Four Simple Steps to Build a Reading Habit

Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary — Jim Rohn

I started a program called ‘#BacaBarengTukung’ (Reading with Tukung*) on poultryindonesia (PI) Instagram story every two weeks on Friday about more than a month ago. The main goal is to at least alleviate literacy problem and reading interest on at least PI’s Instagram followers. Based on a study conducted by Central Connecticut State University in 2016, Indonesia was on 60th place out of 61 countries regarding reading interest.

I also think to persuade followers or stalkers on Instagram will be more effective. It is a part of human nature that they love to get noticed, here is the method that I use. I asked them whether they read any book/journals/manual guide about poultry in the recent two weeks on question box. If they do, I reposted it and mention their Instagram username, and then the other will do the same. In other words, I give them simulations to do the same habit until the next two weeks.

Anyway, back to the topic. These steps also can be used for you who continually buy books that you found interesting, yet end up on the corner of your bookshelf or working table. I learn these steps from my favourite book ‘Atomic Habits by James Clear’ then I mixed it with my own experience. It works for me because I read about 14 books this year, specifically until September 2020.

The first step is, try to make it easy. Indeed, reading can be challenging for those of you who might be a not fan of it. You might be dragging your knees to reach that book or maybe you instantly fall asleep after reading the first word. You can start to set your own time and goal as simple and realistic as possible. For instance, if you cannot sit down and read for at least 15 minutes, you can lower it down to 10 minutes. However, if you are super busy and 10 minutes is too much for you, then you can narrow down a bit more, such as 1 page or 1 minute per day. If you already get used to your ‘easy’ part of your habit, you can gradually increase your target.

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Second, get rid of all the distraction. It is undeniable that nowadays, the majority of societies tremendously depended on a smartphone. Sometimes some people cannot take their eyes from the phone screen, scrolling or surfing through social media from dusk until dawn, and then regret it at the end of the day. Therefore, if you want to focus on reading. You should minimize distraction, in this case, your smartphone by putting it on the farthest place from your reading site.

Third, try to make it interesting and fun. I like to challenge myself with some kind of goals. Hence, I use two apps to keeps me stay motivated in reading books, which are ‘Repeat Habit Tracker’ and ‘Goodreads’. On repeat habit tracker, it provides you checklists for a week and you can set another goal, for instance, reading habit for 2, 3, or 4 months. Moreover, for Goodreads, it provides you to ‘store’ which book you want to read, currently reading, and finish reading. It also has a challenge which you can manage how many books you want to read in a year. You can also write a review of a book that you finished reading.

My Goodreads account so far

The last one is to make the book visible. I know that some of you might be busy all day and maybe you still have to manage your work a bit at night. This also can be your excuse to skip reading for a day, while your stack of books waiting patiently on the bookshelf until they become dusty and their pages turn yellow. Well, you can make them appealing by placing the book that you want to read or currently read on your pillow or any places which make that book stand out.

In conclusion, to build reading or any good habit needs determination and commitment to yourself. Last week, I asked Instagram story readers about this method. The result showed that 42% of respondents said that the habits work for them, whereas the rest have not applied those steps. I wish those methods will work on you too.

Note: *Tukung is a mascot of Poultry Indonesia Magazine which represent Indonesian native chicken breed who does not have a tail.

A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Graduate and Master of Veterinary Science Student. Trapped Between Words and Stories