By Lauren Aguirre
Many people say they want to read more books, but not that many actually follow through. In fact, about 26 percent of Americans didn't read a single fiction or non-fiction book in whole or in part in the last year in any format. Many high school and college graduates also do not choose to read in their spare time after graduating. But there are many benefits in developing a reading habit. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. First, pick a book you're excited about
You're done with school now. Pick something you actually want to read. No need to suffer through dense history or classic novels. It doesn't matter what genre your book is. It can be a contemporary or hardcore science fiction. As long as you're genuinely interested or excited to read it, you're set. You'll be much more motivated to keep reading if you're actually invested in the book.
2. Set aside a few minutes to read each day
Start by carving out just 10 minutes from your schedule to read. You can read at night before bed, in the morning after you wake up or even over lunch. Pick a time during your day that is most convenient for you. Make it as easy on yourself as you possibly can. If you're reading a little each day, that book will be done before you know it.
3. Break it down chapter by chapter
Some books can seem intimidating with their thick spines and 500+ page count. But if there is a big book you really want to read, don't stress. Just take it one chapter at a time. If it's a non-fiction book, you can even skip around if you want. You could change your reading goal from a time limit to a single chapter a day. The goal here is to make your reading work for you. You're out of school. No need to assign yourself work you don't want to do.
4. Have a book with you at all times
Having a book available to you at all times during the day can also increase your reading. Next time you're waiting at the doctor's office or in line at the grocery store, pull out your book and read a few pages. This works especially well if you have a busy schedule. Any time there's a slow period, take out your book. You'll be amazed how much reading you can get done in these short bursts.
5. If print isn't working, try ebook or audio
Some people fall in love with the experience of reading works on a page. But other people prefer ebooks or audiobooks. Both formats offer more portability and flexibility. If you want to have a book with you all the time, it's much easier to keep it on your phone than in your bag. Ebooks are also a good option if you're self-conscious about reading a book in public. With audio, you can plug in your headphones and listen to a story while running errands or folding laundry. Audiobooks greatly increase your ability to multitask.
6. Prioritize reading over other activities
Ultimately, if you really want to read a lot more in your free time, prioritize it over everything else. Instead of turning on Netflix, pick up a book. You don't have to stop binging your favorite shows completely, of course. But deciding to read more often over watching House of Cards means you'll be reading more often. Besides, if you're really investing in a particular book, you'll probably actually want to pick it up instead of Hulu.