How to Cultivate the Reading Habit

When I get the chance to speak with people about the need to read the first concern is that since they do not have the habit, how do they start? This for me is a good question because knowing that you want to address an issue, you need to start from the very beginning. I will start by saying briefly about how I started. First, I had to talk myself into it. Yes, you have to talk yourself into it. What people say to you is not nearly as important as what you say to yourself. It is important you sit yourself down and tell yourself how important it is for you to read. It is important to talk yourself into it by rehearsing its numerous benefits. I can help you by telling you about some of those benefits and I will spell them out the way you need to tell yourself these things.

  • If I pay attention to reading, I am bound to become an excellent speaker. Books are written in words and the more exposed I am to words, the more my conversations make more sense and so will my writings.
  • Since I always have to recall chain of events in the book to follow the progression of a story, reading will help improve my memory. The process of recalling and analysing the contents in the book improves not only my memory but it will keep my brain active. (Do you know that research as shown that keeping the brain active and engaged helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia?)
  • I will gain knowledge through reading. I need to know that the world is currently governed by knowledge. If I want knowledge, I need books.

If these can be kept constantly in your mind and heart, you will begin to create a yearning for books in yourself. This is the first step. Talk yourself into it.

Did you know that reading can prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia? See more benefits here. Click To Tweet

The next is, find a reader. Back in the University, I made friends with people who I knew took genuine interest in books. Your company is important in helping you cultivate this habit. If you have readers around you, you will get into the flow easily and will help you as you desire to grow. If they belong to book clubs, tell them to get you in. It could be a virtual one or a physical meeting spot. Go online and find such networks if you don’t have friends who are readers.

Then buy your first book. Well, you might say I have had other books before, why is this going to be a first book? This book will be like an initiation into the habit. For me, this is critical because I believe that a person needs to read the right book that will create an appetite for books so he/she can continue to read. If your first book is a disappointment, it might be pretty difficult to get you to read again. Now, your first book must be carefully selected. Let me also say that I want to emphasise that I used the sentence, ‘Buy your first book’ not borrow your first book.

I have a notion that sometimes or most of the time, we do not value what is given to us freely or what we borrow from people because there isn’t a cost on it from your angle. Even if there was, it might not be much. You did not part with anything valuable to get it and so it might not get you committed to keeping it as you would if you had to let go of something to get it, e.g. money. If you spend your money in buying your book, it shows that you are committed to developing the habit plus you wouldn’t want your money to go down the drain. So make sure you buy your first book.

Now that we have settled the matter of buying your first book, the next question is, how do I know a good book?

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