Cultivating good reading habits is not always easy. There will be days when you won’t feel like reading, or when motivation will run slow, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s when setting achievable and exciting reading goals will go a long way toward bettering yourself.
Setting reading goals is always energizing. Your dopamine levels increase, you have a clear image of what you can achieve, and you’ll become excited anytime you’re thinking about achieving that reading goal.
Before we start exploring reading goals for adults in more depth, let us take a look at what a reading goal actually is.
What are Reading Goals?
The simplest way to explain reading goals is to look at them as your own, personal targets for your reading habits. What that means for you can be a huge variety of personal goals.
You might decide to read a specific number of books in a particular timeframe, for example setting a goal to read one new book every month. This specific number of books is actually a lot less important than the actual intention and the benefits you will enjoy from setting a clear structure and purpose for your reading habits.
Another popular example is setting a reading goal through which you micromanage your reading habits. Setting a daily goal to read a certain number of minutes or to read a specific number of pages is usually a pretty good idea. This can add a lot of value to your reading life.
Even though the commonly accepted meaning of a reading challenge is generally something different, we can consider it a great way to shed some light on what setting reading goals implies. They represent a way for you to challenge yourself to improve your reading habits and add some more discipline and structure to your reading.
Why Are Reading Goals for Adults Important?
Just because you’re not reading a book per day doesn’t mean you don’t have a daily reading routine. Reading 10 minutes per day counts more than reading 100 pages per day once in a blue moon.
Going with the flow and opening a book only when you feel like it will have a negative impact on your reading goals. The best approach when it comes to having good reading habits is to start being more organized and goal-oriented. Here are some of the most relevant reasons why having clear, but realistic reading goals for adults is extremely important.
1. Your Motivation to Read Will Receive a Massive Boost
Staying motivated to keep your reading life interesting and well-organized is generally not as easy as it sounds. We all have a busy schedule, a million things to do at all times, and dozens of constant distractions. But if you make a decision to set a particular goal for your reading, your focus will shift from the irrelevant activities you get caught up in every day to achieving your goal at all costs.
Trying to keep up with your own goals is going to inevitably push you to read more books from your TBR list, spend more time reading than watching TV, and will give you a constant sense of motivation because there is a clear achievement you see on the horizon.
2. You Will Exercise Your Brain Regularly
There are many benefits you will enjoy if you read constantly. One of the most important ones, in my opinion, is the positive effect reading has on your brain. By setting reading goals, you commit to doing more reading, more often, and more regularly.
This can tremendously benefit your brain and mental health. Having regular cardio sessions at the gym is going to keep your body in tip-top shape and will improve your cardiovascular health and boost your immunity. Having healthy reading habits is going to help your brain function better for longer.
3. It Challenges You
As a book lover, you might feel from time to time that reading doesn’t bring you the same satisfaction you’re used to getting from the activity. That is nothing else than a sign that your habits have become a little too much of a routine. Routines tend to get boring after a while, and we all know that “boring” is an absolute mood killer for any sort of activity.
That being said, setting your own reading goals can give you a nice challenge. Challenging yourself to read a certain number of pages every day, for a specific number of minutes, or to read a particular number of books every month can make things a lot more interesting.
4. Reading Goals Keep You Accountable
One of the most common issues readers tend to face these days is a lack of accountability for their reading habits. “I will start reading tomorrow”, “so what if I didn’t read this week?”, “I will finish this book next week” – these are all things we’ve said to ourselves more often than we might want to admit.
And yes, we might be responsible adults, but we tend to lie to ourselves a lot more often than we should. Setting clear reading goals (especially the kind that help us micro-manage our habits) can add a certain layer of accountability for our actions.
5. You Will Get a Sense of Achievement
Instant or delayed gratification are both extremely powerful tools. Having clear reading goals and actually meeting them will give you a sense of achievement and a level of satisfaction that will motivate you to keep going. Especially if you use daily goals for your reading, meeting them every single day is going to make you feel like nothing is out of reach and that feeling is going to actually extend over other aspects of your life.
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Reading Goals Examples You Can Try to Become a Better Reader
In most cases, cultivating a habit is less about having time for that activity, and more about making time for it. So, what are some reading goals for adults that can help you cultivate a daily reading habit?
1. A New Author Every Month
Once you start reading, you’ll see that every writer has their style.
Reading too many books by the same author can be boring. Not because they are boring, but because you’ll get used to their way of saying certain things, how they build their characters, or how they create their opening hooks.
