How To Read Books (Even When You Hate Reading)
Why reading books is hard and how to ease the pain
You want to be successful.
Every day business gurus tell you to that reading books is the key to success.
There is a good chance you’ve already tried reading, only to find out how boring it is and how much you hate doing it.
If that’s your case, you are in the right place.
I can help you because I used to be you.
I had always hated reading, in fact, in school, I used to be the kid that hadn’t opened a single book during the summer and was proud of it.
All that changed last year when I decided to push myself and figure it out.
I quickly found out that motivation isn’t enough and you need a good reason to be able to get through all the moments you’d want to throw the book out of the window.
This article is the thing I needed to get my hands on when a year ago. It’d have saved me a ton of time.
And that’s why the best thing to begin with is:
Why do you hate reading?
We’re all different. Some of us have tried reading once, found that’s boring and then proudly wear the badge for years.
Others, never really tried it or became traumatized by a school teacher and never stopped to perceive reading as this thing I hate with a passion.
These are all good reasons, but I believe there’s more to it. There is something that makes people not wanting to read even though we’ve never had easier access to books.
And this thing is called: the Internet.
The Internet made it possible to have everything you want in a click away.
We no longer have the patience to wait in lines, instead, we shop on Amazon. We no longer can sit without doing nothing, we need to be doing something, scrolling, chatting, watching. This affects our attention span like nothing else.
We’re at an all-time low, there even a few researchers saying that a goldfish has a higher attention span than the average internet user.
You can make an experiment and see for yourself. Start scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Do it for at least 15minutes ( won’t be so hard ). Now open some long article and try reading.
It’s pretty hard, isn’t it?
Now, you must know by now why it’s so hard to read and so few can manage it.
Let’ continue with pumping some motivation into your veins.
Benefits of reading
- 1. Reading improves analytical skills
Different researchers have found that reading improves your analytical thinking skills. Because it keeps your mind elastic and active. It improves your mental capabilities and it makes you able to spot patterns quicker.
It helps you gain more knowledge and thus, get better at comparing and examining things. Your brain can remain active even after you read your book. Sometimes this can last for at least several days afterward.
- 2. Reading improves your memory
When you read a book you have to remember different characters, the main plot and all the subplots. All these points throughout the story are new memories created in your brain, which means that your brain adds memory storage capacity without actually trying.
- 3. Stress reduction
Researchers have demonstrated that reading can reduce stress by around 65%. So you can reduce stress while learning new things.
Sounds like a good deal, isn’t it?
- 4. Reading expands your vocabulary
This one should probably go without mentioning but here I am. The more you read, the more words you get exposed to. The more words you get exposed to, the more you start using.
The more you start using, the more well-spoken you get – you got my point. If you want to win more arguments, look and feel way more clever. Read!
- 5. Improves concentration and attention span
Reading forces you to pay attention to only thing at a time. This improves your focus, concentration and most importantly – your attention span.
With all those smartphones in our hands, we’ve destroyed our attention spans to the point that when we need to focus on one task at a time we find it hard.
Reading helps you fix that problem because, to be able to understand a book, you need to focus.
- 6. Improves your writing skills
If you want to be a writer or just to develop your writing skills.
You must read. A lot.
Actually, every successful writer will tell you the exact same thing. It works the same way with the composers. You want to write amazing music, you listen to different composers, study the way they structure their pieces.
And often, subconsciously you get influenced by the greatest ( probably one of the reasons for the high amount of lawsuits in the last years ).
- 7. Knowledge
During the whole human history, on the earth have lived approximately 100 billion people.
100 billion people.
The first evidence of written language goes back to 5 000 years ago.
Can you grasp how much knowledge is that?
Take a second and think about it. There is literally no better source than books to learn wisdom. To learn what to do and what not to. To learn how to win at life and how not to lose.
Only in books, one can read about all great people and the way they’ve lived and learn from it.
Just think about it.
Hundreds of hundreds of people had spent their whole lives learning through trial and error and then had written everything down.
And nowadays, we can go on Amazon get a book and read everything someone might have needed a whole lifetime to learn. And we can do it in a period of a week.
Every single problem you’ve ever encountered had already been someone else’s problem too and that guy had probably even written a book about it. The history of humankind is way too long for that not to have happened.
Most problems we face today are the same problems people have been facing for decades.
As Otto von Bismarck has put it:
“Only fools learn from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others”.
If all this doesn’t make consider starting to read, I don’t think something ever will.
