By Leo Babauta
If you make your reading challenge yet another chore you have to get through, youâ€™re less likely to actually make it through.
And if you do make it, I promise you that it wonâ€™t be very enjoyable. Youâ€™ll be plowing through your reading just to get on with the rest of your day. You arenâ€™t likely to keep the habit for very long beyond this month.
So whatâ€™s a better way than making it another chore and plowing through?
Creating an enjoyable reading ritual that you will actually look forward to.
I highly recommend this method, even if youâ€™re tempted to skip it. Please read the recommendations below and give them your fullest consideration!
Ideas for a Lovely Reading Ritual
A ritual has a defined beginning, a middle, and an ending, so letâ€™s look at each separately.
- When your reminder goes off (donâ€™t forget to create a daily reminder!), clear away what youâ€™re doing.
- Find your reading spot â€” on your couch, on your patio, in a favorite comfy chair.
- You might brew a cup of tea to enjoy, and clear a little clutter, so that you have a nice environment.
- Consider lighting candles, or having some non-distracting music (classical music maybe?) playing softly in the background. Perhaps have some flowers nearby. Whatever will make this enjoyable for you.
- Set an intention â€” even just a small intention to relax and enjoy the session. Also set a timer.
- The middle part of this ritual is reading, of course. But what are you reading? Choose something enjoyable.
- Focus on the simple joy of reading the text. Let yourself relax into it. Smile, and savor.
- Let go of all thoughts about whatever else you need to do. For the next so many minutes, this is all you have to do. There is nothing else. Everything else will have its time.
- Donâ€™t focus on how many pages you have left to read, how fast youâ€™re reading, how long is left on the timer. Let yourself get lost in the text, savoring it.
- When the timer goes off, you can close your book. If you are enjoying it and you have some extra time, feel free to read longer, but itâ€™s not required.
- Give yourself a bow of gratitude when youâ€™re done. Clean up if you need to, and take a moment to notice how much you enjoyed the session.
- Take a pause for a moment to savor the pleasure of that session before you move on to the rush of your day.
You can add other things to your ritual if they make it more enjoyable. But consider all of these, and see if they help.
A ritual is something you do regularly, and it has a specialness to it. Itâ€™s not just something you rush through or take for granted. If you elevate your reading challenge to a ritual you actually enjoy, this month will be so much better for you.