Posts Tagged ‘reading goals’

I have always loved to read. My grandparents love to tell the story of when I was riding in the backseat of their car at 2 years old, and I yelled at them “PawPaw! Turn the light back on! I’m trying to read!” Somehow over the last few years though, I stopped making reading a priority. I still read lots of books, and I probably still blew by the yearly national average of 12 books without even thinking about it. But I wasn’t making it part of my life. In 2019, I need a goal. I needed to do something for my mental health. I needed something to make me feel like “me” again.  I set a goal to read 100 books, and I ended up reading 101. I wanted to write down some tips for anyone who wants to set a reading goal, whether its 200 books or 20! I am a naturally fast reader, but it doesn’t matter how fast you are if you don’t pick up a book. No matter who you are, and no matter what kind of books you read, reading more books will add more value to your life.  

  1. Set a Goal, Keep a List. If you just say you “want to read more”, it probably won’t happen. And if you don’t keep track of your reading, how will you know if you are reading more? Set a tangible goal of how many books you want to read in a month or year. Write it down, and keep a list of the books you finish. Even if you just read one extra book this year, next year looking at that list might motivate you to read TWO extra books. I am not trying to read the same amount, I decided to make it 52 this year, but I am still keeping track of all the books I read. You can do this in a journal, or online in a notebook like Evernote, like I do. 
  2. Make Reading a Priority. This may seem simple, but you have to learn to fill your spare time with reading. Everyone has extra time in the day, and if you find those 10-15 minutes here or there it starts to really add up. Trade some of those TV/scrolling through your phone/sitting in the carpool line or waiting room minutes for reading, and watch how quickly the books add up! 
  3. Use Your Library! Most libraries now have an e-reader program online that you can check out e-books for your kindle! It’s pretty awesome. You can use your library card for so much more than just physicals books now. Utilize this great local resource! 
  4. Don’t Choose Giant Books. Now, we are going for quality over quantity, so if there is a giant door-stop book you have always wanted to read, go for it! But if your goal is to read more books overall, keep the pages manageable. I think in 2019 I only read maybe 2 400-500 page books. 
  5. Mix Up Your Genres. If every single book you read is the exact same genre/format/etc. it’s bound to get boring after some time. Change it up! Maybe you alternate fiction/nonfiction, YA/Youth/Adult, self-help/memoirs. Reading 100 “business books” in a row would have been hard for me, but I love memoirs so I still learned from people’s stories, even if they weren’t marked as “motivational”. Try something new, you may find a new type of book that you didn’t know you liked! 
  6. Don’t Feel Like You Have to Finish Every Book. Life is too short to read bad books. Sometimes the book isn’t bad, but it’s not right for you RIGHT NOW. If you set it down, and come back to it later it might be the right time down the road. I used to always make myself finish books, but now I put them down if I know they aren’t making me happy. 
  7. Pick a Format That Works For You. Audiobooks, E-readers, Paperback, Hardback, etc. They all count as reading books. Audiobooks do not work well for me. I think out of the 101 only 2-3 were on audio. I WISH I liked them, but when I listen to them I get SO distracted and I will realize I have missed a whole chapter. I just can’t focus on them. If you like audiobooks, then you can get SO much more reading in! Those are great for listening in your car, cooking dinner, doing housework, on a walk, even in the shower! You can literally fit reading into almost any part of your day with audiobooks. Maybe you like carrying your Kindle/ e-reader everywhere you go so you always have a book with you. I love my Kindle but mostly for travel. I do use it at home too, but I still prefer a paperback in my hands. Find out what formats do and don’t work for you and use them! (PS- did you know there is a Free Kindle app for your phone that makes any phone an e-reader!? This is great because it means no matter what, I can get to all my Kindle books on my phone and I am never without a book in my hand in a pinch)
  8. How to Get Out of a Reading Rut: Pick a Palate Cleanser. Something short, fast, easy, and/or enjoyable. Usually, once you get through one enjoyable book you are ready for another one and it gets you back in the reading groove.
  9. Give Yourself Choices. I like to buy Kindle books when they are on super sale so they are waiting for me when I am ready to pick my next book. I also like to go to the library and pick out a whole stack of books that sound good, and then when I get home I figure out which ones I want to read. 
  10. If You Say You Don’t Like To Read, I Think You Just Haven’t Found YOUR Type of Books Yet. I think everyone can be a reader. I think that sometimes we think we should like all the newest releases or the classics or this or that. I think there are books out there written for every type of interest and sometimes you just have to find what interests YOU. I love travel memoirs. I have read hundreds of them.  Give me a story about someone moving to a new country or going on an epic trip around the world and I am in. I don’t however, love mysteries. I have not found a mystery writer yet that makes me want to keep reading. I am determined to keep trying because I am stubborn but just know, that not every book has to be a winner FOR YOU. I don’t read a lot of new releases. If it’s on the years best list, I probably haven’t even picked it up. (Where the Crawdads Sing was the exception and I loved it!) If you think you don’t like reading, try out a few different types of books until you figure out what genre you do like. 

There are a lot of resources for people who want to read more in their lives. One podcast I love that helped me find lots of new books is “What Should I Read Next”.  Anne gets people to call in and tell her three books they love, and one book they don’t, and then she recommends three new books for them to try. It’s a great way to learn about books to read and she changes up the interests of her guests so there are all types of readers on the show. She also has an email with kindle deals that she sends out with her Modern Mrs. Darcy Blog. Check it out if you are looking for book deals! 
I hope this list helped a little bit. If you need some encouragement in your reading life, please reach out! I can talk about books all day, but I also firmly believe there is a book out there for EVERYBODY, so if you are having a hard time finding one, I will help! My favorite book I read in 2019 was Long Way Gone by Charles Martin. It’s a retelling of the Prodigal Son, and I can’t imagine anyone not liking that book. I couldn’t put it down. If you need somewhere to start, try that one!

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