We can’t stress enough how vital it is for a man to be well-read. Both Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were known to be voracious readers and so were most of the great men of history we tend to admire and respect. That’s because reading connects us to great thinkers. Your world explodes when you allow yourself to delve deeper into new environments and personal experiences through a good novel or thoughtfully researched non-fiction. Literature will make you more knowledgeable, more compassionate and empathetic while expanding your vocabulary as well.
But in the age of smart phones and binge-watching, technology has been steadily replacing the entertainment and practice of relaxing with a good book in your lap. According to the latest research from the National Endowment for the Arts, fewer and fewer Americans are reading for pleasure. In 2017, 48% of adults in the United States read no books at all. But we should be reading. Compared to other media—especially television watching—reading is an active process that engages several parts of our brain and demands much more from us neurologically. The process of reading has the power to reduce stress and improve concentration. But you’ve got to want to do it. Here’s how you can get back to reading more long-form in real life.
Pick Your Pleasure
There has to be a desire to read it in order to put in the time and effort to start reading again. If you begin a book and find your mind wandering or interest lacking for several sessions in a row, there’s no shame in putting it down and choosing something else to read. Especially in the beginning, you want to find books that you’re looking forward to getting through.
Go for Length
In order to help you develop a regular reading routine, you want to read books or at the very least, long feature-length articles. These are the pieces that improve our focus, concentration and attention skills.
Create a Reading Ritual
Designate a block of time to reading (and the longer you’ve got, the more you’ll benefit). Choose a time when you are least likely to be distracted, be it before bed or during your lunch hour. Find a comfortable place to sit and make something of a ritual out it—this will make you look forward to reading. Throw in a glass of wine or a comfy pillow and you’re set.
Keep Your Book Handy
If you want to read more, keep your reading material with you at all times. Bring your book with you throughout the day and anytime you’ve got a few spare moments, squeeze in a little reading. It passes the time and helps strengthen your “reading muscle.”