I attempted my first Goodreads challenge in 2016 in which I finished reading 25 books. I’ll be honest, my reading speed is very slow that was a huge deal back then. The next year I aimed for 30 books but read 11. 2018 was worse, I aimed for 9 books and read three. 2019 was better, I aimed to read 15, but I was lagging behind until October where had read 4 books. So, I did what any sensible person would, I began adding my text books to complete the reading challenge.
But that depressed me even more, I did not like cheating and that is when I knew I had to change something about this and I introspected and analysed the reasons for me to have a huge slump of over 3 years.
This is an approach of what I did to successfully get back into the reading habit and I believe it would work for you as well, thanks to the flexibility and the best part, you don’t need motivation to get into the habit!!!
Why I lost my Reading Habit:
- I had begun volunteering and it took up a massive amount of time leaving me exhausted over the weekends. Weekends were when I used to read mostly.
- I signed up for a subscription of Netflix, Amazon Prime and the likes and the Song of Ice and Fire turned into eight seasons of Game of Thrones and Mistborn trilogy was replaced by three seasons of Rick and Morty. You get the idea.
- Whenever I picked up a book, I couldn’t read more than a few pages as my phone kept buzzing.
- I made goals to read 10-50 pages a day and could never keep up with my slow speed and all the distractions and that demotivated me.
- I did not have a mood to to study even when I was doing nothing.
But, in November 2019 I began reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and I tried shaking things down and making changes, which helped me regain my habit.
Road to Recovery
Setting lofty goals sound great, but when I began to think practically it did not seem feasible. Just like a New Year’s resolution seldom sticks, I knew cutting myself from Netflix and Prime completely would not be ideal as I would relapse back into my addiction (experience is the best teacher apparently!). I needed a work around.
I decided to set a simple goal. Break down the big goal into smaller ones. I had to rule out any goals which included reading a certain number of pages or chapters a day as I may or may not have a mood to read everyday. So quantifying the goal for the habit didn’t make sense. In the end my goal was just to Read Everyday, it didn’t matter how much I read.
The goal I had set for myself gave me the freedom to cheat. It was because of the massive loophole in the idea (If all I had to do was read everyday, I could read a word and let it be!) that allowed me to develop the habit.
I made three personal rules to ensure I don’t over exploit the loophole.
- I had to read everyday before I went to bed.
- No exception whatsoever. Period.
- Record the Progress.
These rules gave me the freedom to work around my wavering moods and changing schedules (I had taken up even bigger responsibilities in the place I volunteered in which took away significant time over the week as well and the weekends.) The best part was that I could read a single word and close the book and there were many days that I did it.
The point was never to read something. To me, if I wanted to build the reading habit I needed to build a ritual of picking up the book everyday which doesn’t take much effort.
There were days I finished multiple chapters and currently the highest number of pages I read in a day is 157! On an average, I read about 20 pages a day. Yes, that’s quite low, but surely higher than 3 pages a day from the previous year.
There were days when I read a sentence and slept. And there were days where I felt like putting the book down after reading a sentence, but went on to finish a chapter!
I began documenting each book that I read on Google Sheets and each time I began adding a book in the sheet I could sense adrenaline running down my spine!
You Can Download the Template or Copy the Book Repository template here.
It was apparent, not making any exception – just the act of opening the book or turning on my Kindle, or the Kindle app made all the difference. Also, celebrating the tiniest successes of just opening a book helped me read 30 books within 6 months (5 more than my goal of 2016) and that too with a slower speed than back then! I just checked, my reading speed right now is just 180 words per minute while the average ranges between 200 to 300 words per minute.
I believe this would help anyone reading this get back to their habit, through discipline and ensuring you make no exceptions. I’d love to know if this worked! or if you have your own story of how you got into the reading habit! Drop in the comments or just hit me up by mail!
So, here’s cheers to a new habit! Or just enjoying a post… A song for you
I Hope the Repository links help you!
Until next time, Stay home, stay safe!
More Power to You!