Starting A Reading Routine

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A couple of times a year, I try to reset my reading routine. It’s like a deep clean for my daily habits.

I love reading, but it’s so easy to find other things to do (and shows to binge.) 

But there are a few helpful tips that I use to get things going. Whether you’ve hit a reading slump and just want to jazz things up a bit or you’re trying to get back to reading after an extended hiatus, I think these tips will help you.

1. Start small. I know, I know. This is the first tip for any habit-building, but I think it bears repeating. Instead of setting an ambitious goal of a book a week or several chapters every day, break it down.

Try reading for five minutes while you drink your morning coffee. Sneak a few pages in during your lunch break. You’ve got to retrain your focus – it’s a bit like going back to the gym but way less sweaty!

As you get comfortable with your routine, add a bit more. Soon, you’ll be zooming through those pages.

2. Experiment with your reading schedule. This tip naturally pairs up with #1.

Finding the best time for YOU to read is key. If you’re drifting off as you read in bed at night, try… reading with your morning coffee. You can see how this goes.

Along with this, don’t be afraid to branch out with your formats. Have a reading app on your phone for ebooks on the go. And try an audiobook during chores or the gym to make time fly by!

3. Try a daily reading habit tracker.

If you’re a visual person, a habit tracker could be a perfect fit for you! It’s really easy to overestimate how much (or how little) we’ve done something.

Seeing colorful dots on a page or checkmarks glowing in an app could be just the little boost you need to keep going.

4. Break it up! It’s ok if you’re not a binge-reader. In fact, building a daily habit instead of an occasional binge might set you up better for success in the long run. If you need to break a book up over several days, go for it.

Ok, so these first four rules are pretty obvious. So what do you do if you’ve already tried these and still struggle to get those pages in? Try layering these following tips to find the method that works best for you.

5. Find your reading space and make it inviting. Do you like to read in bed? Have a favorite nook? Cozy it up with a super soft blanket, a squishy pillow, or your favorite candle to make reading time feel like a special treat.

Oh! And don’t forget to stash books in your space. Having a couple of books right there makes it so easy to get to reading without having to hunt down a paperback you left across the house. 

I’m usually good with just a small stack of 2-3 books in my space, and I keep my larger TBR somewhere else. But if you love a good aesthetic, grab a cute storage bin or tray to put your books in to keep them tidy and cute.

6. Do you *really* want to read that?

I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve bought because I thought I “should” read them. Especially as an English major. But most of the time, those books just collect dust and make me feel guilty. Even worse, they can make me hesitate to read because I know I won’t enjoy it.

Don’t be like me.

If you LOVE paranormal romance, why would you torture yourself with a weighty classic? There are so many benefits to reading that apply to all genres. So embrace what you love. Surround yourself with books you’re excited about. And rest easy knowing it’s helping you build good habits.

7. Put. The. Book. Down!

Ok, this one goes with #6 and with good reason. If you’re not enjoying a book, or find yourself dragging your feet to pick it back up… don’t!

Simply don’t finish it! It’s not for you, and that’s ok. Reading one “meh” book can make me so reluctant to pick up the next. Slogging through a story that’s not a good fit takes a lot of energy!

So save your energy and focus for something that makes you smile.

8. This one’s a twofer. Read on the go and swap out your social media.

I’m combining these two because I find they go hand in hand for me. When I’m waiting at a doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store, it’s soooo easy to mindlessly scroll through social media on my phone.

Instead, I’ve been trying to open my Kindle app first and read a page or two – even getting in a couple of paragraphs can brighten a busy day! I’ve also stashed paperbacks in my purse for this.

There are so many little moments throughout the day when we reach for our phones that we might as well embrace the impulse and turn it into a super habit-building power!

9. Join a reading community.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to join a book club – although you can if that’s your jam! 

Creating a little reading community of your own can be so encouraging. Try a buddy read. Friend a few people on Goodreads. Join a forum on LibraryThing. There are a ton of ways to find like-minded readers who are pumped to talk about your favorite genre.

And they are a neverending source of TBR inspo!

10. Always be on the lookout for reading inspiration.

There’s nothing worse than finishing an amazing book and having nothing to keep that high going, especially if I was on a series or author binge.

This is where your reading community comes in. See a book that looks ah-mazing on someone else’ reading update? Throw it on your TBR list. I love Goodreads for this. And recently, I’ve discovered that Barnes & Noble has a “want” list feature in their rewards app that I’m excited to try. A good, old-fashioned notebook works perfectly well for this too.

I use to be able to spend HOURS browsing a bookstore for my next find. Now, I only have time to grab the next book on my TBR and go, so having my TBR handy is a lifesaver.

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