Reading Goals: How to Set & Crush Them (+ Ideas!)

Do you set reading goals in Goodreads (or elsewhere)? I do every year. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to read more, or maybe just to challenge yourself to read more widely (different genres, authors, etc.).

Whether you’re new to reading goals or you’ve been setting them for years, I hope you’ll find some reading goal inspiration in this post.

Here’s an overview on what reading goals are, different types of reading goals, how & where to set them, and how to actually meet them!

what are reading goals and how to set them

What Are Reading Goals?

A reading goal can be any personal goal related to books. Often, it’s a target number (or type) of books you’d like to read within a given time frame.

It’s a way to challenge yourself to enjoy more of a favorite hobby (reading!) or expand your perspective of the world. Reading goals can help you stick with a reading habit, or be more intentional with your reading.

You can set difficult/stretch goals, or keep things low-key by focusing on easy reading goals for yourself. Most importantly, reading goals are whatever YOU want them to be.

Looking for more inspiration? Try my 2024 reading challenge (with free printable checklist)!

Different Types of Reading Goals

While there aren’t a finite number of reading goal “types”, I want to share a few of the more common ones in case you’re looking for a little inspiration!

1: Reading a Certain Number of Books in a Year (or Month)

This is a goal I personally set every year, and it’s one of the most simple goals to track.

Take a look at the year ahead, and decide how many books you’d like to challenge yourself to read. It can be 5 books, or 100 – it’s all about what makes sense for you.

Stacks of Books

2: Reading a Variety of Genres

If you find yourself in a reading rut reading the same genre(s) over and over again, maybe it’s time to switch things up! Who knows: you may even find a new favorite genre.

If you mainly read fiction, maybe set a goal for yourself to read 5 nonfiction books or memoirs this year. Or, maybe you want to try reading some poetry.

If you only read memoirs, try writing down 5 different fiction genres you’d like to try (such as contemporary fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, fantasy, and literary fiction). Or, plan to read one book from a different genre each month.

For this type of goal, it helps to be specific and intentional. Write down specific genres (or books in those genres) that you want to read for your goal.

The more concrete you make your goal, the easier it will be to keep yourself accountable!

3: Read A Certain Amount of Time Per Day (or Week)

Here’s another type of reading challenge that’s pretty straightforward: challenge yourself to read a certain amount of minutes (or hours) each day or week.

Maybe you want to read for 20 minutes every morning with breakfast, or 45 minutes before bed each night. Whatever works with your schedule and lifestyle!

You can track this type of goal by marking in your planner which days or weeks you were able to meet the goal.

4: Books You Own vs. Buying New Books

This is a great goal, because it focuses on something a lot of book lovers have trouble with (myself included): reading the books that are currently sitting unread on your bookshelf, rather than buying more new books!

Make a plan to read a certain percentage (maybe 50%, or even more!) of books you already own this year. You can even make a TBR list (‘to be read’ list) of specific books you want to read, to help when you aren’t sure what to read next.

5: Reading Challenges

Another type of reading goal is a reading challenge, which is more of a specific list of books you’d like to read.

Some reading challenges focus on a specific topic or theme, whereas others are a little more random. Either way, they’re a fun way to shake up your reading!

Here are some ideas:

100 books to read in a lifetime reading challenge

How & Where to Set Them

One of the most popular places to set a reading goal is through the Goodreads app. (Here’s a little more about what Goodreads is and why you should join!).

I set a reading goal in Goodreads every year. Not only is it easy to track the books you’re reading, but at the end of the year, it also gives you an overview of all the books you read that year. (That includes a breakdown of the book ratings you gave, book lengths, and more.)

If you prefer, you can easily just write down your reading goal in a planner or reading journal instead. Nothing wrong with going old school with a pen and paper!

It’s best to choose a place you’ll see some what often, though, so you remember to keep track of your reading.

How to Crush Your Reading Goals

And now, how to actually meet the reading goals you set!

Step 1: Be sure to track your reading goals.

First off, you’ll need to figure out how you want to track your reading goal progress. Otherwise, how will you know when you’ve met them?!

This is where the Goodreads app comes into play (for me at least). You just mark each book as ‘read’ once you finish, and it automatically adds it to your goal tracking.

It gives you an update on your progress in real time, which I personally find really motivating!

Goodreads reading goal challenge screenshot

Another fun way to track your goals is with a bookish bullet journal. These can be digital or physical (pencil/pen-and-paper).

Just fill in different shapes or use different colors (ex: for different book genres) to represent books you’ve read. You can even use stickers!

Step 2: Make a plan.

It doesn’t hurt to put a little thought into how you plan to reach your goal(s). Try to break down your main goal into smaller, actionable goals.

For example, if you’re hoping to read a certain amount of books in a year, figure out how many books you’ll need to read each month (or week) to meet that goal. This makes it much easier to stay accountable to yourself throughout the year.

Or, if you want to read a wider variety of genres, come up with a short list of books in different genres. That way, you’ll already have an idea of which books to reach for when you find some free time for reading!

Step 3: Re-evaluate at the halfway point.

Sometimes, things change and a reading goal that you set months ago may not be feasible (or relevant) anymore. That’s totally fine!

It’s perfectly fine to re-evaluate partway through and make some changes. Reading shouldn’t be a chore – it should be fun, inspirational, and/or educational.

Do what works for you – after all, it’s your life!

Step 4: Get reading!

Last, but definitely not least – it’s time to get reading! Here are some helpful tips for reading more books (especially if you’re busy):

  • Bring a book with you everywhere you go (or your Kindle/e-reader)

  • Choose to read books instead of watching TV or scrolling on your phone

  • Join a book club, or buddy read with other book lovers on Bookstagram (a bookish community on Instagram)

  • Try listening to audiobooks (at work, while doing chores or driving, while exercising, etc.)

  • Read books you actually enjoy

  • Plan a read-a-thon (on your own or with friends/family!)

  • Schedule reading time into your day (even use a planner or digital calendar if it helps!)

  • Keep a stack of books on your nightstand (so they’re easily within reach, and you see them every day)

Remember: it’s perfectly okay to DNF (“did not finish”) a book! If you’re not feeling it, set it aside for later – or just stop reading it for good.

There are too many great books out there to waste time on one you don’t find interesting or engaging.

Good luck setting (and reaching) your reading goals, and happy reading!

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