The more authors you read, the more perspectives you gain, and the healthier your reading habit is going to be.
2. A New Topic Every Month
Knowing everything there’s to know about a certain subject can give you that feeling of accomplishment. Your friends and family might even look up to you as if you’re a living Wikipedia page. But that’s the good side of reading about the same topic again and again.
After 5-6 books, it becomes harder to dig up new information than it was at first. The information will keep repeating itself, and finding something new about the same topic will take more time than usual.
Spice your reading life up by trying a new topic every month. You’ll be amazed by how many things you can learn in just a few months!
3. A New Genre Every Month
Manga is for kids.
Classic literature is for pretentious people.
Romance is for divorced women over 40.
Yeah, said no one ever.
Setting a reading goal like a new genre every month is a nice way to surprise yourself with different perspectives, plots, and ideas. What’s more, you never know what your next favorite genre will be!
4. A Chapter per Night / Morning
If the chapters are too long, you can alternate with reading a certain amount of pages per day. This way, you’ll take constant steps toward your reading goals.
5. X Minutes per Day
Some books are challenging to read. Learning new ideas, writing down new words, or re-reading a paragraph until you understand it can take a lot of extra time. Focusing on a certain number of pages, in this case, won’t work because it’ll feel like you didn’t progress too much even if you spent 1 hour on that book.
Deciding how many minutes you should spend reading is more accurate and you can track your progress better.
Don’t get discouraged if some books take more than others to read – do things at your own pace!
6. Set a Monthly Reading List
Do you like to set a new list at the beginning of every month? Do you like to re-adjust your book reading list every 4 months? It works well either way.
Organizing your books in “June To be Read”, or “August To be Read” lists can help you visualize your goals better and tackle them easier.
7. A Certain Number of Books Every Year
Another relatively common goal for readers is to challenge themselves to read a certain number of books every year. This is obviously a great idea if you want to have a clear assignment for the year and you are the kind of person who handles adjusting the big picture better than micromanaging habits and routines.
Regardless of the number of books you want to read within a year, having a yearly goal is going to give your reading a sense of purpose which will add to your motivation.
If you’re wondering how to set reading goals properly, we have a suggestion for you. For a smooth goal-setting experience, we highly recommend using a reading tracking app like Basmo. Not only do you get a ton of other benefits through its wide range of reader-dedicated features, but you also get a very nice way of setting your reading goals.
You can make your own choice in terms of the type of goal you would benefit from the most (a daily goal for the number of minutes spent reading every day or a yearly goal for the total number of books you read within a year), and the process is smooth, simple, and rewarding.
The app will track your progress toward meeting your goals and will display it in a comprehensive way that will keep you motivated to push yourself to achieve them.
8. Set a Goal to Join and Finish a Reading Challenge
Reading challenges are a great way to stay motivated to read more books. One of the best reading goals for 2023 should definitely be to join and finish one of the many reading challenges that happen throughout the year. There are many benefits you can enjoy if you do this, including the possibility of reading more, adding a lot of variety to your reading habits, and, of course, the pleasures of the social aspect of these challenges.
The feeling you get when you know that you are a part of something bigger than yourself is irreplaceable. The great news is that you can choose your favorite from quite an extensive list of challenges that will happen this year.
9. Get Up to Date With Your Reading List
Having a reading list is a very important part of being a dedicated reader. Most of us tend to fall behind on keeping up with actually reading the books we keep adding to the list. A good reading goal for 2023 could be to finally catch up with the titles you’ve recently added to your list.
I know, reading books at the same rate you keep adding them to your list is quite a challenge, but that is what this whole thing is about. Set a clear goal for yourself to finally manage to read everything on your list. That will probably also mean being a bit more careful with the number of titles you keep adding.
10. Organize Your Reading Habits
Unfortunately, not many readers out there look at their reading habits and think of ways they can be improved. Or even if they do, they tend to limit themselves to wanting to read more. Well, that may be the ultimate goal for most of us, but sometimes the change needs to come from a deeper level.
To give yourself the opportunity to read more and take full advantage of everything reading can do to improve your life, the best thing to do is start to get things organized. And the best way to do that is to set a clear schedule for your reading sessions.
With Basmo, that can be quite easy. The app comes with a scheduling feature that allows you to select the days of the week you want your reading sessions to take place, and you can even select different times of day for each session. That way, you get a chance to work around your busy schedule and figure out a way to squeeze in a reading session whenever the time allows it.
