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I truly believe that if you read more and better books, you can become a new person and your entire life can change. But how can you read more? Here’s a list of simple and useful tactics that will help you start develop the amazing habit of reading!
1. Read books you need to/want to read
You are more likely to read a book if you know that it will help you, educate you or inspire you.
I that books are like instruments – they can be very useful, if you choose the right book for the right situation.
Do you have a problem in your life? Read a book about it! If you are depressed, procrastinate too much or struggle to achieve financial independence, find a book that helps you fix your problem or achieve the desired state in your life. This way, you will be more motivated to actually read and implement what you learn. When the stakes are high, the motivation is high as well.
Maybe you don’t have such a problem in your life. If that’s the case, pick books you are interested in. Do you want to learn how to use online marketing? Or are you passionate about history? Choose books that will help you develop your skills or that match your interests. In this case too, you are more likely to read those books because you are already interested in that topic.
2. Choose good books
Not all books are equal. And I think there is a very big difference in the quality of books. Some can change the way you think and live forever. Some are probably just a waste of time. And most books are probably in between these two: they have some good ideas, but they may not be very important, practical or valuable to you at this moment.
And I think reading more books starts with the book you are reading now. If you read a book you enjoy, that is useful or inspiring, you are more likely to read another book. But if you don’t usually read and the book you pick is a disappointment, you may be put off by this for a while. So reading good books is a big part of reading more!
I think that choosing good books is a skill and it takes some time to develop it. Here are a few things I learned and started to apply.
3. Make a list of the books you want to read
It’s a good idea to keep track of the books you want to read in the future. Maybe you want to buy a few of these and keep them in your library or on your desk.
Having a TBR (to be read) list can make you more excited about reading. Knowing that there are good books that can potentially change your life is inspiring and motivating. So you are more likely to read the book you’re reading now, knowing that you have others waiting to be read and enjoyed.
Make it a habit of writing down the titles of books you want to read. You can keep it on your phone, your laptop or an agenda. Having this list also makes it easier to decide what you want to read next. It saves time and builds up anticipation which will probably make you want to read more.
Just try to keep your TBR pile small. If you have 30 books you want to read soon, this may have the opposite effect and cause you to feel stressed. So keep 3-5 books at home, but when you have over 30, maybe you need to stop buying them for a while.
4. Check out the recommendations of people you look up to
It’s always a good idea to look for recommendations, especially from people who are highly educated and well-read. For example, look at the books recommended by people like Bill Gates, Barack Obama and so on.
If you have a friend who loves to read, they’re the person you need to go to and ask for recommendations! If you know other people who strike you as intelligent and well-read, ask them for recommendations. I think people love talking about the books they enjoyed, so go ahead!
5. Stick to what you like
Are you reading a book that you love? Then look for other books that are similar: other books written by the same author, books with the same topic, about the same field or from the same genre. This is a good and easy way to find other books that suit your preferences.
6. Occasionally read a book you wouldn’t normally read
Sometimes it’s a good idea to read a different type of book: on a different topic, from a different perspective or a different genre.
For example, if you usually read non-fiction books about complicated and serious topics, maybe you’ll enjoy reading an interesting Sci-Fi novel every now and then. Or vice versa – take a break from novels and get a good non-fiction book.
If you are against ruthless capitalism, read a book that praises it and explains why capitalism is great. This will help you explore a topic from different perspectives to ensure that you have a good overview.
Maybe you won’t enjoy these randomly different books. But maybe some of these will capture your interest and help you discover a new genre or a new author. How do you know you don’t like other types of books if you’ve never read any of them?
7. Always keep a book with you or close to you
When you want to develop a new habit or simply to increase its frequency, make it easy to do so. By making sure there is always a book within reach, you increase the chances of actually reading it. And if you keep your book on your desk or somewhere you can see it a lot, this will be a visual reminder that you want to read more. Sooner or later, you’ll pick up the book and read – even if only for a few minutes.
