One of the best parts of a new year is making resolutions. Imagine a wonderful year of possibilities where you might just come out the other end happier, more accomplished than you were when you started. However, the smallest hitch can make a resolution seem hopeless come March.
Never fear, dear reader, because we’ve come up with some of the best bookish resolutions to make, along with some hints and tips to help you see them through until the end of 2016.
1. Read Outside Your Comfort Zone
It can be too easy to slip into a reading rut, sticking only to your favorite genre and being too comfortable to venture into other areas. However, reading more widely is something that is well worth doing, even if you come back to roost with some old favorites in the end. Reading outside your comfort zone could open up a whole new genre to love, give you a new perspective on your own, or just shake you out of a reading rut.
Help! I’m Struggling: If you’ve picked up a book and found yourself a third (or more) of the way through and hating it, go ahead and put it back down. You don’t need to finish a book that you hate (life is too short), and you can always pick up a different one that is still a little different instead. Wait till you are around a third of the way through though, just to be sure you really dislike it – rather than just being uncomfortable with something new.
2. Stop Buying New Books (Before Reading the Old Ones)
Bookworms and hoarders have a lot in common, and at some point, you may want to take control of your book buying and actually finish all the ones you currently own before returning to the bookstore. Not only will this save you money (and the sanity of those you live with!), but it’s a great way to make sure you actually read all those great titles you picked up along the way.
Help! I’m Struggling: There will be times that you just don’t want to read any of the books you own, but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy new. Keep to the spirit of the resolution and save money and space by heading to your local library or book swap when you just can’t find the perfect next read already on your shelves.
3. Become Part of a Bookworm Community
Reading is a solitary pursuit, but sometimes it’s nice to head out to find other like-minded readers to share your excitement with. Resolve to join a book club, read some book blogs, go to a convention, a reading or a signing to start taking part in the wider world of readers.
Help! I’m Struggling: Baby steps. If you are worried about committing to a monthly book club or the intensity of a book convention, try a single signing, discussion or event. Finding online blogs or sites like Goodreads.com are a great way to dip your toe in the water without even having to leave the house!
4. Decide on the Right TBR List
Many resolutions are more general, but if you are the kind of person who wants a specific goal that can be hit (or missed!), there are plenty to choose from. Read that one classic, series, or best-seller that you have always been meaning to. Plough through an author’s entire backlist. Sit down to work your way through that list of books you should read before you turn whatever age you are turning, or classics to make you well-read. Maybe you just want to read a specific number of books this year, no matter what they are.
Help! I’m Struggling: Timing is everything. Specific and measurable goals are fantastic, but you still have to get started sooner rather than later. Figure out how many books are on your goal list, and how many you should be reading each month to hit that number by Dec 31st. While there is always a little leeway, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are roughly on track as the year progresses – check in with yourself and your list every couple of months to keep focused.
6. Just Read More!
Reading is fantastic, and there is really no downside to just trying to read more books! If you do nothing else this year, reading a few more books than usual will give you a little glow of accomplishment, as well as something new to talk about and a welcome chance to relax and enjoy some time to yourself.
Help! I’m Struggling: Finding time to read is never easy, and everyone has a busy life where me-time can get lost in the shuffle. Planning, prioritizing and multitasking are the best ways to shoehorn some extra reading time into your life. Set aside a little time each day to read – even ten minutes before bed will up your reading time and help you relax for a better night’s sleep. If you plan to read at other times, too, guard those times with your life! Consider it necessary relaxation time, turn off your phone, and settle in. Finally, don’t discount multitasking. Read on the treadmill, read in the waiting room, read while making dinner. By the end of the year, you may be surprised by how much more you managed in just a few stolen moments.
The Ultimate Goal
While resolutions are fantastic, and can really help expand your reading and your enjoyment of it, don’t forget: reading should be fun! Set your goals for 2016, but if you ever find yourself sighing as you push yourself to hit your monthly target, you may want to remind yourself why you set it in the first place. One resolution that comes first is to never stop loving to read…
Have a wonderful New Year, and please let us know what your reading resolutions are for 2016 in the comments.