How to Build a Healthy Reading Habit

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Let’s face it: most of us don’t have a healthy reading habit. If you are like me, high school made us fall OUT of love with reading. 📖

Being pushed to read the “Classics” truthfully made me cringe every time I was assigned homework. Sorry Dickens, Austen, F. Scott… you’re not for me. 

Unimpressed Sea GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

I would find any way I could to take shortcuts and NOT have to read the book. 

For example, I’d read the Cliffs Notes, or have a friend give me a quick summary. If YouTube was around during my high-school years, I would have definitely spent my bus rides to school watching some YouTuber try to decipher what the hell Shakespeare was actually talking about.

Ultimately, by the time I left college, I was glad to see the back of books…

…or so I thought.

Falling Back in Love With Reading

It wasn’t until I became an entrepreneur that I started to fall back in love with learning.

Podcasts were my first step back into becoming an avid learner, and books were soon to follow.

However, I realized that despite picking up some incredible resources, I would still only read ¾ of a book. Or I would read for a couple months, then stop again.

So, I decided to design a reading system that would ensure I ACTUALLY read all of the incredible recommended books from top entrepreneurs and friends.

How to Build a Healthy Reading Habit

If you want to build a healthy reading habit, I suggest following my personal reading system. Here’s what I do:  

  1. Always read along with the audio book. Buy the audiobook, then have it playing in the background as you read. For me, this is a crucial step to retaining information, as I realized that I am much more of an auditory learner. I will read the book on my iPad, while also listening to the audio version on Audible.
  1. Schedule a time for reading. Whether you want to read a few times a week or as a daily practice, make reading a part of your weekly schedule. Write it down – it’s more likely to stick if it’s on paper (or at least a digital calendar)! Choose a time that suits you, whether that’s during your lunch hour, at home after work, or as part of a killer morning routine
  1. Find a good place to read. This may be in bed before you go to sleep, at your desk at work, or while gently swinging in the hammock in your garden. Find a place that is comfortable and likely to be free from distraction – this is where you will do your best reading.
  1. Don’t only read business books! If you have fallen out of love with reading, it’s crucial you balance some of your business/personal development reading with reading for pleasure. Give your mind some book candy. For example, as I write this, I am currently reading Sherlock Holmes simply because I love it. I feel like I’m watching a movie on the pages!
  1. Create a “Book Checklist”. This step helps me combat my tendencies to pick up a book, read part of it, then lose interest and pick up another. Instead, I now like to create a list of books, then start reading them one by one, checking them off the list as I complete each one.
  1. Set small goals. Just like anything in life, you need to give yourself kudos for developing the habit. Maybe you start by setting the goal of reading 1 or 2 books per quarter. When you review your goals at the end of the next quarter, you can actually write “Complete” next to the goal, which will make you feel good about yourself and the accomplishment. We need these wins, no matter how big or small.

Bonus tip: Start by reading Jim Kwik’s: Limitless. This will help you increase your reading speed so you can start cruising through books!

Wrapping it Up

For someone like me who used to hate reading, I will now take reading a book over watching a movie any day. 😲

I look at it this way. I feel my brain craves movies like my stomach craves processed sugar. A little processed sugar isn’t a bad thing, but it should never replace a balanced diet. 

So I look at books like my healthy meals, which I can enjoy every single day of the week, with my “dessert” being a movie or two on the weekend!

Reading is a good habit that anyone can fall back in love with. Although, sadly, Shakespeare is still a step too far for me (…sorry Will). 

Shakespeare Philosophy GIF by Boo! A Madea Halloween
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