Reading doesn’t sit comfortably with many people. The thought of having to sit still and dedicate hours trawling through the pages of a book may not be everyone’s idea of fun.
It can often bring up childhood memories of school, which we know wasn’t everyone’s favourite pastime and so this might make the idea of reading seem very daunting even today.
It’s surprising how so many people dismiss this powerful pastime, and yet they would happily binge out on the latest Netflix boxset and Dominos over the course of a weekend, with no real residual benefit.
I get it – I’ve been there and can totally relate. Reading was never an act that came natural to me.
Of course, I could read – but reading for leisure, pleasure or self-education was something I had never even remotely considered.
Growing up, in my circle of friends, it just wasn’t something that we did.
In fact, reading was perceived as uncool.
I remember the first time I bought a book from the local bookstore near where I worked.
I mentioned it to one of my close friends at the time and he accused me of smoking too much weed and said “I was going mad”!
His response reflected our mindset at that time: LIMITED!
But fortunately for me, I was always inquisitive and developed a hunger for information and learning, so reading became a natural tool in my search for the knowledge and answers I was seeking.
I went from reading zero books a year, to around two books a month.
I guess it was quite a commitment in the beginning, but it now comes to me effortlessly, through implementing the tips I will be sharing with you.
It’s also important for me to add that if I measured the value that reading has brought to my life, based upon where I am now in life, in comparison to where I started out, it is priceless.
I can categorically say that reading was the one act, above all else, that helped shape my perspective of who “I” was and what I was capable of.
The habit of reading immediately allowed me to broaden my horizons, opening my mind to new perspectives and enabling me to experience the world more subjectively.
So, how did I do it? And how can you also replicate this and boost your knowledge, capabilities, personal development, and ultimately, your success?
1. Always Keep A Book with You
One of the most common excuses for not reading is that you ‘don’t have time’.
Yet, I’m confident that if you checked your usage on your smartphone, it would tell a completely different story.
Why not spend that time reading, instead?
The key point is accessibility: having a book with you, when you do get a spare moment: when you’re sitting on the train, or if arriving early to a meeting with 30 minutes to kill.
Develop the habit of keeping a book with you, wherever you go.
Having ready access to books allows you to prioritise your own development to add value to voids in your day, instead of wasting time on things that don’t serve you.
2. Find Book Buddies
As with any new goal, you’re much more likely to achieve your objective more if it’s a shared goal. So, get friends, work colleagues or family involved.
There are two ways to employ their help:
One, is getting them to hold you accountable. A goal declared aloud is more likely to be achieved.
Tell them that you aim to read a certain book in a certain time (or even a certain number of books in a month).
Ask them to check you’re doing what you said and monitor your progress. Tell them how you’re proceeding.
The second way to get support is to get other people to read, too.
Approach anyone who may be open to the idea. Having a book buddy or forming a book club is a great way to ensure that you keep your commitment to reading.
It also provides a great opportunity to connect, socially.
Meeting up and being able to share thoughts and reflections on certain books you have agreed to read, or discussing particular chapters or concepts is a great way of embedding the knowledge and stimulating your thinking – as well as being a good excuse to meet up and connect with friends on a regular basis.
You also have the option of attending an already established book club. You’ll be surprised on how many clubs are likely to be running in your local area.
Alternatively, there are many online book clubs that can sometimes provide a more convenient option. I have listed a few below that I’m familiar with:
– here is a BIG shoutout to the Rebel Book Club, I love their concept, bringing book readers together to expand and diversify their reading list. Check out their instagram too for more book inspiration.
3. Audio Books
Ok – so, technically, this is not exactly reading, but, since it involves someone reading to you – I think we can get away with it!
My own personal preference is to read a physical book, but there are many occasions when it’s simply not possible, so listening to an audio book is a great alternative.
I brought your attention to the importance of accessibility, and with everyone now having a smart phone in their possession at all times, there really is no excuse for not reading, or listening to audio books, any time.
Some of the key benefits of audio books are:
▪ You can “read” whilst driving, working out, washing the dishes or walking – so there are no restrictions whenever you choose to read, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
▪ You can store hundreds of books on your phone, taking them wherever you go, and even accessing more online, so you can listen to a vast library of books on any subject, at any moment.
▪ Audiobooks, like e-books, will never get damaged by your two-year-old who believes it’s perfectly acceptable to tear out the pages of your favourite books and draw on them with crayons. (Sorry – I had to vent. This one’s quite personal!)
Once downloaded Audible on to your phone, you literally just open the app, source your chosen book and purchase through your existing Amazon account. Very simple!
4. Read Recommended Reading
If the first book you pick up isn’t engaging you, or is not a good read, put it down to that one book being bad, not to the experience of reading.
It’s always good to start your reading journey on a high – by finding a book that justifies you dedicating your time to it.
You do this by selecting a subject matter or topic that interests you and checking out the reviews and recommendations.
Even fiction can give you valuable insights into the world, and some great works are written as stories and allegorical teachings (see my top 3 below).
There will always be particular subjects that are of special interest to you – whether it’s work-related like leadership, psychology, or finance; or interests like history, thrillers, or spiritual development.
What fascinates you?
What do you need to know?
My first piece of advice is to focus on these areas.
Secondly, speak to friends and family and find out which books they’ve read and love.
Or look for recommendations online and in the media.
Which books do your idols read?
Which books have helped people to get where they are today, or changed lives?
Any avid reader has a Top 5 list of recommendations. Ask enough people, and certain books will pop up again and again.
This is where I would start. I have also written a number of articles sharing some of my top book recommendations for spirituality, business, success and happiness – with links below.
But if had to give an all-time top 3 list of books I would recommend, it would something like this:
5. Reward yourself
Change those old habits and ditch any trauma from school – when reading felt like punishment. Reward yourself and use your reward system as an incentive to read more.
Remember those book-reading goals? Whenever you finish a book and achieve that goal – celebrate!
You haven’t just read a book – you have furthered your knowledge, awareness and taken another step along the path of discovery (and self-discovery).
So, it’s fitting to reward your efforts, both to congratulate yourself, and to motivate yourself to read even more.
What would be a fitting reward, for you, for reading a book? Only you can say.
Maybe it’s a bar of chocolate, or a nice bottle of wine. Maybe a day out, enjoying nature or spending time with family. Maybe a day of rest and relaxation, listening to your favourite music. Maybe it’s something to remind you of the learning you’ve experienced – a motivational poster, inspirational mug, or booking yourself on that course. Maybe it’s treating yourself to that book everybody’s talking about!
And when you’ve read 12 books in a year – or 24, or 50 – how will you reward yourself for that achievement?
I hope this post has provided some value and the tips I’ve shared will help to establish a winning book reading habit.
Check out the below blog posts also, they contain recommendations on some powerful book titles that I’ve read and have attributed to my success and happiness.
Related Book Reading Posts
In-fact one of the key principles I share in my e-book, The 12 Disciplines of Success relates to the topic of reading and shares why it is such a powerful skill to develop.
As my reward to you for taking your future seriously, I want you kick start your reading journey by giving you a free copy my latest e-book, The 12 Disciplines of Success.
Equipping you with the insight’s and tools needed to propel you to a place of success.
Lastly, don’t forget to join The Success Rebellion Facebook group to connect with likeminded individuals, entrepreneurs and elite performers.