You know those reading insights on your Kindle or Audible account that tell you how many days in a row you’ve read? They lie.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they make some people feel really good. And justifiably so. Who doesn’t like the competition with oneself involved in keeping a streak? But I always know they’re lying to me.
Right now, my Kindle tells me that I’ve read 23 days in a row. It’s wrong. I’ve read every day. Every. Single. Day. For years and years. Just maybe not on my Kindle.
I developed a daily reading habit years ago. I couldn’t even say when for certain, but I don’t plan to stop. Reading is more than a hobby for me. I’ve studied all the positive outcomes of reading every day. That’s why I’m here to explain why you should read every day too.
Why You Should Read Every Day
Do you want to be smarter, make more money, and have less stress? A daily reading habit can help you accomplish those things. It might even make you look better, although I doubt any scientist has proven it. But they have found many other reasons you should read every day.
Reading Makes You Smarter
Readers score higher on intelligence tests, starting in childhood.
Reading is an active mental process that often replaces a passive activity like watching TV.
People who read have higher GPAs, higher intelligence, a more diverse vocabulary, and greater general knowledge than those who don’t.
Simply, reading gives you tools in your analytical toolbox. It helps make you a better thinker.
Reading also engages your brain, which essentially is working the muscles in your mind. The brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy now and over time. Reading gives it the exercise it needs.
Reading Reduces Stress
I enjoy little more than sitting on my patio in the breeze or in a warm bubble bath and reading a good book. If you know this feeling, you easily understand how science has repeatedly proven that reading reduces stress and increases relaxation.
Reading is a form of escape, helping you forget the daily hassles of life and enjoy the world outside of your own. This escapism is probably why I don’t force myself to read books I don’t enjoy. Reading a book you don’t enjoy is stressful. I’d rather find pleasure in the hobby.
Reading Makes You a Better Writer
OK, so not everyone is interested in this outcome, but those who read this blog probably are.
Everything you read — good or bad — helps to inform your writing. It increases your vocabulary and exposes you to various writing and storytelling styles. Even if you hate the piece, it shows you what you don’t want to do to your own readers.
Reading’s positive relationship with writing alone is enough to keep me doing it.
Reading Improves Your Focus
Internet consumption, much of which is done via mobile devices, makes it increasingly difficult for us to focus. Something is always ringing, dinging, pinging, or buzzing at us.
The barrage of incoming information is eroding our attention spans. So much so that the average attention span is just more than eight seconds and has steadily decreased during the last two decades. I even saw research from Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, that says humans have lower attention spans than goldfish. I’m not entirely sure how you measure a goldfish’s attention span, but the point stuck with me.
We have to retrain our minds to focus on the tasks at hand and not be, as I call it to my husband, so “shiny.” We can’t be distracted by every little thing in the environment around us, so much so that we lose the ability to do deep work. Reading books helps you practice and maintain your ability to focus.
Reading Boosts Your Self-Esteem
The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become. This knowledge brings confidence, which builds self-esteem as people begin to look to you for advice and answers.
Reading Gives You Something to Discuss
I am so socially awkward. I’m terrible at small talk and always embarrass myself by trying to fill pauses in conversation.
You’ll never run out of things to talk about with new or old acquaintances when you read every day. You can always revert to something you read recently or are reading.
I love it when people ask me what they should read or share with me a title they think I’ll enjoy. Although, I do feel a bit sorry for them. Like, “Are you really prepared for this discussion?”
Reading Improves Creativity
Reading requires you to use your imagination. Even if you’re like me and assign famous actors to most of the characters in your books, that still requires some creativity.
Reading exposes you to new ideas, information, and ways of thinking. It helps spur creativity and develop your creative thinking. In short, exposure to ideas generates more ideas!
Reading Decreases Boredom
Have you ever taken an international flight or sat in a waiting room for an appointment you were on time for? If so, you know how long and tedious these things can feel. But I’m never upset, even when someone I’m meeting for a meeting or meal is late. I always respond, “Don’t worry! You know I have a book.” What most people view as boring, wasted time I see as an opportunity. I never worry about being bored because I can always read, and I never tire of doing that.
Reading Helps You Make More Money
Reading in your discipline helps you increase your expertise and become more specialized. It can help prepare you for new jobs or advances in your existing field.
How to Develop a Daily Reading Habit
Now that you understand why you should read every day, I bet I know what you’re thinking. It’s something like, “That’s great, Kenna, but how the heck am I supposed to read every day? I’d love to, but I just don’t have time for it.”
Not to sound like a jerk, but you make time for things that are important to you. Also, note that I didn’t say you should read hundreds of pages daily or even for a certain amount of time. The only requirement is that you read every day.
3 ways to develop a daily reading habit:
- Always Have Something to Read. You’re likely to have unexpected pockets of time throughout your day. They’re a perfect time to read. But you may not have a book, so you waste time on your phone instead. That’s why I always have a digital book going. No matter where I am, I can open my Kindle or library app and pick up on reading my book.
- Listen to Books. Audiobooks count! It’s not open for discussion. When you can’t read, listen. Listen to books while you get ready for your day, during your commute, or while you run errands or complete household chores. You can likely get in a book or more a week just by listening.
- Read to Relax. Many people earmark time in the morning while they drink their coffee or at the end of the day before they fall asleep to read. Making reading part of your start-up or wind-down rituals goes a long way toward establishing a daily reading habit.
Happy Daily Reading
Overall, reading is an enjoyable hobby that results in many intangible health benefits and positive, tangible life outcomes. Perhaps the most important benefit of reading is that it makes you a life-long learner.
I hope this post convinced you of the importance of developing a daily reading habit if you don’t already have one. And, as always, happy reading.