The process of setting the schedule with Basmo is simple and straightforward, and the app will even remind you of each upcoming session through gentle notifications so you don’t miss out on any of them. As a book lover, you will certainly thank yourself for scheduling your sessions.
11. Read More of What you Like
As readers, we sometimes tend to pay more attention to what we should read than to what we like to read. Yes, some classic books definitely need to be read, but that doesn’t apply to every book that critics describe as a must-read. A good goal for your reading should be to start paying more attention to what you like than to what is expected of you.
The beauty of reading is that it has almost the same benefits for you regardless of how difficult or complex the books you are reading are. You can read Kafka or easy young adult novels and the big-picture effects on your mood, brain, and health are going to be the same.
Reading things we don’t like generally has a negative effect on our reading habits, as you might expect. Rather than reading a book they hate, many people would choose to not read at all, and that is a tragedy. Set yourself a goal to read more of the books you like and you will notice quite soon that you are going to read more and be a lot happier.
12. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone From Time to Time
While reading what you like is a great goal, that doesn’t mean we should completely limit ourselves to one genre, author, or type of book. Every once in a while, you should try something new, something you wouldn’t have read as a first choice.
As readers, it’s always a good idea to diversify our portfolio, so maybe you can set yourself a goal to step out of your comfort zone with 10% of the books you are reading. So for every 9 books from the genre you usually prefer, try reading one that is completely different.
13. Track Your Reading to Improve Performance
Whether it’s quantity or quality that you actually want to improve, one of the best goals for reading you can set for yourself is to start tracking your reading. That means being more mindful of the amount of time you spend reading every day, what your reading speed is, and how many books you read every week/month/year, and then using this information to improve the aspects where you feel improvements are required.
The best way to track your reading is to use a reading app like Basmo. With Basmo, every reading session is timed, you get to manually input the number of pages you read (or use the estimate the app generates depending on your average reading speed), your reading speed is analyzed, and you get insightful stats regarding your reading performance. All the information is presented in a comprehensive manner and you get a very clear and accurate starting point for the improvements you should make.
14. Spend Less on Books and Read What You Already Own
Book lovers tend to spend a lot more on books than they should. That’s because it is always tempting to keep buying books, but sometimes we end up with huge piles of books we never get around to actually reading. If that sounds like you, you should know that one of the best reading goals for adults in your situation would be to stop buying books and read the ones you already own instead.
Make a list of the books you have in your home and never got around to reading, and prioritize those over any new purchases you’re thinking of making. This can benefit you in more ways than one. If you set yourself the goal of finishing everything on your shelves before buying any new titles, you are going to save money and you might even start reading a lot more and a lot faster because you really want to buy a book that was just released.
15. Try a New Format
Reading can be done in many different ways, despite what you might think. If you’re looking to truly diversify your reading habits, there are plenty of solutions. For example, one of the best reading goals for adults with hectic lives and busy schedules would be to start listening to audiobooks.
Audiobooks take some of the pressure off the reader because of the added convenience. You can listen to an audiobook and do other things at the same time. That way, you can get a lot more reading done, even though you’re not actually holding a book and using your eyes to scroll through its contents.
If your daily routine allows you to get enough reading done without the need for an audiobook, there’s a chance you could benefit from an e-reader. Instead of packing your home full of books, you can hold thousands of titles in a digital format on your e-book reader.
16. Join a Book Club
Similar to the way reading challenges can influence your reading habits, joining a book club can make you a much better reader as well. There’s an added aspect of socializing, making your reading official in a sense, and the pleasures of discussing books with people who share the same interests as you that makes book clubs so special.
Perhaps joining a book club can be the best reading goal for you this year. You will get to meet a lot of like-minded people, you are going to be a part of exciting discussions regarding the books you read, and you are quite likely to step out of your comfort zone a lot more often when it comes to the things you read.
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Strategies To Make Your Reading Goals Easier to Achieve
Getting thrilled about a goal is always a good thing. After all, that enthusiasm is what stimulates us to make our life better and reach our potential. But because of this excitement, we’re also prone to setting unattainable reading goals.
Keeping the following strategies in mind will help you look at your reading goals more objectively and evaluate them correctly.
1. Set a Doable Goal
Excited or not, finishing the LoTR trilogy might be a bit of an unnecessary stretch in one weekend. Especially if you haven’t read for a long time and you don’t have a certain reading speed. The more unrealistic goals you have, the more likely you are to abandon them.
When people realize they’re working toward something bigger than they previously thought, there is this tendency to go back to one’s comfort zone.
