good habits are a lot more difficult to acquire than negative ones, but with the right mindset and a solid strategic approach, you can achieve anything. Acknowledge your desire to become a better reader. Acknowledge the motivation behind your intention of making reading a daily habit. Embrace your motivation and use it as fuel for creating this new habit.
As soon as you have a good understanding of habits in general and the psychological mechanisms behind them, it will be a lot easier for you to draw a map for your journey toward healthy reading habits. Make a plan, set milestones, and celebrate every minute of this process, it is one of the best things you will ever do for yourself.
2. Figure Out When You Like to Read
The truth is that there is no such thing as “the best time to read”. According to one’s schedule, spare time, routines, and daily activities – the best reading time differs from one person to another.
Researchers say that reading in the morning is the best time because it wakes you up and stimulates your mind. Waking up and doing your tasks might seem a bit too sudden, so having time for yourself will make you more productive. Reading in the morning will give you that energy boost to keep you going for the entire day.
3. Set a Daily “X-minutes Rule”
If you aim for a certain number of minutes to read per day, you’ll make constant progress and you won’t be tempted to break your habit. Of course, if you’re pressed for time, going for a longer time per session might be a better idea.
To help you with this, Basmo lets you know how many minutes per day you should read if you want to finish your yearly book goals.
4. Time-block Your Reading Session
The best tip to read efficiently is to set a target of how many hours you’d like to read per day.
Don’t set the bar too high, but don’t keep it too low either – balance is everything. Time-block your reading sessions so you’ll feel comfortable with your target and reach it every day. For instance, 7 hours might be too long, and sticking to the plan till the end might be harder than expected.
With Basmo, you can always adjust the time you want to spend reading:
- Just log into the app.
- Tap on the Goals section you see at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap right on the Adjust Goal text from the My Daily Goal section and insert whatever number of minutes makes you comfortable and excited for your reading habits.
5. Consistency is Key
Reading a book for 2 hours on your first day and then ignoring it for another 5 days isn’t an ideal reading habit. Instead of going for long, hard-to-attain reading sessions, plan smaller ones.
For example, 30 minutes per day doesn’t seem like much, but being consistent about those 30 minutes counts more in the long run than 2 hours once in a while.
You can use Basmo to set daily reading reminders to remember your reading goals.
6. Use reading lists
Continuity is of the essence when it comes to creating good reading habits. Just like working out or dieting, everything goes well as long as you maintain good momentum. A small break, an interruption, or a couple of missed workouts are going to be enough to disrupt the habit and bring you back to your old ways.
Reading habits are quite similar. If you start wasting time between books simply wondering what to read next, for example, there’s a good chance you will lose momentum and you might find it hard to start reading again after a long break.
In the interest of maintaining your good reading habits and not losing momentum, we strongly recommend always having updated and curated reading lists. Having a TBR list you never manage to exhaust is going to reduce the time you spend between books.
The best way for you to create and manage your reading lists is with the Basmo app. Our reading tracking app comes with a clever and highly customizable reading list feature. It encourages you to create as many reading lists as you want or to simply use the readily created ones. Populating and updating them is extremely easy and facile.
7. Limit Your Distractions
Another thing to help you with making a habit of reading books is to stay away from your phone when you read. And being distracted by your phone because you have to let your tracking reading app open while you’re reading sounds like the ultimate recipe for failure.
Basmo knows that limiting your screen time is the key to better productivity. Once you start your reading session, you can close your phone. But don’t worry – the app will still run in the background so you’ll still log accurate reading times whenever you want.
8. Reflect on What You Read
Make time to reflect on what you’ve just read. Did a paragraph make you feel a certain way? Do you disagree with something that a character did or said? Did a book change your way of thinking?
Don’t let these questions and feelings disappear! Note them down and save these ideas for later conversations with your friends.
With Basmo you can track your emotions and rephrase those intriguing ideas with your own words: how a character talked, the narrative perspective, what made the author say certain things, and so on.
9. Take Notes While Reading
Taking notes is a great way to remember the information you read in a book, and have only the most interesting quotes or paragraphs at your fingertips.
Taking notes while reading is a great way to go deeper into the experience. You will comprehend and retain more information while reading and taking notes because the brain will need to go through a much more complex process while you write down the information you want to remember. Becoming aware of the newly gathered knowledge will certainly give you a great deal of satisfaction.
The more you see how much reading improves your mental abilities and general knowledge, the more you will want to keep doing it. You will become aware of the positive results reading has on your brain and you will feel smarter and more accomplished. This will give you a sometimes much-needed boost to stay motivated and to maintain or even improve your reading habits.
With Basmo, you can write down notes, scan, screenshot, and take pics of your favorite pages from a book. Yes, these are some additional perks to using Basmo as a reading habit tracker.
And the steps are really simple too:
- You log into your Basmo account.
- Tap on the + button to add the book you’re currently reading.
