3 Simple Methods To Build a Reading Habit that Sticks
Do you want to read more books?
If you’re like most people, you just don’t have the time. Or maybe you’d like to read faster. Or maybe you want to find the motivation.
That used to be me.
But I remember sitting in a college class, asking myself…
“When would we ever use this information?!”
And that’s when I started reading books. To teach myself the things I’d never learn in school.
- One book turned to two…
- Two turned to four…
- And four into one thousand...
So in this blog post, I want to show you 3 simple “tricks” you can use to create a reading habit so you too can read 100 or more books this year…
1. Drip Water In The Bucket
On April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant played his last game of professional basketball.
After the game, a reporter asked him, “Kobe, what are you going to do tomorrow?”
Kobe said he’s going to go to the gym in the morning.
Why couldn’t he just take a day off?
After all, he’d just spent the last 20 years playing professional basketball.
But Kobe said he didn’t have a choice.
Because if he takes just one day off, he’ll probably take the next day off.
- And that one day, turns into two…
- Two turns into four…
- And four turns into a new life.
What does this have to do with reading?
Well, imagine you sleep in tomorrow morning. Doesn’t that make it more likely that you’ll sleep in again the next day?
Or imagine you workout today. Doesn’t that make it more likely that you’ll workout again tomorrow?
Momentum is a powerful force.
That’s why Kobe Bryant couldn’t take a day off. And it’s why the biggest mistake you could make when it comes to reading is waiting until you have more time.
Because it’s not important that you spend a lot of time reading.
It is important that you never miss a day…
- Not if you’re tired…
- Not if you’re on vacation…
- Not if you’ve just played your final game of professional basketball.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “Miss a meal, but never miss a day of reading.”
And Albert Einstein reportedly said that if a person studies a subject for 15 minutes a day, in a year he will be an expert. In 5 years, he will be a national expert.
A little every day adds up to a lot.
Because the most important thing to reading a lot of books isn’t that you read quickly. It’s that you read in the first place.
So my solution for you is to commit to reading just 10 minutes of a book that could move you towards your dreams — every single day.
Not 30 minutes…
Not an hour…
But 10 minutes.
Pick a time that you’re going to do it. And schedule that time for reading in your Passion Planner.
[Not sure how to make even 10 minutes for reading? Make sure to read this article on how to reclaim your productivity]
2. Learn From A Children’s Book
Many years ago, I had a cumulative final exam for my high school physics class.
I couldn’t remember what we’d learned in class in the last week, let alone for the entire year!
But I discovered something interesting…
Studying for that test was easier than any other test I’d taken.
Because I realized that everything that was on that test, I had already learned before. And that it’s easier to re-learn something you’ve already learned, than to learn something for the first time.
But we forget this every time we read a book…
- We pick up the book with no idea what it’s going to cover…
- Start on page 1…
- And learn everything one page at a time.
If we took a little bit of time first to learn what we’re about to read before we read it, it turns out we read it a lot faster!
Just imagine if you read a children’s book that’s 400 pages versus a medical book that’s also 400 pages.
They’re both the same length. But you already have a solid understanding of one, so it’s a lot easier (and faster!) to read.
Same thing with any book you read.
First, Google a summary of the book before you start reading it. Find out what the main points are, before you dive in.
Second, spend 5 to 10 minutes flipping through the book from beginning to end. Ask yourself…
Once you have this foundation, then you can decide how you want to get through the book…
- You may want to read every word…
- You may want to read only a specific chapter…
- Or you may want to go from beginning to end, but skip all the fluff along the way
3. Remember the "Reading Rule"
In college, we had a guest speaker in one of my classes. It seemed like he was quoting a different book every few seconds.
Someone raised their hand, and asked…
“How do you read so many books?”
He said that most people treat every book just like a school assignment. They start on the first page. Then go to the second page. And then the third.
The problem is that in school, you have to do everything the teacher assigns you.
But in life, you don’t have to read everything just because the author wrote it.
I realized that reading books has zero intrinsic value. The goal isn’t to read 10,000 books and be able to talk about it. That makes you a good professor.
The goal is to move forward in your life.
You want to look at books as tools that lead you to the correct action.
As soon I realized this, I was freed. I started to love reading. Because I gave myself permission to read only the things that could directly impact my life.
In school, you learn things so you can have an intelligent conversation about it. But as soon as you learn this “Reading Rule,” you’ll realize that books are just tools to guide you to the correct action.
It’s like Telamon of Arcadia said in the 5th century BC…
“It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”
In other words, it’s one thing to talk about something, and another to do it.
So you need to ask yourself for every book…
Is this moving the needle forward, or is it just entertainment? Because it’s always one or the other.
Remember, all learning should lead to action.
Here’s one thing you can do to feel more motivated to read…
Don’t read books you “should” read. Read books you’re interested in.
Sounds obvious, but most of us read a book because everyone is talking about it.
As soon as you start reading books that can actually move you towards your dreams…
Or at least can help you solve a major problem you’re facing in your life…
You’ll start to finally feel motivated, and excited, to read every day.
[And if you can’t seem to find any motivation right now, check out this article as well.]
Remember, there are no unmotivated readers. Only people who don’t see how the things they’re reading contribute to their bigger dreams in life.
Now, of course, you may also want to read fiction books to escape from endless shows on Netflix.
But regardless of the type of book…
And especially if it’s a book you want to learn something from…
Make sure you pick books that excite you.
So those are 3 simple reading “tricks” you can use right now to build the reading habit, and start reading 100 or more books, a year.
Which one was your favorite?
Brandon Hakim is on a mission to help you get unstuck.
He was so frustrated by what he was learning in college, that he went to the dean of his university to say he felt like students were getting an outdated education.
He’s since read over 1,000 books, and helped over 200,000 students online get “unstuck” through his online courses.
Connect with me at Insider School or Instagram.