Maybe you don’t think this will work. But I honestly think it will. What is more likely: to remember to read a book that you keep hidden away in a drawer or the one that is always in front of you? I think proximity and little friction help develop a habit much more quickly. And I can say from personal experience that it seems to be working too!
8. Listen to audiobooks
If you are like me, you probably prefer printed books – or maybe even ebooks. But in some situations, reading an actual book is hard or impossible. Luckily, in moments like these you can often listen to an audiobook.
The way I see it, the beauty of audiobooks is their practicality. You can easily listen to them while doing other tasks: walking, taking the bus, working out, cleaning or cooking. Not only does this make the activity more enjoyable, but you are also learning something new at the same time!
Simply by starting to listen to audiobooks when you can’t read, you may be able to read a few extra books every year! And if you’ve never signed up for Audible before, you can now do so and you will receive 2 audiobooks of your choice for free. All you have to do is sign up using this affiliate link and start listening to more books.
9. Create a reading routine
It’s always easier to incorporate a habit if it is part of a routine. For example, it’s easier to read if you decide to always start your day by reading 10 pages while drinking coffee. Do this for a few days in a row and this will quickly become your morning routine. After a while, you no longer need to force yourself to read – you’ll do this automatically.
One thing I learned from the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear is that it’s better to incorporate a habit by doing it immediately after another habit. For example, if you always go for a walk in the morning, it’s easier to read immediately after you get back home. This way, your brain has a cue for when to do the new action (in this case, reading). Do this for a while and then reading is also a part of your routine.
Or you can simply decide to always read for 30 minutes at 8.00 pm. Whenever you want to read, try to have something as a cue that it’s time to read: a time or an activity to signal that it’s time to read. This will make it so much easier to remember when to do this new action.
10. Set a reading goal
I think you are always more likely to do something if it’s part of a goal. This works for anything: working out, eating healthier, saving money or reading more. Setting a goal signals to your brain that this is important to you. It gives you a way to measure your progress and something to aim for.
You can set any reading goal – what matters is to have one. Maybe you want to read a book every month, read 10 books in a year or read certain books by the end of this year. Try to set a goal that is realistic for you and that makes you feel excited. If the goal is hard to achieve at the moment, this will only generate stress and have the opposite effect. So set a modest goal in the beginning. If you reach it faster than expected, set a new one! Keep track of your progress and you’ll make reading a more exciting activity.
11. Reflect on what you’re reading
Reading books is not just about reading them. It’s also about learning from them and allowing the new information to change the way you see yourself and the world around you. So in order to do this, it’s important to occasionally take some time to reflect on what you’ve read.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Just a few minutes will do. When you’ve finished reading, try to take a moment to think about the main ideas you’ve read. Was there something that seemed interesting? Was there something unexpected? Have you read anything that you want to remember? If you want to, you can also take notes. Simply take out a notebook or a diary and write down a few lines about the ideas or insights that impressed you.
Reflecting on what you read will help you take advantage of the information you are exposed to. You are more likely to remember it later on and apply it in your life. And learning new things will lead to a sense of mastery, curiosity and excitement which will probably inspire you to read more.
12. Share what you’re learning from the books you’re reading
This is also a great way to make the most of reading – for several reasons. Firstly, when you explain something to others, this is a chance for your to structure those ideas in your mind and understand them on a deeper level. And if you can’t explain them properly, this means you may need to re-read them or pay more attention in the future.
Secondly, this way you can impart the knowledge you acquire. You help others learn new and exciting things just because you have read them first. This can make your interactions with others more meaningful and you may inspire others to read more too. Not to mention that this is your chance to show off your newly-acquired knowledge which will make you feel proud of yourself (hopefully not too cocky though)!
Reading books can truly be life-changing. I honestly believe that and I wish everybody would fall in love with reading and learning as I have. And if you’re here, reading this article, I think you’re already on the right track.
If you are not used to reading a lot, it may take a while to develop this habit. But once reading is part of your life, you’ll begin to reap the benefits and see how much your mind and life can change when you are exposed to quality information. I am confident that if you apply these simple steps, it will be easier for you to start reading more and become the best version of yourself.