However, setting a doable goal (reading one chapter per day, for example) will make your daily habit easier to achieve, thus making progress every month.
2. Surround Yourself with Supportive Friends
Smashing your goals in silence is one way to get motivation for your reading journey.
But sometimes, having someone to talk to about the books can make your goals easier to achieve. Take movies for example. It’s nice to watch them by yourself, but having someone to talk to about some scenes or characters is far more enjoyable. It’s the same with books.
If you want to talk to other book lovers, you can join different communities like:
- Facebook reading groups.
- Goodreads groups.
- The Reddit Book Club.
- Follow other book lovers on Instagram.
Besides, sharing your progress on social media will motivate others to read too. Getting compliments and surrounding yourself with people that read will make your reading goals so much simpler to obtain.
3. Create a Vision Board that Motivates You to Read
Visualizing yourself achieving your reading goal is not just daydreaming or wishful thinking. Statistics show that entrepreneurs who created a vision board met their goals compared to those that didn’t.
And if that worked for a business owner, imagine what it can do for your reading goals!
Here are some suggestions you can add to your reading vision board to inspire and motivate you:
- Quotes about reading books.
- Pictures with favorite books and authors.
- Paintings of people reading.
- Images of aesthetic reading.
4. Make an Exciting “Books I’d Like to Read” List
Reading books you don’t care about is the ultimate recipe for failure. The more you hate the books you have to read, the higher the chances you won’t achieve your target.
Changing your perspective from “I have to read this” to “I get/ I want to read this” will be a game-changer.
Choose books that spark joy, motivate you, and make you feel excited about smashing your daily target.
5. Set a Daily Reading Reminder
Spending time on social media, relaxing in front of the TV, cooking, and going for a walk are also relaxing activities that you can add to your daily routine.
However, spending a bit more time than you initially planned on one activity is inevitable sometimes. Thus, setting a reading reminder to help you delimitate when one activity ends and when the other starts is a great help.
A daily reading reminder should be set carefully, and only after you take into account everything you enjoy doing.
Do you like to read in the morning as part of your slow waking-up routine? Do you want to read right before going to sleep so you can limit exposure to blue light? Do you want to go to the nearest coffee shop and read while sipping some delicious drinks? Or do you maybe enjoy spending some time at home under your favorite blanket?
Only you know what’s best for you! Thus, setting a reading reminder should incorporate all these factors, so you can have a relaxing and pleasant time when you start to read.
6. Keep a Reading Journal
Losing focus and looking at the books you still have to read, rather than acknowledging the progress you’ve made so far is fairly common.
Having a reading journal will help you not get discouraged on your journey.
With Basmo, you can track all the books you’ve read, and the emotions you’re feeling during your reading session.
All you have to do is:
- Tap End Session whenever you achieve your daily reading goal.
- Choose what emotion suits you
- Write down a few notes about your reading session.
7. Break Your Goal Into Smaller Parts
Hearing someone talking about how they’ve managed to read 40 books in 1 year might seem crazy. Especially when you don’t seem to have the patience to read more than 50 pages in one sitting.
And before you start getting all skeptical about it, here’s the math behind it!
40 books per year sounds like a lot, but divide 40 books by 12 months and you get around 3 books per month. If you focus on 100-page books, you’ll have to read 300 pages per month in 30 days. And that’s 10 pages per day.
40 books per year sounds scary and unattainable, but 10 pages per day sounds doable. You can go even further, and divide these 10 pages into 5 pages in the morning, and 5 at night.
For the average reader, reading 5 pages takes no more than 10 minutes. It doesn’t sound that scary anymore, right?
So, don’t get scared by big numbers. It’s the small, consistent ones that add up in the end!
How Do You Know You’ve Got Good Reading Goals?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re making progress according to your goals. Here are a few signs you’re on the right track with your reading goals.
- Reading is now a part of your daily routine.
- You reflect on the books you’ve read regularly.
- You don’t feel overwhelmed by your book wish list anymore.
- You enjoy the books you’re reading.
- You’re actually making progress towards your reading goals.
Setting reading goals is fun, exciting, and motivational. It helps you discover what your limits are, how much effort you’re willing to make, and how passionate you are about bettering yourself.
One thing to remember when you’re creating next month’s book list – make your reading goals flexible. Sometimes, you plan a bit more than you can handle, and other times you underestimate your capabilities.
Re-adjust your reading goals so they can reflect your current ambitions towards becoming a better reader!
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