Hopefully, you have already a few good reasons to read and a new determination to start. Now, we let’s get to the most important part of this article – how to actually start reading on a daily basis and make it less of a pain in the ass.
Strategies to develop a reading routine
- 1. Tie it up to a habit
Presumably, your goal is to read every day. The best way to accomplish this is to tie it up to a habit, which you already do daily. For example, I hope you brush your teeth every night and since you do it, you can use that to incorporate reading into your evening routine.
Just open a book right after you finish brushing your teeth.
It’s hard to build a new habit out of nowhere and that’s why you have to tie it up to something you already do.
This works well because it helps the brain to get familiar with the new routine faster. And it removes the need to practice a few months to make it a steady habit.
In my case, I tried it but it didn’t work out because I tend to be too tired in the evening and have non-existent willpower to push myself. Until I found another way to incorporate it .
- 2. Use your willpower smart
That’s what worked for me. My routine is simple. I wake up, brush my teeth, make myself a coffee and then read. “But why this works” – you ask. It‘s effective due to the high amounts of willpower we have in the morning.
This makes it so much easier to push yourself. The key to trick is to not turn on any electronic devices. They’re going to take your attention away thus making it much harder to get back to reading. For your brain there’re way more interesting things than reading.
I actually use both tactics. I tie it up to a habit ( brushing my teeth and drinking coffee ). And also use the high amount of willpower that I have in the morning.
- 3. Set a goal
Now, how to make yourself stick to it every single day and not bail out in the next few days?
Set a milestone that you want to accomplish every day.
Challenge yourself to finish 20 pages a day or keep reading for 40 minutes. This work wonders because you start perceiving it as a challenge and thus begin pushing yourself slightly more than usual.
You can set a goal and then after accomplishing it, you can always read more. Just the thought, that once you get it done – it’s done, will make you commit longer.
I read for an hour every morning and if I get immersed in the book I usually continue until I finish a chapter.
- 4. Choose your books wisely
That’s crucial. We all have a friend that complains how much he hates to read. The funny thing is, always when you ask what they’ve read, they answer with – “I started this book about having positive energy”. If you don’t want to be a part of this group, listen up
Don’t read books that don’t excite you.
That’s why you hate doing it. You have to read about things you want to learn, things you have a problem with or something that genuinely excites you.
For example, you know you are a lazy ass and have decided to finally change that. Go and pick up a book about productivity and discipline, don’t force yourself to read “how to repair your truck guides” or some fluffy stories.
When I was starting out, I made a list of things I wanted to learn. Then went on the internet and researched for a week to find books that made me genuinely excited.
- 5. Always carry a book
You don’t have time for reading, I get it. Apart from the fact that if you don’t have 20 minutes a day, you probably don’t have a life, an easy fix is to always carry a book with you.
And let’s not begin with the excuses. One can always find 10 minutes here and there. While you wait for the bus/train. While you wait for the friend who is always late.
When you go into the bathroom, take your book instead of your phone.
A clever tip I can give you is to stop listening to music when you travel. Or when you have some minutes to waste, do not turn your internet on. You will eventually get bored and open your book.
- 6. Audio-books
So, you’ve read the whole article and then have spent the following month trying every single advice I gave you. However, nothing worked and you can proudly say that you really do hate reading.
Let me introduce you to audio-books. It’s a cool feature that lets you listen to audio versions of books. So with that, you can work out and “read”, you can cook, you can eat. You can literally do everything you want that doesn’t require much of your attention and gather knowledge at the same time.
- 7. Determination
My father always says that if you do something, do it well or don’t do it at all. Here I will follow his example and say – if you want to read, then do it and don’t bail out the second it gets hard.
Don’t wait for the day when you are going to have the motivation, that day never comes. Just push yourself, and trust me, it gets easier with the time.
It’s hard to make a new habit stick especially when you’ve never done it before. That’s why you should figure out what your “why” is.
Knowing the deep reason behind your actions will help like nothing else to push yourself through the moments you don’t feel like continuing.
To sum up
Contrary to what everyone preaches, there are plenty of successful people who don’t read at all ( Garry Vaynerchuk for example ). It’s okay if you don’t do it.
On the other hand, reading books could be hard to begin with but incredibly beneficial in the long run. I hate saying it because it’s such a cliché but it’s been life-changing for me. It made me learn so many things about myself, about the world we live in, about history and much, much more.
At the end of the day, the choice is only yours as well as your destiny.