Reading goals can be fun!

Not always, but they can be. Which is why I find the claim that reading goals are not fun to be so absurd. I’ve seen this sort of thing around for a while- there seems to be a lot of discontent around people reading a lot or people planning to read tougher books or even reading “too fast”– and my question is always WHY?! WHAT IS IT TO YOU??? It’s frankly peculiar to care what someone else does with their reading. Criticism of reading successes or goals is so weird- cos it’s such a personal decision… and really has nothing to do with anyone else. But since some people do decide to make other people’s reading habits their business, I’ve decided to make a list of why someone might make reading goals:

#1 Reading goals can help you make your hobby a priority. I know that we all have fast-paced and busy lives, in which fitting in a hobby can be hard (no matter how much you may want to do it). Making a decision to read more books can force you to take some time for yourself! That’s why it’s so great when you see that people have read lots of books- it’s a sign they’re doing something positive for themselves- and that should be celebrated!

#2 More books makes the world go round! The fact is, as supporters of the book community, we should be happy to see people reading… even if that’s a lot more than we could ever read! Because when more people read, it helps the bookish industry, which means more books get published… and isn’t that what we all want? If nothing else, that gives us more choice over what to read next. And on that note…

#3 There’s *so many* books out there– planning your reading might mean you actually get to the ones you want! Of course, quality is better than quantity- but if you can do both, you may as well 😉 I know that for me, it’s a struggle to get through everything I own or borrow, so planning it out (however unsuccessfully) can be helpful.

#4 Books can be for self-improvement– and self-improvement can actually make you happy. Not just the fleeting momentary joy of doing something fun- more like the long-lasting satisfaction of a job well done. But choosing a book for self-improvement might not just happen if you rely solely on mood reading (take it from someone who knows 😉). It can be better to set it as an actual goal.

#5 They can help you branch out into books you might not have tried otherwise. Whatever your goal- whether it’s to read more books from diverse authors or check out poetry collections, actually making the decision to do that can be the step in the right direction.

#6 There’s no real pressure– they’re just for fun. You can make them as realistic or unrealistic as you like. No one has to know unless you want them to. Even if everything is blowing up around you, you can chill out about your reading goals.

#7 And you can’t really fail. I have charted my resolution results and yearly stats for a long time and one thing is the same every time: there’s no real expectation of success or failure. Since it is simply for your own benefit, you can choose to do them at your pleasure. You know what I did when I wasn’t feeling it the last two years? Nothing. I simply didn’t do them.

So, there you go- a list of why it can be run to reads and make reaching goals- if you ever felt you needed an explanation for other people’s reading habits (which as I’ve established, you don’t 😉). And if the thought of someone else’s reading behaviour still brings you out in hives, then you ought to consider this quote:

“What do you think is the biggest waste of time?” “Comparing yourself to others”, said the mole.”

All that considered- what do you think?? Do you care what other people think of your reading habits? Or does it bother you if other people make reading resolutions? Let me know in the comments!


17 thoughts on “Reading goals can be fun!

  1. Yes on all of these, but especially number 1 and 4. One of my newest goals is to read during my lunch break and that was solely for the purpose of forcing me to actually take a lunch break rather than just work through it. I actually sit on the opposite side of my desk and read for a good 30-40 minutes. So much better for my mental health.

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  2. I love reading and finishing books. There is a huge difference between weeks where I plan out my reading and weeks I don’t. I get way more done when I plan for it. Challenges also broaden my horizons. The only one I’m competing with is me.

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  3. I loved this post. So true! I have recently gone back to pretty rigid TBRs after mood reading most of last year and actually, at the moment I actually really enjoy it. It means I pick a really good variety and because I have a number of books, I can plan the order, which has been really useful to me. When it doesn’t work any longer, I will change it. No biggie… And if I don’t read for a week… That’s fine too.
    But each to their own and like you said, why does it matter to anyone how anyone else chooses to enjoy their hobby?! Too many people make too big a deal out of pretty much anything, don’t they?

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  4. I agree reading goals are a personal objective. Personally I love them. I use my goals to read a bit more widely than I normally would. Getting myself to experience writing styles and viewpoints out of my comfort zone. Also it helps reduce my screen time – instead of passively watching television that I’m not actually enjoying I can make headway into my reading goals with something I actually engage in. It also helps me engage in critical reading: identifying themes, plot points, character development, world building, sentence structure, etc… so that I can critically edit my own writing. I work better with goals but I don’t put too much pressure on myself that it becomes damaging.

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  5. I find it weird that there’s this dichotomy between “we ALL need to participate in reading goals nd it’s weird if you don’t” and “we ALL should never participate in reading goals”? Like??? My dudes it’s a personal choice that doesn’t affect you. That said, I can understand how younger (especially teenage) members of the book community might feel like, especially around the beginning of the year, there’s a lot of “peer pressure”/social media pressure to participate in reading challenges they may not want or be able to. I, myself, dislike most reading challenges when it comes to my own reading life, because I have ADHD and anxiety that’s perfectionism-based, so it can feel like a lot of pressure to take part in something I doubt I’ll actually be able to complete (sites like Goodreads only allowing you to see your stats if you complete a Goodreads challenge also definitely doesn’t help). I can also understand how, especially for the younger/teen readers I previously mentioned, feeling left out of reading challenges can definitely be compounded by certain types of marginalizations, such as disability, neurodivergence, and/or class, and I know that can really add to the crappy feeling of “well, everyone else has the ability/resources to do this fun-sounding thing and to be a part of the group, but not me!” But I also think the book community does a really good job of trying to make things accessible, and at the end of the day, when it comes to reading challenges, no one is actually breating down your neck to make sure you do everything a certain way. So I guess bottom line is: if you’re not hurting yourself and/or others, no one knows what you do in the dark, thus you’re free to do what you want! Thanks for another great post!

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  6. Brilliant points. My aim in using goals is to extend my reading so that I don’t just mood read. It has worked as last year I read a lot of non-fiction which I really enjoyed. This year, I’m loving my poetry challenge goal

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  7. Interesting post! I don’t have any stake in whether people make reading goals. You do you! Reading goals don’t work for me (other than vague commitments, like reading my book group’s books), but why should I be critical of people who enjoy them? In general, I don’t get why people care what or how other people read. Just read!!

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  8. I completely agreee here! I love challenges. Doesn’t matter, if for books, movies/shows or games. I don’t want to stick only in my comfort zone and those challenges really help to get out of it. Or just to read/ watch/ play through some stuff you planned already a while ago

    My current review blog is only a week old but from my former blog I know, that it can be lots of pressure to get some time for yourself to read, watch or play something. I think it’s important to not let that pressure get through to you. It’s supposed to be fun and not work.

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  9. I love making reading goals, it’s a low-stakes way of challenging myself and organising my reading in some fashion. Definitely agree with #5, I’ve made it a goal to read the Women’s Prize Longlist before the shortlist comes out and I’ve already read several books which I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise (and enjoyed them!). I get that some people don’t like the pressure of reading goals but then they just shouldn’t make them for themselves? People can be very ‘it must work for everyone or no one should do it’ about these things and it can get quite ridiculous (especially about reading which is a personal taste thing).

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