HOW WE BECOME CONSISTENT OR INCONSISTENT READERS

A broad categorization of readers is consistent and inconsistent readers. Consistent readers are individuals who read at stipulated time intervals often with specific reading goals while inconsistent readers are individuals who fail to read over stipulated periods or intervals and have no specific reading goals.

My experience running a reading community reveals that many people love the idea of reading perhaps they understand they should read more but they find themselves not doing so. When you announce the titles, you see people excited and filled with great resolve to crush the goal but after a short period of ecstasy the vibe burns out and they are back to where they used to be. So how do you become the kind of reader you are (consistent and inconsistent)?

Before going straight into the “How” let me make it clear that no one is born to be consistent or inconsistent. We all come into the world equal however, our circumstance is then shaped by different factors that we will discuss.

YOUR HABITS: You become consistent or inconsistent with reading through your habits. Habits are behaviors or routines that you perform regularly which then occur subconsciously(a). These behaviors are often unnoticed when you exhibit them (looking harmless) because you often do not need to ask yourself questions when they occur. They often look inconsequential to question. To be consistent, you need to exhibit habits that produce that outcome so also it is for inconsistency. Remember again that no reader was born consistent or inconsistent, your habits make you the type of reader you are.  Some habits that define consistency and inconsistency include:

Habits that breed consistencyHabits that breed inconsistency
Always prioritizing readingNever prioritizing reading
Reading each day irrespective of how much.Skipping days
Have specified reading timeNo specified reading time
Set reading goalsNo thought is given to reading goals
Collects a ‘To be read list”Never keeps a ‘To be read list’

The above habits and many others compound over time and the outcome is who you are now.

FACT 1: Your habit is what makes you a consistent or inconsistent reader.

ACTION 1: List out your reading habits and identify if each one helps you become consistent or inconsistent.

YOUR MINDSET: Successful reading is a factor of your mindset. Your mindset is your belief system. Those things you know and accept about yourself. Your level of consistency or inconsistency is a product of your mindset, a positive and favorable mindset will make you consistent while a negative and limiting mindset makes you inconsistent. The thing about mindset is that it controls your identity (how we perceive you perceive yourself) because once you accept a particular opinion of yourself it becomes easy to allow your allegiance to such mindset to impact your decisions and actions. Some mindset that shapes your reading include:

  • I am a very busy person mindset: This is the most challenging mindset people deal with. They tell you how busy they are meanwhile been busy is not the actual challenge because if you give them the entire day free, they will most likely end up not reading. When I handle people, who are in this category and want to set themselves free, I begin with a little experiment to help them realize the truth. It goes like this:

Me: How busy are you?

Client: Very busy; I do this and that and I have only a little time for myself.

Me: Good, I then ask: “When last did you eat something?”

Client: They say the last time they ate, often not more than two mealtimes away.

Me: How come you find time to eat despite you been a very busy person?

Client: Looks at me with surprise (if over the phone, I sense the surprise in their tune) and then goes: “It is essential I eat to stay alive”

Me: There goes the reason why your claimed busy nature is stopping you from reading. Accept the hard truth, you do not see reading as essential yet. It is not yet a priority for you.

Our priorities determine how we spend our time. If reading is a priority for you, you will find 10 – 30 minutes daily to read even if it means reading during off-times from work, reading when using the convenience, reading over lunch or dinner, reading when on transit home, etc. I do these very often when my day is so busy than normal. See this article on “Sustaining Your Reading During Busy Days”. The idea is since you can’t change the amount of time available, you change your approach to the task (reading). Stop waiting to have an entire hour where you sit comfortably at your comfort to read. It may never happen and you end up being an inconsistent reader. The image below went viral some time ago on social media. Right in that picture is a clear example that being busy is no excuse for not reading. Prioritize reading and find a way around it.

A Determined Reader. (Credit: Unknown, image gotten through social media)
  • Reading is not for me mindset: Sounds funny but people dealing with this mindset are numerous. For some reason you conclude reading is not your thing, or it serves no benefit for you. When they thought to read comes what happens is that even before you pick up the book, your mind magnifies the message and echoes it to you that you are on a time and effort wasting activity, that reading is not for you and you gradually yield and drop the book. When this happens you just decided which side of the divide to belong to (inconsistent readers).
  •  I can’t get the books I want: Forty-five (45%) of people are trapped here. They are unable to read consistently because they believe they can’t get the particular book they want to read. If you change this mindset and find a way around the challenge (visit the library, visit a friend’s place that has books, read e-books, do book swaps, borrow books, etc.) you will become more consistent.

FACT 2: Your mindset controls influence your actions.

ACTION 2: Reevaluate your mindset and make the necessary adjustments.

YOUR LEVEL OF DISCIPLINE AND ACCOUNTABILITY: When you fail to show discipline and accountability, you tolerate attitudes and excuses that stop you from reading consistently. A disciplined and accountable reader becomes consistent with time as they can put in the required effort.

FACT 3: Your level of discipline and accountability either makes you a consistent or inconsistent reader.

ACTION 3: Show discipline and accountability towards your reading goals.

ReadbookNG promotes reading, empowers, and connects readers while also helping readers become fulfilled through reading. We run a reading community and looking forward to organizing physical campaigns to draw attention to the benefits of active reading.

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