Happy New Year, booksters! I hope your holidays and New Year were full of cheer, good food and lots of reading time.
My favorite bookish preparation for the new year—besides creating Goodreads shelves for my anticipated releases or deciding my first read of the year—is making a list of my reading goals and resolutions!
I asked my followers on Instagram for their new year bookish resolutions, and despite the variety in responses, I’m going to share some of the most common bookish resolutions and how you can conquer them to make 2019 your greatest reading year yet!
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Read More (and consistently)
Let’s admit it: in our busy everyday lives, “I don’t have time to read!” is a popular (but valid) reason that readers aren’t able to enjoy books as much as they wish. But there are still ways that you can still prioritize reading. In fact, “I want to read more” was the most common resolution among my followers! While that’s a worthy goal, how exactly do we read more when there are only 24 hours?
If you use Goodreads, the annual reading challenge is great for tracking your reading progress (as long as it’s a reasonable number, keeping your lifestyle in mind.) When Goodreads displays my progress, I feel more motivated to read more in order to finish my goal whether I’m ahead or behind of schedule. (Besides, who doesn’t love feeling accomplished when you reach your goal?)
But if you don’t use Goodreads or a reading challenge, you can still set smaller, attainable goals that motivate your reading. For example, tell yourself to read at least one book a month or twenty pages right before bed. Make sure they are somewhat challenging but possible at the same time.
But if you’re so busy that you can’t even sit down to read, perhaps try less traditional ways to consume books. From Audible or Scribd (this isn’t sponsored, I’ve just heard good reviews) to your local library’s media app, read or listen to a book on your daily commute, while you do chores or pretty much anywhere else. That way you can read and be productive at the same time! Go you!
This may be difficult for many of us. After all, with the number of amazing books released every month, how can you say no? (You can’t!) A quick trip to the bookstore turns into hours of hauling every book that just so happens to be on your endless TBR. Sure, you’re supporting bookstores—but at what cost? (Answer: the cost of a small fortune in books.)
However, I managed to reduce my book spending in 2018. Other than the fact that I wasn’t reading much because of high school and my college applications, I read plenty of my books already on my bookshelves that I’d never picked up because I usually purchased the latest YA release.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to go on a complete book buying ban (I shiver thinking about it.) But set yourself a limit on which books to buy. Only purchase books like that sequel you’ve waited for so long or that one intriguing novel your friend recommended. Setting boundaries (while leaving a little room for impulsive buying now and then) can help set your priorities. (Not to mention, there’s always the library!)
Your wallet will thank you later.
Read the Books Already on Your TBR
Sometimes, it’s not enough to have a Goodreads shelf dedicated to the dozens (or hundreds) of books you haven’t read yet. Sometimes you just have to stare at your TBR and say, “I am not afraid of you.” And you don’t have to be!
Many bookworms often separate their unread books from the rest of their bookshelves as a reminder they need to read those next. Some of them place unread books on their nightstand or even in a TBR cart! (Read Sumaiyya’s post about the benefits of TBR carts here) Not only will isolating your unread books make a dent in your enormous TBR pile, but you won’t be as tempted to buy the newest book on the market! (At least for now.)
Read Outside Your Comfort Zone
We all have our reading preferences. I love YA contemporary while another reader enjoys adult romance. However, several of my followers say that they want to read outside their usual genres—from reading more fantasy to an equal amount of memoirs and nonfiction to YA novels.
It’s great to pick up our favorite genres since we’re more likely to enjoy it, but reading outside of your comfort zone can lead to pleasant surprises. I learned this myself when I read Emma by Jane Austen for an English class assignment. I was nervous since I don’t love classic novels, but I ended up enjoying it! I’m inspired to try more novels I would’ve never given a chance before.
This year, motivate yourself to try novels you don’t typically read. A nonfiction book on a topic that interests you. A memoir from your favorite celebrity. That epic but ultimately intimidating fantasy series because you love the TV show (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones.) Or a book you know nothing about but heard good reviews. Basically, go out and read something new! Even if you don’t like it, you can at least say you tried.
No matter what goals or resolutions you set for yourself in 2019 (or none at all, that’s perfectly okay too!) encouraging and motivating each other to read will only help us all in the eternal task of conquering our TBR.
The purpose of creating bookish resolutions isn’t just to check off our goals at the end of the year (though it does make one feel productive) but to build good reading habits.
I hope I offered a few helpful suggestions, but of course feel free to create resolutions which fit you and your lifestyle the best!