Preye Raymond is a leading content writer who enjoys a blend of pragmatism in his self-help topics.
In the forefront of my journal I wrote;
“Whoever says reading a book is a waste of time, wastes his or her life”.
This prompts me every morning while sipping my moringa tea to remain self-educated.
As a kid in secondary school (the Nigerian version of high school), I disliked reading. I only read when it is a few days to a quiz or exam. I wasn't always at the top of my class when the report card came out,but I still managed to scale through (don't ask me how).
Anyways, the habit of not reading grew on me, and even as a writer I still found reading a hectic chore. I was always comfortable learning through visuals or audio content. The few books I read felt forced and out of sheer motivation, that I always abandoned them halfway.
And I’m not ashamed to admit this but, the first time I actually finished a book (since birth) was in October 2021 (last month, for those reading this in November).
The book was James Clear's “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”. It literally changed my reading habit and enhanced my writing skills.
If you've not read this book, I strongly advise you do so. It is going to help you nurture the proper habits you need, to improve your life and your skills. Everything said in the book is practical, and easily relatable. Honestly, It is life-changing. If you are yet to get this book, you can get it here.
Ever since I finished my first book, I have been ‘binge-reading’. I started falling in love with the act of reading, that I can't go a single day without reading at least a page, which brings us to the first on the list;
1) Read ‘One Page’ Daily
This is a tweak of James Clear’s ‘one percent principle ’, which states that we should improve ourselves and our skills by 1% daily.
The same principle can be applied to a book If you wish to become an ardent reader. Cultivate the habit by simply reading a page daily. Sounds ridiculous but effective.
When I started, mine was a two-page daily commitment (two minutes daily). Then eventually, I found myself reading 5 pages daily and the habit started picking up from there to 20-30 pages daily.
Most articles floating around the internet would suggest you start with 10 pages or 20 pages right off the bat. But, that is not ideal if you are someone who dislikes reading or keeps procrastinating. Keep it real, and grow into the habit by taking baby steps (one page at a time).
2) Condition Your Environment
Condition your immediate environment to compel your habit of reading. I don't mean amassing a personal library consisting of books you would never open, I mean positioning books in the favorite corners of your sanctuary, e.g, your home, office, or cabin.
There should always be a book positioned in the areas around your house (or office) where you hang out the most, whether it is your kitchen counter, bed, couch, toilet, etc...a book should always be waiting for your arrival.
This is why e-books and audibles are effective because of how attached we are to our phones. The same mindset can be applied to our physical environment. Make your favorite spot in your territory, your book spot.
3) Don’t Focus on Vocabulary
The vocabulary used in sentences can sometimes become a distraction while reading because you can be stuck in a paragraph for an hour trying to figure out the meaning of the lexical words or terminologies bombarded in that particular paragraph with a dictionary. This can make reading feel like work or a mental burden.
The standard way to handle this is to simply, highlight or mark the lexical words as you read, and figure out their meaning after reading.
Don’t use a dictionary while reading. This recommendation may seem contrary to popular reading beliefs, but it is an ideal approach to avoid being mentally distracted from the flowing sentences and paragraphs embedded in the book.
4) Read to Relax
Make the habit of reading attractive by using it as an opportunity to relax. In that way, you don't feel pressured or forced to read a book. It's a simple mindset shift.
Ardent readers enjoy reading when they are relaxed, not bored or stressed. This could be: reading at the poolside, at the beach, reading while at the coffee shop, reading before taking a nap, or before bedtime, and so on. If you are applying the ‘one page daily’ rule discussed earlier, ensure you apply it during your relaxation time.
5) Attach a Reward to Reading
This is another great way of making reading attractive. Endeavor to affix little rewards after reading a book. It could be watching Netflix after reading, or taking a long nap, anything that is rewarding or satisfying to you, attach it to your reading.
This also requires a mindset shift, that involves connecting a habit to a reward. Most people only think they should reward themselves after doing something grandiose or herculean, but that should not always be the case. You can also reward yourself for making little and significant feats such as reading a book daily or completing your first book. It would maintain your reading habit in the long run.
6) Identify Yourself with a Book
When you align your personality with a book, reading becomes fascinating. Authors often tell stories and experiences that constantly relate to human nature, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. That should always attract your attention and interests towards reading.
When reading, try to identify yourself with the book by finding relatable experiences and stories, either portrayed by the characters of the book (if it is fictional, or a biography) or portrayed by the author (autobiography).
Be open-minded and imaginative when reading. Allow your reality to become part of each sentence and activity the book conveys. Reading a book should stimulate your mind, your nature, and your character.
P.S: Reading articles can also help in developing your reading habits. If you find it difficult or scary reading a voluminous book, apply the ‘one page daily’ rule, and combine that effort with reading articles.
If you have any questions, comments, or contributions to this post, you can contact me here- firstname.lastname@example.org
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Preye Raymond