“I want to read more this year.”
How many times have we made that a goal, but watched instead as it got swallowed up by holidays, work, and the busyness of day-to-day life?
Not everyone inherently loves reading and even those that do sometimes struggle to find the time. If you keep looking for the time, however, you won’t find it; unless you make the time to read, a book won’t magically appear in your hands, your eyes soaking up the ink printed on each page.
I’m no psychologist, but changing your attitude towards reading and carving out the time to sit down with a book is something that can be done. Just like you can create habits of healthy eating and exercise, you can also create a habit of reading. A reading ritual, if you will. Because let’s face it: if you don’t enjoy doing something, you’re not going to want to do it at all.
Here are my tips for creating a reading ritual that makes you want to pick up a book and read!
- Make time for reading. Reading time will never magically present itself to you; you have to seek it out. You don’t need to set aside an astronomically large portion of time to read, especially right off the bat, but choose a time and place to read and stick with it. Set aside 10 minutes before bed or with your morning coffee to shut everything else off and spend some quality time with a book.
- Associate it with something you enjoy. If you’re not someone who naturally enjoys reading, link it to something that you do love. Give yourself a small square of chocolate when you sit down to read a book. Light a candle with a particularly pleasant smell. Make that thing The Reading Thing. No book, no nice-smelling candle. No extra chocolate piece. Personally, I love hot beverages, so sitting down with a cup of hot tea or coffee and a book is something I look forward to. (I’d argue that making reading enjoyable and making reading special are two different things. Think about elementary school reading time: the kids all know where to go, what to do. There’s an air of magic that’s exciting, that gets them eager to read. The lights are out. Some lanterns or candles are lit. They get to sit on the floor!)
- Pick a book you like. It doesn’t do you any good if you’re dreading the book you’re reading. Don’t be afraid to swap out a book you’re not feeling for a different one. Maybe the put-down is temporary (I’m all for reading what I’m in the mood for that particular day!) or maybe it’s permanent. Whatever it is, if it’s not a book you want to read, you won’t want to read. Pretty simple, no?
How do you keep yourself accountable to your books and make reading a little more enjoyable?
*Again, I’m no psychologist or the like. I’m fairly confident, however, that opening up a book in a comfortable chair won’t cause you any negative ailments.