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Making reading habits with James Clear

Updated: Jan 11

James Clear is behavioral psychology expert, famous author who writes about making healthy habits. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones has been 10 million. This is a helpful book that guides readers creating healthy habits based on four rules:

  1. Make it obvious

  2. Make it attractive

  3. Make it easy

  4. Make it satisfying

Based on these rules, you can build any good habits you want. If you want to be happier in life, reading books is important and necessary. It is very difficult for us to start and maintain this habit, but you are able to practice to improve our reading skills by using different strategies. In this post, I give you some suggestions that allow you to maintain reading habits and accumulate knowledge for yourself.

The 1st law: Make reading obvious

Have you ever asked why you can access social media platforms more often than reading books? You know the answer, don't you? This is because you always have your phone beside you and each time you feel bored or take a break, you check newsfeed or scroll short videos on different social media platforms effortlessly. You watch TV as the controller is put on the sofa. That is a point. Most of our habits and behaviors stem from responses to the cue and signals in our surrounding environment. Thus, we can make use of this tendency for making more obvious things that trigger our reading habits.

Placing a book in visible places which sparks your reading habits. Add this small step to your daily routine. For example, if you wake up every morning and find your phone, you can put a book beside the phone. After getting out of bed, you should put the book on your pillow and basket. When you go to bed at night, the book is always there for you. These actions remind you to read a book before doing anything else.

Setting up the reading or book app on the main screen, and hiding social media platform apps. Everytime you turn on your phone, you can easily access a book you want to read, which prompts you to open a book and start reading a few pages.

Creating a cozy place for reading books. Normally, a habit gathers different associations. In your brain, a bed might be associated with a habit of sleeping and a computer is associated with a habit of playing games. Thus, making a comfortable location at home for reading is very important. Everytime you try to read a book in your corner, you naturally feel happy and more enjoyable in this place. This is because your body will create the dopamine hormone that encourages your happy feeling that creates a habit in your thoughts. Therefore, you can start your reading journey more consistently.

The 2nd law: Make reading attractive

Habits have a tendency to turn up in our mind when they seem attractive and enjoyable.

Discussing a book with your friends. As I mentioned in the previous post, this action allows you to see which part you understand and can remember, and which part you do not understand or not. This strategy also works in this case. When you speak to a book with your friends who used to read this book, you are more interested in it. This is because you find something new in the book with other views. Each time you discuss with others, you accumulate knowledge and life experience.

James Clear wrote: “Join a group where your desired behavior is the normal behavior.” in his book. We are individuals and we can't live separately from our social life. To start reading habits, you should join a reading club or book club in your community. Nowadays, we can easily find these kinds of clubs on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Access to avid readers influences your reading journey because they often share their book reviews on social media, and post contents related to books on social media. As a result, you are stimulated by surroundings.

The 3rd law: Making reading easy

You often have more bad habits than good ones as you do bad habits more easily and less effortlessly than healthy ones. You scroll short videos and eat lots of fast food and junk food more often. In contrast, reading a book and learning new things takes your time and effort to finish. There are reasons why we don’t like reading books or learning new things in leisure time.

This rule requires two steps, one is reducing friction, the other is two minute rules.

  • Reducing friction

Please consider what obstacles you have when reading a book. If a book is too thick and you think you can't absorb all the pages, you should choose a small book to start to make it easy to read. If you feel sleepy while reading, you should prepare a cup of tea or coffee that wakes you up.

  • Two minute rules

The suggestion is to make reading habits as easy as possible to begin. You can open a book and read one page. In this rule, reading habit is not like a difficult task. I recommend a plan you can apply and fix it to match your lifestyle.

You should make a habit tracker to follow what you read everyday. This is a google sheet that I use for a long time. To me, each milestone I give myself a medal associated with it.

The 4th law Make reading satisfying

I mention and suggest different strategies to help you feel more enjoyable and make reading easy for you to begin. However, we need to maintain reading habits in the long-term. To sick reading habits, you should find reading helpful and exciting.

Don't care much about best-seller books or books that are highly recommended by book reviewers. You should read books related to your preference and what you are interested in. No matter the topic or genre, your satisfying experience is more important. If you immerse yourself in fantasy books, you read it with joy. No one values your book you are reading.

You should read books that are necessary to you. Everybody has their own challenges and difficulties in life. Some people experience traumas during their childhood, some people struggle with their relationships, some people face financial difficulties. Reading a book can't fix all life issues, but it recommends helpful advice that assists you to live more fulfilled and better than yesterday. You accumulate advice day by day, and one day in the future, you look back, you can see how big you change.

Despite the immense pleasure and gratification derived from your habit, its consistency eludes you. In his literary masterpiece, "Tiny Changes Remarkable Results, Atomic Habits", James Clear draws inspiration from Benjamin Franklin's remarkable journey. Through diligent record-keeping in his personal diary, Franklin tracked and cultivated 13 habits and attitudes. To emulate his success, consider utilizing habit trackers for your reading habits, as suggested in the third rule. The simple act of monitoring your progress will ignite a sense of motivation like no other.

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