21st October 2021
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  • 8:50 am Global Teacher Prize 2021: Who will take home $1 million?
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How to successfully develop a reading habit

I started a knowledge series a month ago where I review books and articles drawing out critical insights that are useful for personal development. Ever since I started, if I saved a dollar every time someone asked me how I manage to read the books I review, I think I would be richer that Jeff Bezos. True story. That’s why I decided to pen down this article to outline how I developed my reading habit. Please note that I successfully developed a reading habit from when I was much younger. At the age of 7, I had read King Solomon’s Mines by Ridder Haggard and many others. Nowadays, I read for several reasons – knowledge, fun or to pass an exam. I also read when I am sad, depressed, angry or just happy. Reading has become a second nature to me now.

Now, the following simple tips can help you develop that reading habit that you have always wanted.

Start simple

Don’t delve in too quickly. What I mean is that because you want to start, there is a temptation to want to devour as many books as possible. Or visit the bookshop to buy the books you have always wanted. I would say, start slowly and then build up. Start with a page a day or a few lines. If you start too quickly, you may lose momentum and then beat yourself up for not being able to keep up. Slowly and surely, you will get there.

Begin with a genre you love

If you love fiction, biographies, thrillers or romance, then begin with that particular genre you love. It’s better to start with something you love than reading books you find boring or too tasking to the brain. Doing this means you will become excited anytime you pick it up and would want to finish it till the end. The purpose for you is to first begin a reading habit. So it doesn’t matter for now what genre you are reading.

Replace screen time with book time

With the preponderance of smart phones, there is a tendency to go on social media all the time. To develop a reading habit, take a few hours away from the time you spend on your phone and replace them with reading. When the urge comes to pick up your phone, take up your book instead. This brings me up to the next tip.

Keep a book beside you at all times

To successfully replace screen time with reading time, it means books must be within your arm reach. Keep the one you are reading inside your handbag, at your bedside or somewhere quickly reachable. Give yourself a few days and before you know it, you’d be interested in the story you are reading and want to see the end. Treat your book the same way you treat your phone – it’s with you at all times.

Have a goal in mind

If you are like me that like to work with targets, then set a reachable goal. Tell yourself, I need to finish this book in two month’ s time for example. Or by the end of this quarter, I should have finished reading two book. Setting this kind of target motivates you. When you successfully meet it, you’d be satisfied and want to do more. Continue increasing your target and before you know it, you may have finished a number of books in a year.

Read before bedtime

If you struggle with sleep, this is something you should do. Reading helps some people fall asleep quickly but at least before you sleep, you must have read a page. Reading before bedtime also means you have completed the day’s task and you are free to do things for yourself. Instead of watching TV or engaging in some other guilty pleasure, pick up a book before bedtime.

Join a reading club

There are a lot of reading clubs online where they try to hold you accountable by keeping track of your reading schedule or pace. If you find yourself falling behind or at a loss on what type of book to read, then these clubs are the best groups to join.  

I hope these simple tips have been helpful. You can follow my book review every Saturday by 16:00 GMT+1 on Instagram live @idesofune. You don’t want to miss it.   Now, I am going to ask you, what book are you reading?

Ides Ofune

Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at info@desertbloomadvisory.com