Three ways to cultivate a reading habit
First off, why should we even care about this? Why is reading a helpful part of being human?
Reading is one of the best ways to more fully inhabit the human experience.
Reading is like traveling, without all the fuss. When you're reading a book, it's possible to transport yourself fully into another place and time. This can be as simple as reading a novel set in the fictional world of Westeros, or it can be as serious as reading a book about the history of apartheid in South Africa. In either case, you're getting an inside look into how people lived in a different place and time, which helps you better understand the human experience.
Reading is one way to know yourself better. You might have heard that perfect strangers can know more about your personality than even your closest friends do after only five minutes of speaking with them. But if we were being honest with ourselves (and each other), we would probably admit that we don't always know our own motivations very well at all. If this sounds like something that applies to you sometimes (or often), then there are some good reasons for why this might be happening: We live in bubbles of familiarity; we fall prey to cognitive bias; our brains release dopamine for convenience (among other things); etc., etc.,.. The list goes on. That said, I believe that by reading more widely from authors across different ideological backgrounds within both fiction and non-fiction genres, we become more self-aware humans capable of making wiser decisions in the present moment while also having a higher potential for growth into the future.
Reading can make you a better creator.
As a bonus, reading can improve your own creative output. Many great writers relied on heavy reading to hone their skills and develop their voices. When you're familiar with many different styles of writing, you'll be more aware of the choices that other writers make in terms of tone and structure. This means you'll have more options to choose from when solving problems that come up during your own creative processes.
So how can you cultivate a reading habit?
1. Make it easy for you to read.
The more we remove friction from any process, the easier it is for us to do it. So if our phone is right next to us, but our book is across the room, what are we likely to do?
Make reading easy. Put your book on your night stand. Carry it with you in your bag all the time. Put your e-reader app front and center on your phone (maybe even using a large widget.) Find ways to make it easier to grab your book than anything else, and you'll find yourself reaching for it more often.
2. Make reading a part of your regular schedule.
Building a habit takes time, so give yourself a set period of time to work on it. Perhaps you plan to read before bed or after lunch. Start small: maybe read for 5 or 10 minutes. But try to commit to this regular habit. After four weeks, your developed reading habit will be a developed part of your schedule, and you'll be flying through your pile of books to read.
3. Create some social accountability.
Humans are social creatures. A great way to help yourself read more is to get yourself some sort of group or buddy that can help you stay committed. A book club can help give you a timeline you need to finish something (and you can check mine out if you want). Or talk to a friend and commit together to read a certain amount per week. You could even track it together on a habit tracker like Habitica or a reading tracker like Storygraph.
But whatever you do, have fun with it, and enjoy your reading!
Let me know if you have any other ways that you work to cultivate your reading habit. I always love to hear from you 💜
Thank you for being here 👋 I'm a queer artist who has intentionally built a life where I can work remotely and travel the world. Along the way, I'm trying to figure out how to be a good human.
I want to work together to help you create the world you want to live in. I write, make art, and create community spaces for us to to share thoughts, feelings, & opportunities for us to explore together. Being human is hard, but we can make it easier for each other. I believe in us. 💜