As many of you probably already do, I like to have a set of reading goals for the year. Yes there is the Goodreads yearly reading goal – which I do participate in – but there are so many others that people, including myself, do.
Amount of books. My goal every year is to read 69 books. I just think it’s a nice number. I find it to be a safe number, it’s something that I can achieve so I don’t have to feel pressured to read and read quickly. It also means that if I surpass it, I feel really proud of myself. Having stretch reading goals is great, but I find it doesn’t really work with how my brain works.
21 books in 2021. This is a common trend, people saying the 21 books they want to read in the year 2021, and as you can probably guess, it correlates to the year so every year it gets a little bit higher. I don’t participate in this goal only because that’s a lot of pressure haha. I know that I will read 21 books, but I don’t know which ones I want to read and declaring it when I have grand ambitions but maybe not the long term ability to stick to it, is not a good move. As I’ll talk about next, I do make reading goals for some books, just not to this level. I do think this is a fun way to tie in the new year to your reading plans and so I do love hearing people talk about what books they want to read.
New releases goal. We all have anticipated releases. Some of them we know well ahead of time, and some we learn about as the year goes on, and both are great! Because I utilize NetGalley, I’m able to get to some of my anticipated releases early on, and I am very grateful for that. The rest of them though, I have to wait and wait and grow my anticipation. I cultivate a list of new releases that I’m excited for each year and as the year goes on, I make sure to seek out the new books and read them. Now, I don’t always read all of the new books that I want to (I really do have a lot of books that I want to read) so I do have a list of leftover new releases that I try to get to the next year. But overall, my aim is to read as many of the new releases as I can. So far this year I’ve actually been pretty good at keeping up with them which is amazing and will probably never happen again.
Specific reading goal. I make myself a specific reading goal that is very low stakes and isn’t going to stress me out. Last year, I did three classics that I’d like to get to, and this year I did the three oldest books on my Goodreads to be read shelf. Only three books and if I don’t complete them, it’s totally fine. It’s just a hope or wish, not an expectation. So far this year I’ve read two of the three and the third is the one that involves a lot more work so that’s probably why I haven’t read it yet haha. The whole point of the specific, small goal is that I tackle something that I maybe have been putting off, or have built them up to the point where they’re intimidating, or I’ve lost the early passion for reading them. It allows me to focus on them in a less stressful more fun way.
Backlist goals. I actually love this goal. As I’ve said earlier, I try to catch up on books that I’ve missed from the previous year, but this goes for all previous years. I keep a hard copy list of the books from the previous year that I haven’t read and still really want to. The rest, I utilize Goodreads to keep them in my mind and allow me to remember them when looking for books to read especially from my library. There’s also backlist goals for reading author’s backlists. I do have a goal to read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s backlist and I haven’t really made any effort towards it since 2019, but I just saw a video from Maddie and Bee where Maddie read her entire backlist, and it has lit a fire under me to at least pick up one more book this year. I think reading an author’s backlist is a risky game haha. You’re doing it because you love this author, but there’s a good chance that their work and style as developed over the years – which is a GREAT thing – and that could mean you don’t necessarily like their older works. For TJR specifically, the kind of stories she writes has changed over the years, and I find that really interesting, but also means I may not connect with them as much. The only way to find out is to read them so get on that, Keelin.
Seasonal goals. This is probably the most realistic in terms of yearly goals and combines most of the previous ones I mentioned. Instead of giving yourself a loose one year goal with general hopes and dreams, this gives you a more tailored time period and allows you to really consider the what you’re in the mood for at that time. I know for me that I am more interested in reading historical fiction around the winter months, and I’m more interested in thrillers and mysteries in the fall. Romance and contemporaries have their grip in the spring and summer, and nonfiction kind of ebbs and flows throughout the year. Fantasy and sci-fi also ebbs and flows, but I find that I reach for them more in the summertime. These seasonal goals allow me to cater my tbr to what I’m feeling, and it combines backlist, new releases, and any other specific goals I may have. I know that when the next season is up, I’ll have a fresh start to my reading plans and that’s always a good feeling.
I’m sure there are some goals that I’m missing so if you have any that you want to share, please do! I’m always down for having more goals for myself. But there you are! These are the reading goals that I have implemented at some point in my life and are ones that I use regularly now. I find that they keep me interested in what I’m reading and allow me to have structure as well as flexibility. If you haven’t tried any of these that I’ve mentioned, I recommend them! Pick one that resonates with you the most and give it a shot. Happy reading!