Escaping into a good book is a mindful indulgence for your brain, heart and soul. Whether you prefer historical fiction, true stories, romantic novels, comedic escapades or features in the daily newspaper, reading strengthens your memory, challenges your thinking and, according to the experts at HealthFitnessRevolution.com, “expands your vocabulary, sharpens writing skills, hones critical and analytical skills, reduces stress and boosts concentration.”
Plus, it’s entertaining. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll wonder—all from the comfort of your home or favorite reading nook or as a way to maximize your daily commute. To get in the habit of reading or to improve your existing bookish ways, consider the following tips.
Set a goal
To be a more dedicated reader, you have to think like a dedicated reader, which means setting goals. According to Huffington Post writer Laiza King, a goal can be as simple as reading a certain number of books per year or per month. If setting a yearly or monthly reading goal is too broad for you, set a page quota each day, suggests King.
“Consider setting aside at least 10-20 pages per day to read, especially if you have a busy schedule. This process will help you stay focused as you look forward to accomplishing your daily goal of a specific number of pages,” writes King.
Another way to set a goal is to designate a time of day to the task. For example, reading before work or at bedtime will help integrate the activity into your daily routine. A set time limit each day—even just 15 minutes—will strengthen your reading habit.
Cultivate a reading list
Nothing will drain the fun out of reading more than adhering to books you think you should read instead of books you want to read, according to IdealistMom.com blogger and author Kelly Holmes. If you are unsure of where to start, mine recommendations from your friends, family and colleagues; head to your library and seek advice from the librarians; or take Holmes’ advice and source online reviews from sites like Goodreads.com.
Connect with fellow bookworms
Being accountable to another person or group is a great incentive to keep your reading habit on track. King suggests finding a reading partner who can champion your reading goals.
According to Holmes, “There’s nothing like peer pressure to get you to do something. Book clubs give you that, and they also impose deadlines.”
Investing in a new habit or trying to dedicate more time to an existing habit requires focus, time and effort. And, if you don’t track your time and effort, you’re likely to feel that you’re not making any progress and quickly abandon your reading habit, according to Holmes.
She suggests tracking your reading accomplishments on a spreadsheet or using Goodreads.com to record the books you’ve read as well as notes about the material.
Reading is a thoughtful way to be good to yourself; with these suggestions you will make reading a vital part of your life.