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The Power of a Page: A Guide to Creating a Lasting Reading Habit

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Making reading a daily habit can be beneficial for your mental, emotional and overall wellbeing. As a college student who already has a bunch of textbook chapters and assignments to read for, reading for fun may seem overwhelming and unnecessary. We may simply not have enough hours in the day to block off time to read for fun because of commitments like work and extracurriculars, not to mention the loads of homework, projects, and labs that demand our time. By selecting the right material and committing to a daily practice, there will definitely be benefits in the long term to reading for pleasure every day. 

Before starting a book or in the beginning of your reading journey, it’s important to establish a goal and a “why” so that the motivation you have on January 1st, or on Monday morning, lasts for a long time until it becomes permanent. This is similar to establishing a goal before hitting the gym. For some, it may be running a number of miles, a certain weight goal, or it may be going for five out of the seven days of the week. Similarly, before we start a reading journey, we should establish a goal. This may be finishing a novel in two weeks, or maybe the entire series by the end of the next month. 

Setting this goal will help us focus on accomplishing it whenever we don’t feel like reading. If the goal is to read 100 pages this week, it may be easy to postpone it until the last day. This is why it’s important to set daily goals in addition to your overall goal; this will help to develop a habit and fulfill your goals in the process. Going back to the example of reading 100 pages this week, a good way of making sure you’re making progress is setting a goal of 15 pages every weekday and 20 on the weekends. Make sure these goals are realistic for you and your schedule overloading yourself will only cause you to lose motivation. No matter how small the daily goal, make it achievable. This will help you build that habit, no matter how small, and assure you that you’re making progress over the course of a couple weeks. 

Something else that’s important is to choose meaningful material. Sometimes, when I start out on this goal of mine, I search for the most meaningful, most impactful books and lose interest within the first couple of days. When the motivation is missing, the book itself should become the motivation. When you’re first starting off, choose a book you’ll truly enjoy. Not everything you read has to have life motivation and inspiration for your career. When you start, it might be helpful to read something fun, like mystery, science fiction, contemporary, suspense, romance, or whatever else seems the most appealing to you. I tend to stick to my reading goal a lot more when I’m reading something that I just can’t seem to put down. 

I hope this guide will be of help to you, because reading is one of my favorite activities. It’s crazy how sometimes in my life I seem to have so much time and energy for it, while sometimes I don’t even have time to open a book. Whatever you read, even if it’s not about world wars and the presidential elections, just know that you’re helping yourself, your brain, and your soul grow all together. Happy reading!

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Tharegha Manoharan

U Mass Amherst '27

Tharegha Manoharan is a freshman at UMass Amherst majoring in Chemical Engineering. She loves to write about various topics in many styles, and is an excited new member of Her Campus. In her free time, Tharegha listens to music, watches movies and spends time with her family and friends.