The Read More Module Plan

By Leo Babauta

In the Intro to this Read More module, we talked about why we might read more, and the obstacles to forming the habit.

Now let’s get down to the details of how to form the habit.

In this plan, we’ll take a few preliminary steps in the first 1-2 days, and then get down to the actual habit!

Preliminary Steps

Take the first 1-2 days of this month to do the following things:

  1. Pick some books. What books do you want to read this month? Plan to read one main book, but have a backup book just in case you breeze through the first. I love novels and recommend them highly, but non-fiction is also an excellent choice. Also consider whether you want to read on a device like the Kindle or actual paper books. Either is good — just decide beforehand so you don’t go back and forth when the habit actually starts. Stuck on what to read? Here’s my list of recommended books.
  2. Block off some time. When are you going to do your reading? You’ll keep pushing it back if you don’t block off some time. Put an actual appointment on your calendar. It doesn’t have to be long, but I’d block off 30 minutes even if you only plan to read for 10 minutes, just to give yourself some cushion. I also suggest finding time when you can have some quiet — if you’re a parent, can you wake up early or read after the kids go to bed? Maybe you need to get out of the house or office? You might also read on your commute if you take the train and don’t get motion sickness.
  3. Pick a trigger. What thing in your daily routine will directly precede this new reading habit? Pick something that already happens daily around the time you’re blocking off.
  4. Set reminders. Have phone and computer reminders, as well as something paper near where the trigger happens.
  5. Find a space. Where will you read? In bed? On your couch? In the park? I suggest a quiet place where you can get away from distractions.

The Habit Plan

Once you’ve taken the time to do the preliminary steps, you can start your habit!

Each day, when your trigger happens do these steps:

  1. Go to your space. Don’t put it off — make it immediate. Go to the space you’ve chosen for reading, and sit down.
  2. Clear distractions. Turn off your phone. Close your computer. Turn off the TV. Make sure you won’t be distracted.
  3. Get into the mindset with a small ritual of intention. As you start, pause, take a breath, and tell yourself what you plan to do during this session. Something like, “I will read for 10 minutes, not give in to urges to be distracted, and enjoy this lovely time to myself.”
  4. Read for 5-10 minutes to start with. Start small. You can read longer if you are in the flow of things, but in your mind, you should only be required to read for 5 minutes (or 10 if 5 seems ridiculous to you).
  5. Enjoy yourself! This isn’t a chore! It’s a treat. Something to be enjoyed. Love this time, because it’s a gift.
  6. Report your success. When you’re done, log into the Sea Change forum, report your success in the daily challenge thread, or to your accountability team. Or use an app like Lift to keep track of your habit success.

And may I also suggest, after the first week, trying the following:

Just take your book with you, and remind yourself to put the phone away and read your book instead.

Enjoy your lovely reading habit, my friends!