- Tap on the Start Session button.
- When you find something interesting, tap on the Scan Page button.
- Here, you have the option to either save the page as a picture or only the text.
- Choose what you want and enjoy your reading!
10. Switch it up – try new things
If you’re wondering how to develop a reading habit, one key aspect of the process is to make it interesting. Yes, routines can have a positive effect on our mental state and general well-being, but they can also become rather boring after a while. We have a tendency to seek excitement from time to time in all kinds of different aspects of our lives and reading is no exception. Reading the same genre can work well for a while, but at some point, you are likely to feel like you need something else.
Granted, it has a lot to do with each individual’s personality, as some will be perfectly happy sticking to the same routine for years. Just like watching the same TV show over and over again has a calming effect on people with anxiety because they already know what is going to happen and find comfort in that, reading the same kind of book all time can be soothing for some.
But the majority of people will feel the need to switch things up from time to time in their book reading habits. That is perfectly normal and it is something that you should generally embrace. If you want your good reading habits to last a lifetime, you will need to learn to allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time and try new things.
11. Always have books on-hand
The process of integrating good habits into your life is quite similar to the process of removing bad ones to a certain extent. While part of the effort to remove nasty habits relies on the “out of sight out of mind” concept, the exact opposite happens when trying to introduce good ones into your routine.
For example, if you want to eat less junk food, one of the first things you should be doing is removing the food ordering apps from your phone. If you want to snack less often, you shouldn’t keep your sweets and crackers in plain sight. Instead, they should either be in a drawer or out of your house completely.
By that logic, healthy habits should be encouraged by making them as accessible as possible. If you want to exercise more, you should never store your bike in a place where it’s hard for you to see it, reach it, and take it out. If you want to use that treadmill you bought as part of last year’s new year resolution to be more fit, you should never move it out of the way.
It’s the same way with books and reading. If you want to read more, you should always have a book within reach. Having a book close to you at all times will make it a lot easier for you to create healthy reading habits simply because it will require a lot less effort than it would if your book would be stored away on a bookshelf.
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Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time.
12. Be mindful of your reading
Living a mindful lifestyle and embracing the concept of living in the moment is a great idea in general. When it comes to reading, things are no different. Mindful reading means constantly being aware of your feelings, your performance, and your habits. This is generally a great first step in improving yourself.
Understanding what influences your reading performance, knowing your likes and dislikes, and even more importantly, learning what increases and decreases your productivity or efficiency is going to completely revamp your reading habits.
13. Keep a log of your reading
Reading is a good habit, there is no question about that. Making reading a habit can be challenging in the fast-paced lives we live. That is why part of your efforts of maintaining this habit should be constantly being aware of your progress.
Knowing how much you read, how often, and how efficiently can have a serious impact on how you develop the reading habits you want to implement in your daily routine. First of all, keeping a reading log can help by providing you with important information about the things you can do to improve. Secondly, the pride you take in your list of books you read for example can keep you motivated to continue.
With Basmo, all the necessary information about your reading habits gets automatically calculated and stored within the app. Basmo is ultimately a reading tracking app and it does exactly that: it tracks the books you read, the number of pages you go through within a reading session, the time you spend reading, calculates your reading speed, and shows you how close you are to your own reading goals.
Whether you want to use the already built-in functionalities to generate reports about your reading habits or you prefer to keep a reading journal where you can manually input all the data that is relevant to you about your reading habits, Basmo has got you covered.
14. Join a book club
Being part of a book club has a series of benefits for your reading habits. As you know, book clubs come with specific rules all members need to follow in order to hold on to their memberships. One thing that is amazing about book clubs is that all members will need to read a specific book within a given timeframe. From one book meeting to another, you are going to need to read the next book on the list so that you can join the meeting and the discussion.
That way, if you are worried about your ability to maintain a reading habit without any outside motivation, book clubs can be a great way to get an incentive.
15. Read more books at once
What are reading habits good for? Well, besides the health benefits of reading every day, the one thing you will definitely achieve by getting into the habit of reading is the fact that you will read more.
As I mentioned before, accessibility and maintaining good momentum are critical for your reading habit. In the interest of not wasting any time, we strongly recommend you to not limit yourself to reading a single book at once.
Sometimes you need to understand what each environment is suitable for. Your commute to work can be a great opportunity to do some light reading or listen to an audiobook. Your lunch break at work can be another time when reading something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration would be a great idea. Having and using your reading corner at home is the best place to do some active reading. Adapt to your environment and this is going to allow you to easily figure out how to read more and how to maintain your reading habits alive.
16. Adjust your routine and use the association game
The best and easiest way to force healthy habits upon yourself is to associate them with things that are already a part of your daily routine. You drink coffee every day right? You eat every day. You go to bed every day. So, how to make reading a habit? You pair it with some of the activities that are already a part of your daily life.
