14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit
One of the things one must do as a librarian, I must read. You would think that would be easy or at least for me since that is part of my job description. For some reason, I have gotten into a bad habit of not reading for pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m working and on the desk, I’m constantly reading my Digg Reader and sorting through the tons of blogs I subscribe to. I love information and try to keep myself abreast of current topics on a regular basis. If I come across something for my own personal blog – Page 49 and The Monster Scifi Show, I try to work on the article that day when I have the ideas and reflections fresh in my head. However, put a physical book in my hand, either I get distracted in less than two minutes and stop reading or I get really sleeping and nod off.
Just now, I had just stopped writing and switched to my reader to scan for some news items. I don’t believe my attention span was ever this short but because of my limited time and nature of my work, I am cramming so much in my head, I don’t take the time to smell the print. I would have said flowers but I hope you get my point. As I am writing this, I need to separate and compartmentalize to make order on my life. As is, I have done a shorter podcast for The Monster Scifi Show that I can manage to do once a week and without a co-host. My Page 49 podcast and my reading needs to be done in the same way.
Looking at this list, one of the suggestions to create a habit of reading is to do this in short bursts. Allow myself to read maybe 10 minutes at a time throughout the day. I think I can manage this considering 10 minutes reading straight would be a major accomplishment. My wife on the other hand, can read non stop and at times completed whole books in hours. Comparing her to me is like comparing her as a marathon runner and me as a masturbating coach potato. I know that seems harsh calling myself a coach potato but I need to get my ass up and do something. This metaphor does make sense to me because when I was laid off, to pass the time and to help my sanity, I started to run. Over time, I was able to run more than a block and then a mile and so on. In the past four years, I have done a 1/2 and a full marathon and if I can apply myself in the same way, I can become that marathon reader.
Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.
If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.
First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for several days in a row, consider abandoning the book and finding one that you’ll really love.