Why Your Goal Setting Absolutely Needs to Include a Reading Goal

Last Updated on March 31, 2022 by Stephanie

Setting Goals That Make a Difference; Why Reading More Should Be on Your List

My goal for 2022 is to read 60 books during the year.  I’ve put it out on the internet now… so I guess I have to do it.  I love setting a reading goal! When I was younger, I remember fondly going with my dad to the library weekly.  I would come home with a huge stack of books and would sometimes have a book finished by the time we got home.  My daughter is now also obsessed with the library.  She’s only two, but she knows how to put her books in the return slot, she knows where the children’s section is, and she knows how to place all the books gently on the counter for checking them out.  I love this.

Let’s be totally honest though.  When I was an undergrad as a music education major, I only read my textbooks.  Then I started a full-time job as an elementary music teacher in 2006, and reading was definitely on the back burner.  Then there were those two Master’s degrees that I got… textbooks, but certainly not books for pleasure.  After that, getting married, having a baby… lots of excuses.  Now, I didn’t totally give up on books, but I would say that maybe I would read about 4-5 books a year.

For 2021, in a quest to better myself, I set out on the goal of 50 books and reached it by the end of November.  I am not going back, guys.  I’m going forward and I’m going to best this goal in 2022 because I have LOVED it!

Why is reading so great for us?

There are a lot of different benefits to reading regularly including regular health benefits like reducing stress, helping anxiety and depression, aiding in sleep, and improving brain function including preventing cognitive decline.  That is just the physical stuff.

It also improves your vocabulary, helps you empathize better, helps you communicate more, and helps you learn.  In some cases, reading is like having your own personal mentor.  With your local library and the online resources they can possibly provide, you can have almost unlimited access to so many different authors and mentors!

What is the norm?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 2.8 hours a day watching television and .27 hours reading for personal enjoyment.  Depending on the source, I have discovered that Americans on average read anywhere from 1-12 books a year.  However, some believe that this higher end of the spectrum is actually because of avid readers.  For example, I have two friends that get through 2-3 books a week, which is way over that average.  One study through the Pew Research Center states that 23% of Americans haven’t read a single book in any form all year.

How can I be extraordinary?

As you know from my About Me page, my tag line is “What did you do today that was extraordinary?”  You can live life as you always have, you can be the norm.  That isn’t going to help you achieve much of anything though.  Doing more of the same is only going to lead to more of the same in your life.  That’s not why you’re here though.  You are here because you want to create more time in your life.  Those that you would consider extraordinary, the Elon Musks, the Oprahs, the Fortune 500 CEOs are reading all the time.  I’ve heard various statistics rolling around, but many say that on average these uber-successful people read around 60 books a year!

How can I read more?

This is another one of those things that people will always say, “yeah, I’d love to read more, but I don’t have the time.”  That’s crap… let’s be honest… how many minutes did you spend scrolling on Facebook this morning or last night when you were laying in bed?  How many hours of TV did you binge last night?  You may say that you don’t have the time, but you do… you are just choosing to use that time in other ways.  Here are some tips for how to fit reading in during your day:

Become an audiobook person.

I thought that I would hate listening to audiobooks.  I was driving by myself one day and was not in the mood to listen to music, so I downloaded the book that I had started reading a few days earlier.  You guys, I loved it!  I now listen to books on almost all of my commutes (15 minutes to work or the gym and I can get a lot in!), while I’m walking in the morning, and when I’m quilting.  Audible is a great option, but again, check out your local library.  Mine belongs to a couple of different subscriptions and I get most of my books for free! I don’t think I would hit my reading goal if I didn’t listen to my books as well.

Read first thing in the morning or first thing in the evening.

Take just 15 minutes a day at the very beginning or end of the day.  This is part of my morning routine and honestly, I typically also read at night as well.

Read books on a device while waiting places.

I personally have a Kindle Paperwhite that I love.  Since I have this, my reading is always synced and available to me.  Waiting at the doctor’s office or in the parent pick-up line… cool… read.

Read in the bathtub!

Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.  When my daughter goes to bed, if I’ve had a long day, I can often be found in the hot tub reading for a bit before getting some other stuff done.

Read multiple books at once.

So, I may get some flak for this one because some people can’t do this.  I have several friends who cannot have several books going at the same time.  I typically have three going at once and they are always very different from each other.  The reason they are so different from each other is that then I won’t get them mixed up in my head.  I also do this because it also varies based on how I’m actually reading each book.

Typically, I have an audiobook to play and a non-fiction and fiction book that I’m actually reading on a device or paper.  I do non-fiction and fiction because depending on my day, I might want the escape of a fiction book at the end of my day to wind down.  Maybe I’m feeling energized when I go to bed and have the brain capacity to read something factual.

Read books that you enjoy and that inspire you.

It is absolutely okay to abandon a book once you have started it.  If you do not like it, don’t force yourself to finish it.  Abandon it and find something that interests you.  If you are looking for inspiration, check out my post about 5 books that inspire you to get crap done or 5 books that will make you think.  I loved each of these books and they were are part of my 50 book challenge reading goal in 2021.

Join GoodReads.

GoodReads is AWESOME.  I especially love the reading goal feature.  You set it for the year and it will tell you if you are on track or ahead or behind in how many books you’ve read for the year.  If you choose to connect with your friends on GoodReads, you can see what they are reading, things that they want to read, and can even comment on what each other is doing.

Check out this screenshot from my GoodReads account. I’m telling you… the reading goal feature is AWESOME!

2021 GoodReads Challenge Goal Setting

Connect with your local library.

Books are free at your local library, so money cannot be an excuse here.  I hope you are fortunate enough to live near a great library.  Go in and get a library card, ask a librarian about the different services they offer, and go there often!

What’s an example of a reading goal I could set?

  • Read a book a month (12 in the year)
  • Finish a book a week (52 in the year)
  • Read 15 minutes a day.
  • Read a chapter a day.
  • Go through a book list that you find online.
  • Find an online reading challenge like some on this site here.

So there you have it.  Set a reading goal and tell your people all about it!  Tell me about it here too!  What kind of reading goal are you going to set for yourself this year?  I can’t wait to hear all about your reading goal.  If you really want a fun challenge, head over to my post about the 30 book challenge and get a free digital log for the challenge!

Setting Goals Reading Goal; Open Book

If you are someone who loves to write about your reading experience, check out my digital book log below.  I combine this with my GoodReads because I like keeping a log of short reviews for what I read and keeping track of how I read a certain book.  If you like that as well, click on the image below and check it out in my shop.

Digital Reading Journal

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