How To Create A Positive Habit Of Reading?

Read a book not because you have to, just because you gain a lot.

Every year I‘ve used to set a “New Year resolution” to read at least ten books a year. Seems a reasonable resolution, but it has been challenging to keep up with it.

2020 was no exception.

With everyday hustle and bustle, on top of this long hour spent on social media and Netflix, this mission stayed frozen.

Everything has changed when the global health crisis got all of us off the guard. Now I had a new reality to deal with.

Remote working, hour-long Zoom calls, increasing Netflix time, and negative information filling out my mind has negatively impacted my professional growth.

I realized that this was not going to work anymore. I needed to do something different to hold up my professional growth while in lockdown.

It was the time to make some serious daily behavioral changes.

I’ve decided that ‘reading’ should be NUMBER ONE change.

But, how to make I start reading. Focusing and finding the time to read have always been a real challenge for me.

I’ve created the combination of the right actions that can trigger the reading habit— “I love what I’m doing,” “I want to do what I’m doing” and “I’m consistent with what I’m doing.”

Here are 6 tips on how I was able to build a positive habit of reading:

Treat books like an investment

Books probably one of the most important investments in our lives that we are not serious about.

We invest in clothes, cars, houses, trips, stocks, anything that lost its value in due time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends about $3,000 a year dining out, while the average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually.

No one will argue that food and clothes are important for our existence. We need to eat, go out and dress up.

But, we are perfectly fine to pay hundreds of dollars for cloth that lose value the moment you bought them and to eat in restaurants where most of the time serve unhealthy food.

But, books stay out of our shopping list.

Neither restaurants nor clothes add any long-term value to our lives.

Instead, with every book you buy, you put another brick in you house of professional growth, career success, and wellness. Books are a long-term investment that can create a higher positive return in a time.

For example, I set up a special budget for my monthly spending. Reducing my spending on clothing by $25–30 a month, I’ve started investing that money into buying books.

Set up a goal

You do not need to follow one of these people on LinkedIn claiming that you need to read 30 books a year, to be successful.

Set up your own goals and your own pathway to success.

You rather finish one book that is enjoyable for you, than 5 books you hated to read.

Set achievable and realistic goals. If you have limited time for yourself at this stage of your life, set up a book number that will perfectly fit with your schedule.

Don’t try to compete with ‘personas’ on social media; stay truthful to your mission.

For myself, I set a goal to read 5 books in 2020. To keep my interest and focus, I pick two different types of books at the same time. Jumping from how to think positively to Elon Musk’s success journey; and from historian Yuval Noah Harari21 Lessons for the 21st Century to Talk Like Ted, I keep my pace in the right direction.

Design an environment that triggers positive actions

The author of “Atomic Habits” James Clear in his book explains how designing your own positive environment helps to trigger certain actions. “Surrounding our environment with things that we want to do, can trigger certain actions at a certain time.”

That’s true.

When you buy a book, make it visible for you. Stop hiding them somewhere in the bookshelves that you don’t even see.

Put those books in a place that can be visible for you wherever you turn in your house.

From my living room to the kitchen I have books everywhere. No matter where I turn around in my house I see those attractive tittles that instantly grab my attention.

20 Minute Rule

In today's busy and information-overwhelmed world it’s very difficult to keep your focus on something for a long time.

I think social media brings a lot of distraction from more important things, making us vulnerable against consistency.

Consistency makes us stronger in the process of positive habit development.

Use the method of 20 Minute Rule of Reading.”

Establish the time when you possibly would have at least 20 minutes to read during the day. Also, pick a specific place in your house, where you would like to read that book.

Try to keep this action for at least 21 days. After you will notice that your mussel memory dictates you to grab the book and read it.

Power of small sacrifices

— Once Bela Karolyi, the most successful coach in the history of gymnastics who has produced 28 Olympians, 9 Olympic champions, 15 world champions, 16 European medalists, and 6 U.S. national champions in his coaching career said, “Success depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice, how much you are willing to alter your everyday life for a particular goal.”

Do we really have no time to read books? Or it’s something else, like social media or Netflix?

An average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media and 10 hours per week on Netflix. This means an average we spend 40 hours watching TV, and another 62 hours —on social media.

So, let’s stop saying there is no time to read books.

It’s more about our choices what we want to spend the time available.

Reducing the time spent on social media on Netflix to read a book, is the least sacrify we can do.

Share with us what are some of the tactics you’ve been using to establish your own positive habit of reading.

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Narine Emdjian

Founder at iFundLab/Podcast Host. I helping startups to raise capital through SBIR and other federal funding programs. without equity dilution