In which I discuss how my reading goals worked out last year and what I have planned for 2018. Spoiler alert: say goodbye to my TBR!
There are many arguments for and against the idea of setting resolutions at the outset of a new year. The change of the year serves as a convenient marker. A chance to look back at the year you’ve had and to think about what you’d like the next year to be like. I have a friend who does this evaluation at her birthday. I like to do sort of a mix of the two. My feeling is, however you want to do it is what you should do. If resolutions don’t work for you or for any reason you’re against the idea, by all means sit it out. If you do find value in them, then go ahead and make some. Everyone has their own way of doing it. If it’s working for you, fantastic. If not, do something different.
I personally find setting goals to be useful, but it needs to be specific. A resolution like “be healthier” is just not going to work for me. Breaking a goal down into actionable steps is the most successful way for me to create or get rid of a certain habit. In this example, something like “make a healthy dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Friday” is going to have a much better chance.
All that nonsense being said, last year was my first year setting goals specifically for reading. I’ll briefly touch on how those went and then talk about my reading goals for 2018. It’ll be interesting to see what has changed and what goals were or were not working for me over the past year.
You can take a look at the full post of my 2017 reading resolutions, if you like, but I’ll just run through the main points:
- Engage more with texts through the use of a reading journal.
- Be pretty strict with my TBR (to-be-read) list, with the intention of selecting and completing more diverse reads.
- Read something from genres I haven’t read much or any of before.
- Select more poetry to read.
- Have fun with my reading and keep it from feeling like a chore.
So, how has all that been going for me?
I’ve read a decent amount of poetry this past year. I’ve made an effort to include more diverse voices in my reading. I haven’t branched out much with my genres and still haven’t read a romance book. I kept a pretty tight grip on my TBR list, but didn’t stress out when I decided to diverge from it. I failed SO HARD at keeping a reading journal. But for the most part, reading remained fun and enjoyable.
Some things worked out better than others, but overall I had a really great reading year. I read more in one year than I ever have before and that felt great. 62 books! I far surpassed my goal of 45 books and averaged over a book read per week. What an accomplishment!
Looking at the past year, I have a clear idea of the goals I’d like to set for 2018. Big news: I’m throwing the TBR out the window, folks. You read that right. I just don’t find it serves me all that well at this point. Initially, a lot of these goals were super helpful to me in creating habits. But now I’m in the habit of reading a lot. I’m in the habit of reaching for diverse and representative books. I’m in the habit of picking up poetry. I don’t really feel a need or even a want to continue with the TBR list. I think it was super useful for me for a time, but now I’m excited to get back to picking up whatever book inspires me. Even though I didn’t stress myself out over changed or unfinished TBR lists, I’d like to cultivate a more leisurely attitude toward reading this year. I’m only setting a goal of 30 books for 2018. (I say “only” in comparison to last year’s goal of 45. I realize that’s still a helluva lotta books.) I will still be giving a monthly wrap-up in my “What Anna Read” series and will even look at what I have coming up, but the strict and formal to-be-read list is a thing of the past (for now). I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire at the moment and only expect that to increase in 2018, so it’ll be nice to have reading fall into a supporting role this coming year.
I really do want to make that reading journal work for me, so I’m renewing that goal for 2018. It started out really well, but with all the reading, I stopped taking the time to reflect as much and once I got behind, the whole thing eventually fell apart. I think with a more relaxed reading list and a more intentional approach to journaling, I can stick with it!
The only other reading goal I’ll be concerning myself with in 2018 will be finishing my 30 books to read before turning 30 list. You can read more about that project and see the 30 by 30 list here. I’ve still got quite a few of them left, so that will be more than enough to keep my attention. But I’m thinking there will still be plenty of time for whatever book I’m in the mood for at the moment, too.
These are the things that I believe are going to help me enjoy my reading the most this year!
So, to recap, here are my 2018 reading resolutions:
- Complete my 30 by 30 book list.
- Keep a reading journal.
- Stop planning what I will read so far in advance. No more TBR!
I’m really looking forward to getting started! How about you? Do you have any goals for your reading this year? Is there anything you’ve been dissatisfied with in your reading life that you’d like to change? What goals or habits worked for you that you’d like to continue?
Happy 2018 reading!