7 Simple Steps to Set (& Accomplish) Your Reading Goals

Do you have reading goals? Seems like a strange thing to ask, doesn’t it? I’ve always liked to read and while I may have set goals for my reading it wasn’t something I thought about consciously. For me, it was more like making a list of books I wanted to read. And maybe that’s you and you have no trouble reading a number of books every year. But maybe you struggle to read. You can hardly finish one book a year let alone finish dozens or even hundreds.

Why Are Reading Goals Important?

As with anything, having a goal motivates you towards accomplishment. When you set a reading goal, you have something to strive towards, especially if you have someone or something to hold you accountable.

Reading goals can beyond just reading more books and could include developing a skill, improving your vocabulary, tightening your grasp on grammar. As you choose to pursue these goals you have an opportunity to build–or join–a community of like-minded people.

One of the major advantages of reading goals is that it gives you focus. Because you are actively working towards something, you can track your progress and know when you get off-track.


What Are Some Goals for Reading?

As an adult, it’s sometimes difficult to come up with reading goals. Maybe you’re asking yourself, what are some good reading goals? That’s a great question but before I share my list of suggestions I want to say that a good reading goal challenges you without causing you to feel burdened.

Like all goals, good reading goals should be S.M.A.R.T. Sustainable, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and time-bound. Don’t set yourself a reading goal to read one hundred books when you can barely read 30 pages a year (unless you plan to read only children’s books).

Here are some examples of good reading goals:

  • Read x nonfiction books in a year
  • Read one fiction book each month
  • Pick a new topic each month and read a book on that topic
  • Read for x minutes each night
  • Schedule a daily time on your calendar to read
  • Read x pages each day
  • Read x new authors in a year
  • Complete one chapter every day
  • Read x books on a certain topic in a year
  • Read x books in a language I’m trying to learn this year

If you’re still stuck on what you should choose as your reading goal, here are some ideas of fun reading goals for adults.

    1. Read more books this year than you did last year
    2. Read more new-to-you authors
    3. Read an author’s debut book
    4. Join a book club…and participate
    5. Read some of the books you already have on your TBR
    6. Set a reading challenge on Goodreads
    7. Support an author’s book launch
    8. Read some classics you didn’t read in school
    9. Choose a reading challenge and read a book that fits in every category
    10. Read a book that is banned in another country
    11. Read an entire series
    12. Set a yearly reading goal
    13. Read a book you loved as a child
    14. Read a book everyone is raving about
    15. Read a book that was turned into a movie
    16. Read a book published this year
    17. Read a book published the year you were born
    18. Read a book published the year your mother was born
    19. Read a book available in Kindle Unlimited
    20. A book involving a princess (or royalty)
    21. A nonfiction book
    22. A memoir
    23. A book on a Goodreads list
    24. A young adult
    25. A book that won an award
    26. A book whose cover is in your favorite color
    27. A book with an animal on the cover
    28. The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed
    29. A book on a topic you’re interested in
    30. A book set in whatever season it is you’re reading it
    31. A book that reminds you of a song

See, I’ve just given you more than 31 fun reading ideas to try. As you start to read more, you’ll find more books you want to read so you can create your own reading challenge.

31 fun reading goals download


How to Reach Your Reading Goals

So now you know how to set smart reading goals, you may wonder, how you can reach your reading goals.

1. Set a goal

7 Simple Steps to Set and Accomplish Reading Goals
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The first thing you need to do in order for you to meet your reading goals is to set one. Remember we talked about SMART goals? Choose a reading goal that you have some goal of reading. For example, if you only read two books in the last three years, don’t choose a reading goal of 12 books this year.

3. Schedule some time to read

If you’re going to read more books, you’ll need to make it a priority.  One way you can do that is by blocking or scheduling time to meet your goal. Decide on the best time to read. Will it be early in the morning? Before you go to bed at night? During your lunch break?

4. Be prepared to read

This may seem simple, but if you’re going to meet your reading goals that means when it’s time to read, you need to be ready to read. Have a book on hand.

Let’s say you decide to read before going to bed, maybe you want to keep the book you’re reading close to your bed so that when you’re ready to read your book is available.

If you plan to read in bed, you may want to try going to bed a little earlier than normal. You wouldn’t want to go to bed when you’re dead tired because the last thing you want is to fall asleep with the book (especially if you’re reading a hardcover).

Get in the mindset to read. It may help if you start thinking about the book you were reading as you prepare for your reading time. The more excited you are to start reading, the easier it will be to meet your reading goals.

5. Get accountable

Just like with other types of goals, it may help if you have a means of making yourself accountable. So to help you reach your reading goals you may want to get an accountability partner–this could be someone who also has a reading goal to meet. Or it could be part of a book club. Or you could participate in a reading challenge. Maybe you want to start a book blog and talk about the books you’re reading.

6. Track your progress

One of the best things about goals–including reading goals–is tracking your progress. It’s great to see when you are meeting your goals. A good way to keep track of how you’re doing on your reading goals is to join Goodreads. A Goodreads account will allow you to keep track of the books you want to read, are currently reading, or have read.

Other ways to keep track of your reading goals are:

  • Make a bullet journal spread for all your books. Here are some great examples
  • Another way to keep track of the books you’re reading is to use stickers

7. Reward yourself

The best part about meeting a goal is being able to reward yourself for a job well done. Now for me, reading is its own reward. But maybe you need an incentive to read. If that’s the case, decide ahead of time what your reward for finishing a book or a certain number of pages will be. It doesn’t have to cost anything or be anything major. 

Maybe there’s a show on Netflix you want to watch. Promise yourself you’ll only be able to watch it once you’ve completed one thing on your list of reading goals.

I hope you’ve gotten some ideas on how you can set some goals to read more books. What smart reading goals will you set for yourself? Share them with me in the comments below.

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