While the holidays can be a stressful time, there is something very invigorating about closing out one year and welcoming a new one. While I don’t aim to reinvent myself every January 1, I do love setting goals, making resolutions, creating vision boards—all of it. Although many of my goals and resolutions shift as the years change, one goal has remained constant. You guessed it: my yearly reading goals.
Every year, I participate in the Goodreads Challenge, setting a goal at the end of one year and enjoying as many books as I can in the new year. I declare my reading goal, share it with my Goodreads friends and Bookstagram community, and set out on my reading journey. Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to actually hit that goal number at the end of the year (and not give up halfway through), so if you’re not sure where to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
If you want to dedicate more time to reading in 2024, here’s exactly how to set realistic reading goals, track your progress, and hit your goal number by the end of the year.
1. Set a realistic reading goal
When setting goals, it’s easy to dream a bit too big. Sure, reading over 100 books in a year sounds great, but do you actually have the time to dedicate to that? Think about your daily routine and how much of your time you can dedicate to reading. Maybe averaging one to two books per month is doable for you, or maybe you really can knock out one or two a week. A little math can help here. For example, if you stick to books around 300 pages and read just 10 pages per day, you can finish 12 books this year. If you want to double that, you’ll need to read 20 pages per day, and so on. Whatever number you decide on, keep it realistic to your lifestyle. And don’t forget that setting a reading goal doesn’t have to be one and done—you can adjust it higher or lower throughout the year if needed.
2. Find a tracking system that works for you
Tracking your progress is one of the most important elements of sticking to your reading goal. I’ve always tracked my reading journey on Goodreads, and a couple of years ago, I started my Bookstagram account to find a reading community for inspiration and accountability. For 2023, I also got myself a book journal to track my reads physically. Here are a few different ways to record your progress:
If you want to track your reading goal digitally:
- Goodreads: This is the classic reading tracker where you can create a digital TBR list, track your reading progress, and connect with other readers.
- italictype: This small-business version lets you track your progress, create wishlists, and set a goal.
- Notion: This is an amazing digital notebook option, and with templates, it’s easier than ever to track your reading progress.
- Create a bookish social account: Start an account and post to Instagram’s #bookstagram, TikTok’s #booktok, or Youtube’s #booktube to share your reading progress with the bookish community.
If you want to track your reading goal physically:
- Write in a reading journal: If you want to remember your favorite book moments, a reading journal is perfect for you. This one allows you to log up to 100 books with spaces to record your overall rating, start and finish dates, and notes.
- Use a bullet journal: For a more creative method, a bullet journal allows you to start from a blank slate and record your book-related notes in any style or format you choose. You can draw bookshelves, create a book tracker, and outline a TBR list with your own personal touches.
- Get a reading log bookmark: These bookmarks are popular on BookTok because they are fun to fill out and serve as a little reminder of how much progress you’ve made throughout the year.
- Craft a mini bookshelf: If you’re a crafty reader, creating a miniature version of a bookshelf can be a fun way to display your annual reading progress.
3. Engage with Booktok, but not too much
Following book-related accounts on TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube can be a great way to get book recommendations, connect with other readers, and feel inspired to read more. However, one of the biggest stereotypes of BookTok girlies is that we spend more time on social media than actually reading our books. It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit, so don’t be surprised if you get sucked in, too. If you notice yourself scrolling more than you’re reading, this is your sign to put down your phone and pick up that book.
4. Join a book club for accountability
Joining or creating a book club is a great way to read more books and have a bit of built-in accountability. You can join a local book club, explore virtual book clubs, or try a subscription service like Book of the Month. Having one “required” book per month will help motivate you to read more and get you closer to your goals. As someone who has been a part of book clubs both IRL and virtually and is a longtime member of BOTM, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
5. Read the way you want to read
Physical books, audiobooks, e-books—they’re all real books. Find the medium you like and work it into your day however you can. Whether you choose to sit down and read a book in one sitting, set a goal to pick up your Kindle for 15 minutes per day, or listen to audiobooks on your daily walk, it will all help you work toward your reading goal.
6. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Even though you’ve set a specific goal for yourself, it’s OK if you don’t hit it at the end of the year or need to adjust it throughout the year. It’s not a big deal if you hit a reading slump or can’t find the time to read for a couple of weeks. Remember: Reading is supposed to be fun, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Good luck on your 2024 reading journey!