Build a daily reading habit with these *tiny* lifestyle changes and mindset shifts.
“I love reading but I can’t find time to start a book.”
If that’s something you've heard yourself saying for a while now, it’s time to shift your mindset.
As someone who reads 90+ books a year, I’ve understood that building a daily reading habit doesn’t demand *major* lifestyle changes.
You need to have a few tiny habits and stick to them, and watch your productivity as a reader skyrocket.
Excited to finally get over your excuses and start reading more books? Let’s take a look at the twelve tiny habits that help me consistently read 90+ books per year, every year.
1. Create a reading goal
This can be as simple as deciding how many books you want to read in a year.
Then break it down by months and days.
For example, if you want to read 36 books in a year, the breakdown would look like this:
- 3 books per month
- 1 book in 10 days, which translates to —
- ~25 pages/day
Once you know your per-day goal, do this to stick to the plan —
2. Track your reading habit on a calendar
You can use either a digital calendar or even the more old-school printed versions.
Stick a calendar on your wall and mark an ‘X’ on the dates for each day you hit your reading goal.
The more ‘X’s you see in a streak, the more motivated you’ll get to keep up the streak.
Gamifying your reading habit is a powerful way to build accountability.
3. Have a book by your bedside
Read for thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes at night.
This helps you:
- replace your phone with a book, and finally get over the endless hours wasted in mindless social media scrolling, or adding products to your online shopping cart you’ll never buy,
- achieve your 25 pages/day goal, and
- feel more inspired as you fill your head with fresh ideas every morning and night.
Not taking my phone to bed is the best habit I’ve built in my adult life.
4. Start with an ‘easy’ read
If you pick a super tough, research-backed non-fiction book as your first read in months, you might find it hard to continue.
Instead, pick something light, heart-warming, and easy to read.
This helps you quickly get into the rhythm of reading daily.
- Check what’s highly recommended by readers you trust, or
- Revisit an old favorite book.
Once you’re in the flow, reading every day will get easier.
5. Give the book a chance
Most books have a slow build-up. The first few pages don’t completely capture how amazing the rest of the book is.
That’s where most people give up.
They try reading, find it too hard to concentrate, then quit and pick something else. This is a vicious cycle that only has one solution: Aim to read at least 25 pages before calling it quits.
If you leave before, you might miss the magic.
If the book fails to hold your attention even after the first 25 pages, do this:
6. Don’t hesitate to DNF a book
DNF, or “Did not finish,” is a popular term among online readers.
If you’re unable to get into a book, feel no guilt about leaving it midway.
Life is too short to force yourself to enjoy ‘bad’ books.
7. Have a PDF on your phone
This is one of the most underrated productivity hacks that has saved me hundreds of hours and helped me get so much reading done.
Keep a PDF of a book on your phone. You can also have the Amazon Kindle app or any e-reader that lets you read on the go.
Whenever you’re bored and feel like scrolling socials, open the PDF and start reading.
This helps you:
- read even when your book isn’t near,
- finish books faster, and
- get over doom scrolling.
Your phone will turn into a productivity machine with this single hack.
8. Download an audiobook
Once you get the gist of how to make the most of an audiobook, you can listen to one on your phone while:
- eating food, or
- doing menial chores,
This way, you get your work done, and your brain gets to stay active by focusing on the book.
Pro-tip: Read a PDF and listen to the audiobook together for an amazing reading experience.
9. Carry a book wherever you go
A book is your best traveling companion. Read it whenever you get extra time. You can also load your Kindle with ebooks if you want to travel light.
When you do this, you will —
- never get bored,
- increase your knowledge, and
- attract people who share similar genre interests.
10. Don’t try to remember everything
Most people think they must remember everything they read. They pressure their brains into taking note of every important point until things start to get overwhelming.
It’s humanly impossible to remember everything you read in a book. That’s why so many non-fiction readers feel frustrated and give up.
But here’s a mindset shift: you don’t have to absorb it all!
Read with the intention of broadening your perspective, not with the goal of underlining and highlighting every passage that feels important.
Things will hit your memory at unexpected times.
More on effective note-taking here.
11. Find reader friends to discuss your takeaways
Reading is more fun when done together.
Find people interested in your book on Goodreads.
- Join review discussions,
- Read their opinions, and
- Share your perspective.
You’ll learn new things when you see other people’s worldviews.
As a bonus, writing reviews for each book you read will help you organize your thoughts and have them handy for future reference.
12. Stop associating guilt with buying new books 💙
I’ve been guilty of the same.
When I have unread books on my shelf, I feel guilty about buying new books, no matter how badly I want to read them.
But waiting to finish every single book you own before buying new ones can actually be counter-productive.
The solution? Shift the focus:
- You’re not “spending” money on books. You’re “investing” in widening your perspective.
- You’re not “wasting” time. You’re “enjoying” learning new things
With this mindset, you’ll feel happy buying new books, even if you have an anti-library back home.
12 tiny habits to read 30+ books in a year, final words
Reading every day doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to spend hours planning or motivating yourself to start.
Some simple mindset shifts and lifestyle changes can get your reading journey started.
Summing up, here are the twelve tiny habits that help me read 90+ books every year —
- Create a reading goal
- Track your reading habits on the calendar
- Replace your phone with a book before going to bed
- Start with an ‘easy’ read
- Give the book a chance
- Don’t hesitate to DNF a book you aren’t enjoying
- Have a PDF on your phone
- Download audiobooks to listen on the go
- Carry a book wherever you travel
- Don’t hyper-focus on remembering everything you read
- Find reader friends to discuss
- Stop associating guilt with buying new books
How many of these tiny habits do you already practice? What new ones are you inspired to try and incorporate into your life? Let me know your insights in the comments.
For book reviews and recommendations, follow me on Goodreads.