It is known, that African’s do not like to read, our culture is embedded in storytelling so I tend to think that’s why many African don’t like reading. Even a joke was once told that if you want to hide something from an African just put it in a book, they will never ever find it.
Reading, however, is a culture that can be adopted not easily but gradually. It requires commitment; commitment that goes beyond making resolutions and wishful thinking.
Books sharpen your IQ, curb anxiety, increases your critical thinking capacity makes you experience places and things you have no access to among other things.
However, it’s important to first have a deep willingness to read and grow in the process. Here are tips to help you cultivate a better and consistent reading habit:
1. Set Your goals in reading
In order to create a reading habit and culture, it’s important to start off by setting a goal. This goal should be articulate and backed up with a purpose.
Start by thinking about how a consistent reading pattern can help you grow in different areas of your life- spiritual, academics, career, relationships and more. When you find concrete reasons and a purpose attached to your goal, you’ll be more motivated to keep pushing and achieve it.
2. Make a List of Books for Each Month
Once you’re done setting your reading goal for the year, you’ll need a list to back it up. Write out a list of the amazing books you want to read. Ask for recommendations from friends and mentors. It’s important to keep a journal, notepad or excel spreadsheet listing the books you’ll like to read for each month or even a year.
By being intentional about your reading list, you’ll stay focused on your ultimate goals and avoid lurking at any book that passes you by. A reading list will also help you stay organized. Take it a step further by creating a log attached to that list, including the start and finish dates, key notes or lessons; to help you easily tick off once you’re done with each book.
Note that, reading these books doesn’t mean discarding them afterwards. A list and log with notes about your thoughts will encourage you to look through them months later, just in case you need some inspiration at some point.
3. Read at Least 10-20 Pages a Day
If you’re looking to create a consistent reading pattern, then setting out a particular number of pages per day would work perfectly. Consider setting aside at least 10-20 pages per day to read, especially if you have a busy schedule. This process will help you stay focused as you look forward to accomplishing your daily goal of a specific number of pages.
Be very proactive when you read. Don’t rush through, but instead take out time to understand and engage in the reading process. This way, you’ll be open to learn and be able to transfer that knowledge to others when opportunity comes.
4. Invest in Tools that Encourage Reading
When it comes to efficiency, it’s important to invest in the right tools that will set the pace for a better reading pattern. For those that love hard copy books, consider setting aside a good reading environment with appropriate table and chairs to help you stay focused. That way, you will gradually get accustomed to that space and look forward to your reading time.
For most people today, mobile apps, tablets, news aggregators, ebook readers, and other online tools actually work wonders. Because the world is digital, most people prefer having their handy mobile appliances that would help them stay on top of their goals. Figure out what tools work best for you and invest in them.
5. Set Reading Times and Days
Set aside specific times everyday to read your assigned book for the week/month and any other articles you may have bookmarked. Put away distractions such as turning off the TV and other things that may hinder your reading time. Ready for at least 30-40 minutes a day is a great start and would help you develop a concrete reading habit as you’ll always look forward to having your ‘me time’ that supports your reading goals.
You could also have a reading day to help you stay dedicated or catch up on other days you might have fallen back on your goals.
6. Get a Reading Partner or Book Club
Goals need to be backed up by accountability in order to help put a check and encourage you during times you don’t feel motivated. Get a reading partner who has a heart and willingness to read, and create a plan to help you achieve your reading goals.
With a book club, you’ll create a concrete strategy that constantly keeps you motivated and inspired to grow beyond your comfort zone. Such gatherings give you an opportunity to discuss lessons you learnt and other thoughts.