With every new year comes new goals. And when it comes to my goals, I honestly don’t focus on much besides my reading. How predictable of me.
Though I never think of myself as an ambitious reader in terms of setting goals, 2022 taught me that I struggle to keep up with any of the reading plans I make. I’ve been using work as an excuse, but the truth is that sometimes I don’t prioritize reading enough.
Still, reading is reading and these are the goals I’d like to work toward accomplishing over the course of 2023.
Read 52 Books
This tends to be the goal I aim toward, though there are years when I’ve only aimed for 30 books. 52 feels like a good spot because a book a week honestly doesn’t sound too intense. There are weeks when I can easily finish a couple of books and times when it takes me a couple of weeks to get through a book.
It all balances out in the end.
At the same time, I’ve struggled to hit the 52-book mark for a few years. I think the closest I’ve gotten recently was in 2018 when I read 50 books and in 2020 when I read 47 books.
But I’d like to give it a try again. The hope is that because I’m reading quite a bit for work too, it’ll add to my total number at the end of the year. My spreadsheet will tell me if I end up reading more for work or fun over the course of the year, but I’m really hopeful that fun will win.
Already, if you read my What This Week post last week, you’ll know that I started the year off with two books. Well, I had to finish one and start another in the same week. I consider that a pretty strong start so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep up with the pace I’ve set for myself.
Honestly, it mostly means not getting distracted by YouTube and Netflix and how I’ve been playing Bear and Breakfast lately.
Read 5 books a month
Mathematically speaking, I really only need to read 4 books a month to stay on track with my goal of 52 books in a year. But between work and fun, I’ve realized that I need to read around 5-7 books a month to keep up with things.
Currently, I’m trying to split my reading so I’m not solely reading books for work, but it’s been difficult. Sometimes, work reading alone makes up 5 books and leaves little room for me to pick up other things on my own.
There’s still some good to it though, it keeps me ahead of my reading goal if I manage to complete 5 books a month. Which I think is achievable (having not read that many books in a month since last June) as long as I’m good with my time.
It brings me back to using the #AngieWay method to plan my reading. Historically, I haven’t been the best at keeping up with it, but the busier work gets, the more I find that I need some kind of schedule to tell me how exactly to keep up with all the reading that needs to get done after interviews, writing articles, proofing pieces, and everything else that work entails.
Though I have a tendency to overestimate how much I can realistically read in a day, I’d like that to be sort of a sub-goal, to work my way up to consistently hitting those page counts.
Read every weekday morning
This brings me to this goal, reading every weekday morning.
If I really make myself get out of bed when my alarm rings, something I’ve been quite bad about in the last few months, I have an hour and a half before I need to get ready and leave for work. During that time, I’d like to divide it between journaling and reading.
45 minutes for each sounds like a good amount of time to me. Plus, it means creating a set time in my schedule to get some reading in.
Which also keeps me off my phone, something I need to be better about in the mornings. By adding reading to my routine, I think it’ll help me start my day off right. One of the reasons I journal in the morning is to get into a good headspace for the day, and reading helps me relax too.
At an average pace, 45 minutes of reading would get me anywhere between 45-90 pages read, depending on how quickly I’m flying through the book. That’ll really help make a dent in my daily page goals to keep up with reading and I think on some level, it’s easier to achieve than my next goal.
Read for 1hr before bed
If you remember from my 2022 reading goals, I wanted to start reading before bed. There were many nights when I just crawled into bed and scrolled on my phone for a while or played mobile games before bed, but I did also spend several great evenings reading and enjoying my books before sleeping.
In many ways, I think this is the ideal way for me to wind down before sleep. It helps me feel tired naturally and I’m less likely to suddenly realize that it’s past midnight and I should have been asleep an hour ago.
My ideal routine would be reading from 9:45-10:45pm so I have a little more time to get settled before hopefully being asleep by 11pm. Yes, that kind of makes me sound like an old person, but knowing that I need a while to wake up in the morning, this is the best way I’ve found to attempt to get enough sleep.
Between the hour of reading here and the 45 minutes in the morning, I should be able to hit my daily page count with ease.
Of course, I say that as if this will happen daily. It would be great if I could get the 1hr and 45mins of reading in every day but realistically, there will be days when I’m not in bed to read by 9:45pm because of work or LifeGroup or other things. In fact, I won’t be able to do this on most Fridays because I often get home around 11:30pm. But on those nights, if I’m not feeling too tired, I’d like to still try for the hour of reading since I get up later on Saturdays.
Reread 5 books
Reading habits aside, one of my goals is to reread more of the books I once loved.
I did a month of rereading childhood favorites last June and had a really great time with some of the books from my childhood. Getting to see how I feel about something now and seeing if something holds up, it really made me think about how I’ve grown as a reader over the years.
Not only is it a quick and easy way to get through my reading challenge, it’s nice to see revisit books that made an impact on me.
For example, I reread some of the Famous Five books and while they absolutely don’t hold up in political correctness, the twists are honestly quite good for being written well over 60 years ago and aimed at children. That series was one of the core things that made me love mysteries and I will always have really fond memories of them.
I had a bit of a plan of what I wanted to reread, namely The Hunger Games trilogy so that I can pick up The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes even though I’ve heard awful things about the prequel. And then there are some other series I want to reread, one of which is A Darker Shade of Magic so I can continue past the first book and finish the rest of the trilogy before the spinoff trilogy comes out later this year.
Among the standalones I’d like to reread are The Night Circus and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, both of which were 2020 favorites.
Honestly, the reread list might be a bit too ambitious but I think narrowing that down to 5 books would be okay. The idea is that they’d be easier to read since I’ve already read through most of them at least once before.
Read 5 graphic novels
Coming out of my comfort zone a bit in a way I’ve been trying to push myself to, I’d like to pick up some more graphic novels.
I’ve read a few over the years and quite enjoyed them, but I’ve never really made the effort to figure out what kind of graphic novels I like. The goal with this isn’t just to expand my reading taste, but also to learn more about myself and what I enjoy.
Between library access and the books I get at work, I don’t think this goal will be hard to achieve. It’s more about being intentional throughout the year and actively seeking them out.
I don’t really have any ideas of what graphic novels to pick up, so if you have any recommendations, I’ll gladly take them. What I’ll probably end up doing is going to the two libraries near me and browsing their graphic novel selection to see what interests me.
And that’s it! Those are my reading and bookish goals for 2023.
It can sound like a lot, but reading is such a big part of my life and even my job now, so I think it benefits me to be a bit more mindful and intentional about how I approach my reading to minimize burnout and maximize enjoyment.
I’d love to know what some of your goals are. Let me know in the comments if you have any tips to help me accomplish my goals or if we share any similar goals.