5 tips for reaching your reading goal in 2014

So you vowed to read 20, 30, 100 books this year. Awesome! Go you! But what if you didn’t meet your goal last year? How can you avoid falling short this time?*

books pileBe practical

If your goal last year was 50 books, don’t aim to read 60 this time. Tally how many you did read and set a reasonable goal. For example, if you read 30 out of the 50 you intended, push yourself to do 40. That’s still a challenge, but it’s much more practical and within reach.

Choose different lengths

Hey, there are no rules about how long a book has to be to qualify in a standard reading challenge. I saw someone on Goodreads who set the bar at 100 and read 99. Ninety-nine. Why on earth that person didn’t sneak in one more novella or graphic novel is beyond me.

Read whenever you can

Reading even a few pages at odd times during the day is better than not reading at all because you’re busy. Believe me: You can sneak in a few minutes here and there — at lunch, on the bus, while you’re making dinner, in the waiting room, whenever.

I like to squeeze in some reading before bed. Since bed is a “no work” zone, I can forget the stress of my responsibilities and obligations and focus on the book in my hands — and usually that means I get sucked in. What I plan as five minutes turns into an hour (or two).

I would also suggest putting down the remote and backing slowly away from the TV.

Stuck? Move on

Feel like you’ve been reading that one book forever? Do yourself a favor and let it go. It’s bogging you down and preventing you from reaching your goal for the week/month/year. And it’s not worth it. The more bored you get with the book, the more it becomes a chore to read and the more likely you are never to finish it at all. Don’t be stubborn. Drop it for something you will enjoy — at that point, probably anything else will strike you as a thousand times more interesting.

Mix it up

Avoid getting cemented in one genre. Vary what you read! If all you read is a hundred fantasy books in a row, there’s a good chance you’ll sigh over starting each one (unless you really, really love fantasy — and in that case, knock yourself out). But dabbling in different genres can make each book you read seem fresh, which is an important part of staying excited and motivated.

What are your tips for reading success in 2014?

*As a disclaimer, I didn’t make my goal last year, which is why I’m determined to change that. These tips have all been gleamed from the mistakes I’ve made, so they’re bound to be helpful to you, too.