The Habit of Reading

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”

 – W. Somerset Maugham

Image of quotation marks.

Why I chose this quote

In a busy world, the idea of making reading a habit really appeals to me. We often think of habits as bad things – and some of them are. But a habit is just something consistently triggered by something else. 

Finish a task – get coffee. Have a bad day – eat pizza. Notice the weather is good – schedule a lunchtime walk. Have a quiet Sunday morning – pick up a book. These are all habits. And unless I have a lot of bad days, none of them are likely to become a problem.

Just think, if you can form habits like these without even trying, imagine what you can achieve with a bit of effort. You really could construct a refuge. And let’s be honest, we could all do with one of those.

The need for refuge is a big part of why I write, and one of the reasons I enjoying reading too. Escaping into a book can be comforting during difficult times. The key is to be discerning about what you read. Don’t be afraid to drop a book that isn’t working for you. There’s no reward for not making yourself feel better.

What this quote means to me

Reading can be an escape, a reward, a distraction, or an alternative to a habit you want to break. Reading can be anything you want it to be. If you do it every time a particular thing happens, reading will become a habit. And before you know it, you will have constructed a refuge you can return to again and again.

Is reading a habit for you? What’s your cue to pick up a book?

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