7 easy tips to help you reach your reading goals

7 easy tips to help you reach your reading goals

Each year, I set reading goals for myself. It usually involves reading a specific number of books. Recently, I’ve also challenged myself to read outside my comfort zone.

What does that mean? I’ve tried reading genres that I usually don’t. Hard science fiction instead of my beloved cozy mysteries or a memoir instead of a teen fantasy. It also means choosing authors from places like Africa or Asia instead of my usual group of American/European writers.

Reading challenges

Up your reading game.  I’ve got some challenges to help you get started.

  • Read a book by an author of the opposite sex.
  • Read a book set on every continent.
  • Read a book with a color in the title.
  • Read a book under 200 pages.
  • Read a picture book.
  • If you don’t usually, listen to an audiobook.

Ready for more?

Try some of the suggestions on these challenges when you’re ready for more.

Achieving your reading goals

Have you set reading goals but you’re having trouble reaching them? Then try some of these tips.

1. Audiobooks. You can download audiobooks to your smartphone, tablet or iPhone. Listen in your car, during your workout, at work. You’ll be surprised at how many books you’ll finish this way. I listen when I’m grocery shopping. Books are a fantastic alternative to the elevator music!

Audiobooks are also a great way to share a book with your family. Listen in the car or at home with your smart speaker. Could lead to some great discussions.

2. eBooks. Download a book to your smartphone so you’re never without a book. Fit in some reading when your waiting in line or waiting to pick up the kids after practice, during a break a work.

3. Shorter books. Publishers are releasing novella length works which are perfect for finishing in a weekend.

4. Read at bedtime. Research has shown that looking at a screen makes it tough for your brain to relax. Try reading instead. It’s the perfect way to unwind. Just don’t pick something that’s going to be so engrossing that you read until the wee hours.

5. Read for 20 minutes a day. If you have kids, schools are recommending that they read for 20 minutes every day – join them! Even if you don’t have kids, aim for 20 minutes a day. Break it up into chunks if you need to.

6. Join a reading group. Being around other people who are passionate about reading is inspiring. Plus you’ll get great suggestions about books to add to your To Be Read list.

7. Picture books count. Read to kids, grandkids, your pet. Or just to yourself because. Picture books are seriously delightful. Indulge.

Track your progress

Once you set your goal, track your progress so you know how you’re doing. I keep a list of what I’ve read each year. I note the title, author, and genre. You can do the same with a variety of tools.

  • Apps and websites like Goodreads or Librarything are great for tracking and tagging what you’ve read. They’re also great places to engage in online book discussions. You can also rate and review books.
  • Spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets are also a great way to organize your list.
  • Use a reading journal. If you’re artistic, add some book pages to your bullet journal – books you want to read as well as those you’ve read.
  • Accountability. Sign up for a reading challenge like those mentioned above or have a reading buddy. Share your goal with your buddy.

Once you start, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to read harder.

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