For example, you can set a rule for yourself to always do some reading while enjoying your morning coffee. That is already a time slot in your day that is allocated to an activity that brings you joy and satisfaction. Use that time slot to squeeze in some reading and associate the habit of reading with the pleasure of having your morning cup of coffee.
Similarly, you can integrate the reading habit into your bedtime routine. You do spend some time laying in bed every night before falling asleep. Maybe you watch some TV or do some daydreaming. Replace that with reading a couple of pages before you fall asleep. That way, you enjoy better sleep, you will get more rest, and you will also create a healthy reading habit.
Do you spend two hours every day commuting to and from work on a train? Instead of looking out the window or scrolling through social media posts on your phone, read a book. It really can be that easy.
17. Stop reading books you hate
Sometimes what stands between us and healthy reading habits is, surprisingly, our desire to become better readers. More often than not, we find ourselves struggling to finish a book that brings us no joy just because we somehow have this idea that giving up on a book we don’t like is going to have a negative impact on our reading habits.
As a matter of fact, this misconception is the exact opposite of what reality shows us. Forcing ourselves to read books we don’t enjoy will slow us down, will make us read less, and will (potentially) discourage us from maintaining our reading habits. Getting rid of bad reading habits like this is quite important.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should give up on every book we don’t like after reading just one or two pages. Every book deserves a real chance. But if we give it our best and we still don’t find any beauty or interest in it, it is a lot healthier to give it up and try the next one on the list.
18. Join a reading challenge for motivation
Getting into the habit of reading books can be challenging, especially at first. You will need clear and strong motivation to go through all the changes that will need to happen in your daily routine to adjust to the new habit you want to introduce.
Sometimes that means finding the motivation within you and setting clear reading goals. That is something Basmo can help with. Our reading tracking app works well as a reading habit app to a certain extent. That’s because it can help you set clear and manageable reading goals. You can select a daily goal for the number of minutes you read every day or a big-picture goal for the number of books you read within a year. The app will track your progress toward meeting these goals through nice graphs and this can be a great incentive to work hard and reach them.
Alternatively, you can use a reading challenge as a way to push yourself forward toward healthy reading habits. Reading challenges are generally well-organized learning and reading competitions in which participants need to read a certain number of books (usually a predefined list of books) within a particular time frame. That can be a fun and efficient incentive whenever you feel like your motivation to maintain your reading habits is starting to fade.
19. Have a reading buddy
Your support system for becoming the ultimate reader and having healthy reading habits that last you a lifetime can be, as too-good-to-be-true as it may sound, one of your friends. Having a reading buddy, a friend or a family member who shares your interest in reading and making it a daily habit can help tremendously. You get someone to share your struggle with, someone you can bounce ideas off of, someone you can discuss books with, and ultimately, someone to push you in the right direction when the going gets tough.
You and your reading buddy can share experiences and ideas, you can experiment with new things together, and you can even challenge each other to read more.
20. Prioritize your activities throughout the day
The kind of reader you become is the result of a series of decisions you make throughout every single day. Enforcing healthy reading habits onto yourself will imply making significant changes in your daily routine and will require you to put more thought into how you spend your time.
Becoming a more dedicated reader and enjoying all the benefits this can have for you is no easy task, especially if we consider how hectic our lives have become and how many distractions surround us every day. That is why part of your effort to implement healthy reading habits in your life is going to be constantly wondering “is this really the best way to spend my time?”.
Sometimes watching TV may seem like a relaxing way to spend an evening. It requires no effort, you don’t need to focus, and it seems to take away some of the stress and tension you accumulate throughout the day. The hard truth is that reading a book is actually a lot more relaxing than watching TV and has a much stronger effect on relieving stress.
We tend to spend a lot of time looking at our phones every single day. Every now and then, ask yourself “what do I stand to gain from watching this 5-minute video of a cat?”. As soon as that question pops into your head, you will realize that those 5 minutes would bring you a lot more benefits when spent reading.
Prioritize reading over other forms of entertainment. It is imperative for you to realize as early in the process of developing your reading habits as possible that the more you read, the easier it will be for you to get used to having this activity as part of your daily routine. The more you read, the more you will feel the need to keep reading.
Cultivating a reading habit is a daily practice, and with a little help from some tools and apps, you’ll be motivated to read more. Keeping a list of all the books you’ve read and all the books you’d like to read gives you that certain sense of accomplishment.
Besides, you can even share the books you’re reading on social media so you can connect with people with the same hobby as you and discuss the books later! After all, talking about what you read plays a big role in cultivating a daily reading habit. Once you’ve found the right people to talk with about the books you’re reading, you’ll be more motivated to read.
Sharing interesting ideas, quotes, or reading notes with other people passionate about books will help you absorb a lot of information and inspire you to keep your reading habit.
And like any other habit, don’t forget to go easy on yourself – skipping one day doesn’t mean you’re back to square one!
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