The Path to Change: Read at Least Twenty Minutes Per Day
1. Schedule it in - Designate a block of at least twenty minutes during the day when you think you will have time to read. The longer the block, the more you will benefit. Reading at night before bedtime helps you wind down. Some enjoy reading during breakfast or lunch, others during their commute. Choose a time when you are least likely to be distracted.
2. Go for length - Although reading blog posts and short snippets in magazines may “feel” like reading, it isn’t going to give you the amount of content that will allow you to fully reap the benefits of increased focus and concentration, relaxation, and stress reduction. Instead, opt to read books and articles of decent length.
3. Choose for pleasure - Choose books and articles you want to read. Reading books or literature because you think you should will not be pleasurable. If you start a book and find your mind wandering or interest lacking for several days in a row, consider abandoning it for something you’ll enjoy more. The more time you spend reading what you love, the more interested you will be in doing it.
4. Expand your horizons - Although you may be tempted to read romance novel after romance novel, broaden your horizons by exploring new genres. Not only will you learn more through exposure to new concepts, information, and vocabulary, but it may even help you develop new interests.
5. Go digital - With the influx of devices and eReaders, reading on the go has become easier than ever. You can instantly download a book, a magazine, or a newspaper any time you want. And if you are enjoying more than one book at a time, you can take your whole library with you.
6. Have book, will read - The easiest way to read more is to have something to read with you at all times. Bring a book, magazine, or eReader with you in your briefcase or purse. Keep a book in your car. Anytime you have five or ten minutes of downtime, such as at the doctor’s office, you can squeeze in some reading.
7. Create a reading ritual - Create a ritual that makes you look forward to reading. Find a comfortable place with no distractions. You may enjoy reading on a park bench or at the beach or in the grass under a tree. Finally, consider sipping a beverage—such as green tea, a latte, or a glass of wine—or nibbling on a snack while you read.
8. Set a goal - Set a goal to read a certain number of books within a certain time frame. For instance, maybe you want to read two books per month or twenty-four books within a year. Whatever goal you choose, make sure it (1) is realistic and (2) doesn’t take the fun out of reading. You want to remain inspired to read, not dread it as a chore. Go a step further and create a reading log to document each book you read, how long it takes, and your thoughts about it. Tracking your reading will give you a sense of accomplishment.
9. Join or start a book club - Joining a book club offers many benefits. It provides you with a sense of community and the ability to make lasting friendships with people who share a common interest. Being part of a book club keeps you accountable to complete books, making you more likely to read on a regular basis. And being part of a book club gives you further intellectual stimulation because the books read are discussed and analyzed by the group.
10. Read to children - Reading to children benefits both parent and child. For parents, it provides an opportunity to spend focused quality time with your child. Children benefit from increased vocabulary, language, and speech development. Reading also prepares them for school and education advancement and develops listening and attention skills. It can also help them develop a passion for reading, as well as curiosity, creativity, and imagination. Discuss the books you read and ask them questions. If your children are older, create a family reading night. You could even create a “family book club” and choose the same book for all of you to read and discuss.