Bookish New Year’s resolutions (+ free printable reading tracker)
I am notoriously bad at New Year’s resolutions. My main problem is that I go too big and then when I inevitably miss the goal, I go ahead and quit because that takes less emotional effort than modifying my expectations (where my fellow Enneagram 9s at??). The resolutions that have been the most successful for me are those that are small, full of grace for missed days, and easy to incorporate into my daily life. For example, in 2017, I resolved to make the bed most mornings after I get ready. Friends, I still make my bed most mornings.
While I’ve learned that smaller resolutions are often better for sustainability’s sake, I’m tempted as a reader to always one-up my previous year’s reading “performance” (if that’s even a thing). What started out as a 50-book reading goal a couple of years ago has ballooned up to 80 this year because I have inevitably surpassed the goals I’ve set out initially. That’s not all a bad thing either. I’ve actually been extremely happy with my reading life the last couple of years and because I’m picking up more books that work for me, I’m reading them faster and have less downtime between reads.
Rather than constantly adding to the number of books I want to read in the new year, however, I’m refocusing my reading goals a bit for 2022. Instead of the volume of books, I want to focus more on careful reading, checking books from my own personal shelves off my TBR, and more dedicated time to reading paper books during the week. Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish concretely:
Continue to track my reading and write reviews immediately after finishing the book: While I’ve been doing this consistently for the literary letter since it launched in August, I’d like to get better about recording my thoughts right after I finish the book, taking time to reflect when it’s fresh in my mind, rather than batching the reviews. I’d also like to try tracking on paper rather than solely in my spreadsheet/on Goodreads.
Read at least 12 books off my physical bookshelves over the course of the year (one per month): After Christmas, I went through all our bookshelves and updated my master book spreadsheet (a story for another time) to reflect our current collection and what I’ve read/not read thus far. We have quite a collection (641 books by my count) and while not all of them are specifically my books, there are a healthy portion I purchased and have never read. I’d like to make a dent in that stack.
Read a physical book for at least 30 minutes a day: I usually read for a little while before bed, but I’d like to put some parameters around it to ensure I actually read a physical book each day. If I know I’ll be out later or too tired to read before bed, I’ll adjust my schedule so I can read earlier.
If you’re the kind to make resolutions about your reading life, I recommend starting small and being as concrete about the goal as possible while still leaving room for grace. A few examples:
If your goal is to read more in 2022, don’t set a goal that’s double what you read this year. That is a recipe for failure. Instead, add on five books or set a goal related to the time you spend reading each week instead, which will likely lead to reading more books in the long run.
If you want to read more books you own rather than buying more or checking endless supplies out of the library, set a limit to the number of new and borrowed books you’ll allow into your house each month. Or decide that each month you’ll read a set number of books from your shelves.
If you want to read more books you know you’ll love, resolve to read all the books by your favorite author, all the books from a specific series, or more from a specific genre you’ve enjoyed previously (Goodreads and other readers with similar taste are valuable here).
If you want to remember the books you read more clearly, don’t set out to read more books at all. Instead, come up with a system for tracking your reading and noting what you liked or didn’t like about the title.
No matter what you’re resolving for your reading life in 2022, I hope you’ll stumble on the right book at the right time, books that will stay in your brain for years to come, books to make you laugh, and books to make you cry. If you’re working to track your reads better in the new year, I’ve made a cute free printable reading journal just for you. You can get it by filling out this form (it’ll also subscribe you to the literary letter, just FYI). And if you want a cheerleader, feel free to connect with me on Goodreads. The reading life doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Let’s continue connecting over books in 2022!
Do you make reading-related resolutions? What are you hoping your reading life holds in 2022? What did you love about your reading life in 2021?