Kara C White
Reading Goals for the New Year
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
The start of a new year marks the beginning of "goals season." Your feeds are likely filled with advice on making resolutions stick and calls to join challenges to complete all kinds of tasks such as getting in shape or getting organized. I have some intentions in those areas and others, but my favorite goal to set each year is my reading goal.
There's nothing groundbreaking about setting a reading goal for yourself. You simply decide how many books you want to read over the course of the next 12 months, and get to it! Some people add layers to their reading goals by stipulating that the books should belong to certain genres or meet requirements such as "a book by an author I haven't read before" or "a book that challenges me." These kinds of categories can prod you try new things and increase the breadth of your reading reach.
Some people set very high expectations for their reading goals. I've seen some folks committing to reading a hundred books or more during 2020. Way to go! My personal reading goal for the new year is much more conservative. I intend to finish at least 25 books this year, which works out to about two a month.
I have several reasons for this somewhat small goal. First, this target objective does not include my textbooks. I know I'll have to devote a fair amount of time to reading for class as I complete the last few courses of my master's degree this year (Yay!). My reading goal is only for books I read for pleasure and personal interest.
Also, I want to be able to meet my goal with relative ease. Pushing myself through books in order to reach a self-imposed total of titles could turn my favorite pastime into a stress-inducing chore. My aim is for quality, not quantity. If it turns out I read more than 25 books this year, then go me! Otherwise, I believe I can attain my numerical goal while maintaining my ultimate goal, enjoying good books.
Voracious readers who devour dozens of book each year will often recommend picking up your book anytime you have a few spare minutes. Waiting for a doctor's appointment? Read a few pages. Stuck in the school pick-up line? Read. I believe this is great advice if you're trying to increase the number of books you're completing. However, it doesn't really work for me.
My personal preference is to read only when I know I have a chunk of time to dedicate to the content. Dipping into a book for five minutes here and five minutes there is not as satisfying to me as sitting down for a more extended period of time. Particularly with novels, I would rather immerse myself into the world of the story and its characters, and this takes me a bit more time. As a consequence, it may take me longer to finish a book this way. For me, the trade off is worth it.
My reading goal of 25 books does not include any formal requirements about genre or authors. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction books about topics to which I'm drawn. As a result, I tend to naturally shift back and forth between novels and other sorts of works. I try to read titles from a variety of writers. In the past year I've made more of an effort to read the works of authors of color, and I've savored some truly remarkable stories as a result.
For more about the books I'm reading this year, keep track of "My TBR Stack" posts here on the blog. You'll see the mix of titles I have lined up for myself over the next few months. Until then, happy reading!