If you are anything like Panda here, you have a bookcase (whether that’s in your home, virtual or in your local library) full of books waiting to be read. You want to power through them all but there never seems to be enough time. So you set a reading goal.
Reading goals are great in theory. They can inspire you to pick up more books than you normally would, and encourage you to read different genres, authors or styles. But they can also become unwieldy, heavy things, putting you off the thing you wanted to do most.
Here are my top tips for setting reading goals that are easy to achieve, and actually increase the number of books you’re reading…
1. Focus on habits, not on numbers
If you want to read more books, it’s natural to want to set a goal that puts a figure on that. One of the most common reading goals is to read 52 books in a year – one a week. However, that completely ignores the fact that some books are shorter, some are longer, some you can whiz through and some require far more brain power. You can get behind easily, then end up dropping your goal as you think there’s no way you could catch up.
Don’t focus on numbers. Instead, use your reading goal to develop habits that will stay with you throughout your life. For example, my habit is to read for ten minutes before I go to sleep. I do this every night, and have done for years. Getting into the habit was hard, but now that I have it, I can’t even contemplate sleep without picking up my book first. Make sure the habit suits you. If you’re an early riser, you could fit in a page or two before breakfast. Maybe you want to make sure you read at least something on both days of the weekend? Set up your goal, watch it become a habit and your future self will thank you!
2. Use your goal to broaden your horizons
Let’s be honest, if you’re setting a reading goal then you’re already someone who likes to learn. Why not use that reading goal to dip your toes into something unusual to you? Setting a goal such as ‘I want to read more books from other countries than I do from my own country’ or making sure a certain percentage of the books you read are by LGBTQ+ authors, for example, will set your focus on your book choices rather than the number of books you read. Less stress, and you end the year with a much broader viewpoint than when you started it.
3. Don’t lose sight of why you set the goal
When you start a new year, what is going through your mind when you set your reading goals? I’m willing to bet that you set your goal to read more books because you LOVE reading. Don’t let an overbearing reading goal ruin that! Your love of reading will be with you for life if you nurture it, look after it and treat it gently. Your Goodreads reading list probably won’t be.
4. Have fun with it!
There are literally thousands of reading challenges which you can find through a google search (or browse #readingchallenge on Instagram). Use these to make your reading goal a bit more dynamic. Read the alphabet (book titles which begin with each letter of the alphabet), only read books with a certain colour cover each month, read as many books as possible which have a character with your first name. It doesn’t matter what you do, but these will help focus your mind and keep your reading experience fun.
The great thing about reading challenges on Instagram is that there will be a big community of lovely readers there to chat to – they’ll help keep you on track too.
Reading goals are there to be achieved, not to beat yourself up over. Try stepping away from the numbers this year (and ignore how many books other people read!) and hopefully you can inject some more of that wonderful enjoyment into your reading.
You might also like: