How to Cultivate a Reading Habit

Created on Jul 6, 2021
Updated on Apr 14, 2022

Change is something I believe anyone can accomplish if they’re willing to put the work in and if they’re willing to do what it takes to complete the change.

Many people have the preconceived notion that you are who you are, and who you are has been determined since you were young. But I know that isn’t true.

I decided I wanted to change. I realized that if you want to change or stop doing something, you have to stop completely.

Now or never

You can’t say, “This is my last time”, you can’t say, “I’ll stop next week.” Once you decide to change, this has to be it.

One method of making a significant change that may seem simple is by developing a habit of something you wish to do or improve.

My hatred of reading lasted for a long time until I once decided I wanted to develop a habit of reading every day.

Starting small

I had the idea of applying the Behavioral Model and reading for 10 minutes a day and then increased the limit to 20 minutes, 30 minutes until I couldn’t find boredom while reading as before.

Btw, The Behavioral Model is a research conducted by BJ Fogg at Stanford.

This is an achievable habit to develop and it’s a realistic goal.

I was able to develop this habit starting from the beginning of this year and I wrote notes about each book I read. Since then, I have read 5 books.

This varies for everyone. There is much research about the average time to develop a habit and as noted, it varies from one person to another. For me, I think it took about 14 days to believe that I have a habit of reading.

What I see to be the first step in the process is establishing what habit you wish to form and then synthesizing a plan to achieve your goal.

One may want to develop a habit of keeping themselves better hydrated. Then they proceed to do so by drinking a bottle of water every day at lunch.

Although small, it’s an achievable habit to develop, and their approach is also legitimate. Ultimately, the final, yet most difficult part in developing a habit is caring out your plan.

Focus role

Focusing on the outcome is a way to keep yourself motivated. Once you achieve a week of performing this habit, you’ll be rewarded by seeing how this change influences your life.

And although in the beginning, this change may not be visible, it is the small steps and persistence that result in long-term change, which then serves as the reward to keep up with the habit.

Small incremental impact

I have regularly found myself overestimating the importance of one central moment and underestimating the importance of exercising improved decision-making daily. The aggregation of marginal gains is the concept of improving many areas by 1% which compounds an overall significant change.

In other words, don’t simply try to make the big change all at once. Sometimes, improving your life or achieving your goal comes about as many small changes and not one drastic change.

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, proves mathematically the importance of 1% saying, “1% worse every day for one year. 0.99^(365) = 00.03 while 1% better every day for one year. 1.01^(365) = 37.78.”

In other words, this 1% better or worse decision won’t impact your today, but as time goes on these small improvements or declines compound and suddenly you find a very large gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.

And there are 24 hours in a day. By applying 1% of your day to improving one aspect of your life, it would be about 15 minutes of your day.

All of the habits you have, good or bad, are a result of many small decisions you’ve made over time.

By developing good habits, you can achieve change in what you desire.

There is a great power behind forming tiny habits. The point behind forming these beneficial habits is that they enact a bigger positive change.

Final thoughts

By starting small with 10 minutes a day and building discipline and focus will make you very good at developing your habit.

You must say “no” to your echo voice which makes you hate reading. You do NOT hate reading. You’ve just never tried!

Just consider the big change that you’ll have when you’ll be better at 1% every single day.


Published on medium