Want to start reading books? Here is a well-researched, simple, and actionable guide on how to get into reading with an enduring focus on starting and starting well for long-term results.
Talk about a good habit. Reading offers a myriad of benefits from immediate ones such as expanding your mental horizon, to long-term benefits such as aiding effective communication. It is also a lucrative skill—might I add. Indeed.com enlists Learning and adaptability as one of the top skills sought after by employers.
However, over recent years, it turns out that the spirit of reading, especially amongst the younger generation, is dying. Less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine, or newspaper daily for pleasure, while more than 80 percent say they use social media every day, according to a research article published by the American Psychological Association.
Starting to read is like starting any other habit. It may take anything from 18-254 days to fully form but it can be started in as little as 2 minutes.
Steps to get into reading books
The steps outlined in this article are founded on quality research and knowledge from personal experience. It is salient to note that these same steps can be adapted to learn how to start reading the bible also. To make it a process that sticks, and an idea that is understandable, I have adopted the illustration of running. In more ways than one, both activities share some similarities. Start reading books like the way you start a 100m dash.
Follow the outlined steps on how to get into reading to start reading more books
- Know your “why”, mark it out, and dwell on it.
- Get set as you go easy on yourself.
- Get set by creating the space and time for reading books.
- Go and Knock out the first one.
- Keeping going as you get more strides in.
Step #1: Know your “Why”.
Once upon a time, you saw reading books as anything but something to make a habit of. Today, you are interested in how to start reading books. Something’s changed. That’s why this is the first and crucial step: identifying the reason for this newfound interest and becoming familiar with it. This is your propelling force.
Not everybody reads for the same reason and reasons for reading change throughout different stages of life. When you were in grade 3, you read to understand basic grammar. In high school, you had to start reading academic books for good grades. You turn into an adult and discover you can read to expand your capacity and gain information on how to solve problems within your life. All through life, the reason for getting into reading may wear a new face but if you are going to start reading books, and stick with it, you ought to be familiar with the “Why”.
Why Reading? it might as well be Alexa or ChatGPT.
Why am I choosing to read? Why do I find it interesting now? Why should I bother about it?
These are solid questions but a more relevant question that trumps them is “Is it important to your God-given assignment, if yes why?”
This is how you full-proof your reading habit; by recruiting the habit as an accessory to the accomplishment of your mission or as an aid to the expression of your Christ-like character traits. Even when life happens (which it will), you can rest assured knowing that as a Christian, after the dust settles(which it will), your life and Godward habits will be preserved.
Step #2: Go easy on yourself
One of the reasons, people don’t start reading books even after developing an interest in it, is that they get bogged down trying to create a robust plan. Starting a reading habit isn’t hard and you shouldn’t make it more difficult on yourself.
If you want to start reading books and keep at it, then you have to create a simple plan that you can follow. through with while picking up as many benefits as you can as quickly as possible.
I know there are quite a lot of things to consider when planning to start reading like;
- What goals should I set?
- Do I go alone or with an accountability partner?
- Physical or digital books or both, fiction or nonfiction or both?
- Reading aids or not?
- Coffeeshop or bookshop?
The list of questions goes on and on till these excesses keep you from proceeding to the next stage.
The focus question, however, should be “how do I make this as easy as possible for myself?”
The answers you come up with should be received with attention as they improve your chances of success.
Suggestion: Start with nonfiction. With nonfiction, you can easily perceive and substantiate results that can be satisfying. Chieflings’ curated list of titles about self-leadership is a good place to start.
Step #3: Make space for reading books
Reading will never be able to impact your life unless you give it a space in your life.
When we make room for reading, we are giving it the permission to take expression within us and the power to alter the trajectory of our lives. (Yet another reason to be careful about the kind of materials you consume.)
Habits are behavioral patterns people build for themselves. Expect these lifestyle actions to demand certain lifestyle choices that allow them to become incorporated into your life.
You may have to fix your sleep schedule, reprioritize desires, and manage your time and energy. Make room for it and create the time.
In your mind and heart, You are making room for reading books. In the real estate of your physical environment, you are expected to make room as well. Have yourself a reading corner and start reading books there.
Step #4: Knock out the first one
If you followed through with the previous steps, you should have a plan ready to be executed. The execution of this plan is what makes all the difference. Yes, the 3 previous steps are important and they’ve earned their place on the list. But ticking off your first reading session is what consummates the entire process cycle.
None of it matters if you never take any action. It is only when you take actions that you begin to see results. That’s why I advise paying special attention to steps four and five.
Here is a tip I think would help you start reading your first book.
Tip: Leverage the human tendency to respond to cues in our environment
Within your body is the Nervous system — a complex system comprising millions of specialized nerve cells — interfacing with the external environment. According to Scientific America, sensory stimuli received from the eyes or ear are converted to electrical signals and sent to the sensory cortex for processing. Then, if need be, impulses from the motor cortex will prompt the neurons of the spinal cord to create muscular contraction that induces movement.
In simple terms, you can craft or recreate an environment that prompts you to read. The next time you wake, put a book on your pillow as you lay in the morning so you can read a few pages before you cuddle in bed.
Step #5: Get the reps in
This step offers a jumping-off point into the process of maintaining a reading habit. And it is featured in this article for a reason: To place in your peripheral vision what the next steps are. It is not to distract you but to prepare your heart and set the tone for improving your reading skills.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body and prayer is to the soul.”Matthew Kelly
When we read, we make our minds stronger and in turn, improve our reading skills.
That is not to say, you must have a daily reading habit. Contrary to public opinion, I believe any regular and consistent schedule will still yield results. The number of reps or strides you put in depends greatly on a schedule that works for you.
Anyways, Habits form from repeated actions triggered by a thought, feeling, need, or situation. The brain connects the responsible centers together so that when a similar situation arises it will respond in an automatic manner.
This will prove helpful, especially in times when you don’t feel overly motivated to start reading a book.
FAQs on how to get into reading
How to start reading a book purchased on Amazon
A good way to start reading a book from Amazon is to speed read the meta information; ie the book title, subtitle, summary, introduction, and table of contents. Speed reading provides a rough idea of what the book is all about and sets the tone for future reading —if it’s a book you want to read.
Where can you start reading a book purchased on amazon?
When you get your print book purchased from Amazon, the first place to start reading the book is the front page. Peruse the title and subtitle to have a feel of the topic and how the information will be useful to you. Then turn to the back and read the summary while taking in the feel of the book. With a newfound appetite, read through the table of content and set expectations for the book.
How to stop buying books and start reading them?
If you usually buy books and do not end up reading them, the first thing to do is to examine your book purchase behavior. Are you simply binge-shopping or building a collection simply for aesthetic purposes? You should reorder your priorities and follow the steps on how to get into reading discussed above.
Which is best for beginner readers; print books or digital books?
If you are going to start reading books, I recommend starting with physical books. One way to successfully make reading a habit is to create an environment that triggers the behavior and reduces friction to start. Unlike digital books, Print books are more easily perceived by the natural sense and can create an appetite for reading which is what you want if your goal is to start reading books.
Conclusions on how to start reading books
Easy is the start of a thing than the end thereof.
It is easy to start reading books. You don’t have to make reading a difficult thing to start doing.
Your primary focus should be to optimize for the start — not the middle or end. Make it simple for yourself by having a very simple plan that enables you to read 1 chapter. Then build, momentously, form there.