“What kind of reader are you?” This question has been on my mind a lot lately. I have vivid memories of my childhood and how it revolved around the weekly library and bookshop visits and staying up way past my bedtime with a flashlight under my blankets. I also remember not finding a lot of time to read for pleasure throughout college. But, most importantly, I remember what it was like when I started reading again as an adult, what made me excited to read, and what made me want to read more. It wasn’t just about what the book was saying – it was how the story pulled me in and got its hooks into me.
At the end and start of the year, folks think about their goals and resolutions. Some resolve to incorporate reading into their lives. Readers plan to read more books, read more broadly, read more diversely, and or make plans to be more intentional with their reading. But once you’ve set that goal or resolution, how do you go about achieving it? Check out our tips on making and reaching your reading goals and resolutions.
Step 1: Define your reading goals or resolution.
Simply saying I want to incorporate reading into my life, read more books, or read more intentionally isn’t enough. You need to define your reading goals clearly.
- If your goal is to start reading again, what do you want to start reading? What kind of books do you want to read? What does incorporating reading into your life look like for you?
- If your goal is numerical, what is your number? Set it, say it, and write it down.
- If your goal is to read more diversely or intentionally, what does that mean for you? What specifically do you want to be intentional about? What diverse stories or authors do you want to focus on? Get very clear on what this looks like for you.
On the other hand, some readers prefer not to have any specific goals and instead let their reading take them where it may. If this sounds like you, try setting resolutions instead of goals; these are more open-ended and allow more flexibility. Some examples include: reading outside your comfort zone, reading a new genre or type of book each month, or reading for 30 minutes every day.
Step 2: Make plans to achieve your reading goals.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail.” Now that you’ve defined your goals, you need to make a plan to achieve them. Of course, as the weeks and months go by, you may go astray, and that’s ok, but at least you will have a roadmap to help you get back on track.
Make plans to achieve your reading goals by breaking them into smaller, more manageable tasks.
This is especially useful if your reading goal is numerical. For example, if your goal is to read 12 books, you might set a goal and task yourself to read one book per month. This way, you’re still challenging yourself but aren’t putting as much pressure on yourself because you’re pacing yourself.
If your numerical goal is a much larger number, still break it down into weekly goals. If the number per week is unrealistic for you, revise your initial goal and make the number attainable. Remember, reading should be enjoyable, and you don’t want to end your year feeling bad about not making your goal, or at the last minute, you’re in a frenzy to complete it.
Incorporate your reading goals into your other personal goals.
From saving money, exercising, to spending more time with family, you can find creative ways to incorporate reading. If you’re looking for actionable tips on how to do this, check out our “Creative Ways To Incorporate Your Reading Goals Into Your Other Personal Goals” article.
Resources to help you stick to your reading goals:
- If your goal is to read more diversely and you’re unsure where to start or you’re looking for more tips, check out our “How To Read More Diversely Consistently” article.
- Check out our article on “Finding Time To Read for Pleasure When You’re Extremely Busy.”
- Fall into a reading slump? There is no need to fear. Reading slumps happen to even the most thoughtful, dedicated, and diligent of readers. If you’re looking for tips to help, check out our “6 Tips to Help When Reading Feels Hard” article.
Quick tips to help you stick to your reading goals:
- Watch less television and be mindful of your time on social media.
- Schedule reading time if necessary.
- Surround yourself with books and always have a book on hand.
- Join a book club, participate in a reading challenge, tune in to podcasts, subscribe to newsletters and websites that align with your goals.
- Read books that you want to read, not what you think you should be reading.
- Don’t be afraid to stop reading books that aren’t working for you.
Step 3: Keep track of what you read.
We’re all in different stages of our relationship with reading, and the same can be said for tracking our reading. But to get an accurate picture of your reading life, you need to track your reading.
Whichever route you decide to take, keep track of what you’re reading! Tracking your reading will help ensure that you are making progress towards your goals and resolutions.
Step 4: Reflect on Your Reading Life.
This means taking a step back from what you’re doing now or at points during your upcoming reading journey. Then evaluate the books and reading methods that have worked and those that have not.
For example, set milestones where you take stock of what books and stories did and didn’t work for you every month or quarter. This reflection will help guide what kind of reading experience makes the most sense during that particular time in your life. After this reflection, select books that both align with your goals and are working for you at that moment.
Reflecting on your reading life doesn’t have to be an extensive process, but it will help you see if you’re achieving your reading goals and help you develop better plans to achieve them.
Step 5: Take Action!
None of what we’ve discussed here matters if you don’t take action. So this is where you put all of the steps discussed into play and work towards becoming the reader you want to be and achieving those reading goals.
Do you have any reading goals or resolutions?
What are your plans to achieve them? Do you have any tips or tricks that would benefit other readers? Let’s talk about it all in the comments.