I read a lot — about one book each week. I mostly read for pleasure, but also to keep my brain active outside of work and to help me learn new skills.
Even though I love to read, staying consistent with my reading habit isn’t always easy. Below are a few of the tricks that I use to encourage myself to read more often. I hope you’ll find them useful, whether you’re trying to keep up with a New Year’s resolution, or just hoping to read more in general.
Stop while the suspense is high.
It’s extremely rare for me to read a book in a single sitting. I normally stretch it out over at least four or five reading sessions. My natural tendency is to put down a book for the day when I get to the least exciting part — when there’s a lull in the action, or a plotline has just wrapped up.
I’ve found that in order to make sure I read more, I should actually do just the opposite: put down the book right when it’s at its most suspenseful.
I’m essentially creating a cliffhanger for myself. I know that I won’t put off returning to the book for long, because I’m dying to find out how the suspense resolves. When I stop reading at the exciting parts, I know I’ll pick up the book again the next day.
Keep books within reach of where I read.
I always make sure to keep at least one book within arms reach of anywhere that I like to read. The truth is, something as small as having to get up and go to another room is sometimes enough to keep me from reading.
When books are ultra-convenient, I’m way more likely to pick them up. I normally read a few books at a time, so I like to keep them scattered to make sure I always have easy access.
Never force myself to finish a book.
If I don’t like a book, I’ll stop reading it. I never force myself to finish books, or even hit a certain page count before I make up my mind.
I used to feel just the opposite: I’d finish almost any book I started, whether I liked it or not. I figured that even a book I didn’t enjoy might teach me something.
What I realized is that by forcing myself through books I didn’t like, I was discouraging myself from reading. Now, I stick to what I enjoy, which means I’m always happy to pick up a book.
Mix in easy books
Sometimes I notice myself going through a rough patch with reading. It feels hard to read, and I can’t maintain my focus well. When this used to happen, I’d just go a few weeks without reading anything.
What I’ve started doing instead is picking up a young adult book, or other short, easy reads. These normally only take a few hours to get through, and they help get my mind back in a reading mindset.
After reading a young adult book, I find it much easier to get back to reading more difficult books the next day. And, of course, young adult books have plenty to offer readers of all ages. I’ve become a particularly big fan of John Green.
Take a trip to the bookstore or library
Sometimes when I think I don’t feel like reading, I actually just don’t feel like reading the books on my shelves. There’s no rule that says you have to read the books you already own first.
Libraries and bookstores have such wide collections that I can almost always find a book that I’m genuinely excited to read. I like libraries the best because the books are free and they provide external motivation to keep me reading: a due date.