Better one than none.

For most people, gone are the days when we had so much leisure time away from our phone, enough to slip in half an hour of reading a book.

I have tons of books at home, compiled through the years. Books that were given to me as gifts. Books that I’ve bought from author friends. Books that I read *of* in bestsellers lists. One thing is common about many of these books — They remain unread! 😀

Yes, that’s right! Books unread. Some still trapped in their shrink-wrap cover. For the past three years, I’ve been gathering books to read, and the books just kept gathering dust.

If you’re into reading every day, good for you. Move along because this article is not for you.

This is for people who have forgotten the habit of daily reading. This is for people who have gotten hooked on too much social media, cat videos, mobile games and other stuff that fill-up your waking hours more than you want.

Here’s how to read more soul-enriching books this year.

Rule #1: OPAD = One Page A Day

That’s it. Simple.

Read one page a day.

Every day, same time, same place, commit yourself to this simple routine.

Surely you can make time during the day to read one page a day, right? That’s just 3 minutes of your day, even less. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to not be able to set aside 3 minutes a day?

It’s so simple that it would be ridiculous to fail to do it. And that’s by design.

You want to create a No Excuses Minimum Action (NEMA).

Your NEMA must be ridiculously so small and simple that it would be unthinkable to give the excuse: “I didn’t have time” or “I didn’t have energy” or “I forgot”.

One page a day empowers your mind to start reading. No pressure about needing to read an entire chapter that would consume your entire lunch hour.

One page a day empowers your mind to get one thing done regardless of your energy level. In fact, when you get one page done, you could even feel more energized because you got one thing done, down pat. Yey!

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” 
–  Gretchen Rubin

One page a day must be designed so that there is no need to “remember” to do it.  And here’s the secret sauce … 

Rule #2: Embed OPAD into an existing routine

For instance, list down any 10 existing routines you *already* do every day.

* Brush teeth
* Read / listen / watch morning news
* Eat breakfast
* Take a dump
* Commute to work
* Eat Lunch
* Coffee break
* Commute home
* Eat Dinner
* Watch TV — what, you still watching TV?!?!
* Browse FB before sleeping

Find a routine time of the day when you’ll put your book “along the tracks” of another regular routine you already do. It’s just a matter of deliberately having your book handy while you’re doing the old routine.

For example, if you commute to work every day, could you just pack your book in the outer pocket of your bag? If on the usual commute you doze off, could you commit to slipping in even just three minutes to read just one page?

Or if you spend time in the evening mindlessly browsing cat videos before going to bed, could you place a book by your bedside table and slip in one page of reading before you hit the “next video” button?

Place that book where you will encounter it every day, and commit to reading one page a day. That’s it.

This simple trick has 10x’d my book reading time. And it could multiply your reading time as well!

Can you guess what happens after you read one page? 

What happens is, you bring yourself to read one page (better than none). And while you’re at it, almost surely you’ll go for a second page. Then a third page. Maybe even an entire chapter! And you’re reading the additional pages only if you want to, no pressure.

Rule #3: Be ready to let go after one page

The point is, you don’t want some internal subconscious guilt feelings when you do less today than yesterday. If you give in to that kind of pressure, you’re going to feel bad about yourself and start avoiding the bad feeling — possibly by quitting the OPAD rule.

So just do the minimum. You did better than most of your non-reading years. Anything after one page is a bonus. One page (or more) every day. Yey!

That’s it! Here’s to you reading more books this year! Better one than none. 

Image via pixabay