Readers can be a nerdy bunch. There are some who like to acquire, track and unlock achievements. They find reading journals meditative. It’s a chance to plan, to collect thoughts, and to dream.
Reading goals can also become unrealistic and competitive. It can suck the joy out of reading.
There are ways to avoid that. When planning reading goals and buying that new journal, here are a few things to consider:
What kind of reader are you?
Are you a mood or a goal-oriented reader? Do you want to overhaul your reading style or do you want to make a few tweaks? For example, if you’re a mood reader but you’re feeling overwhelm by your growing TBR pile, find a goal that helps you develop a selection process.
What do you want to accomplish?
Do you want to read a book a month, a week or a day? Look at your reading habits and decide what’s realistic. Also, this is the time to think about why you want to meet this reading goal.
Let’s say you want to take part (or host!) a reading challenge. Why? Is it a way to stretch your reading choices or do you want to participate in something social?
Dig deep and you might discover that your yearly reading goal is based on something unrelated. Maybe your goal to read more books is really the need to read faster. You don’t want to read assigned books, but instead you want to read the books you bought last year and haven’t touched. That reading challenge goal isn’t going to motivate you or give you the end result you want.
What is the best way to track your goals?
There are many customizable paper and digital journals. Do you list the books you abandon? There are printables for that! Want to track your library checkouts? You can buy pages designed for that specific need on Etsy.
If you have a yearly goal, break down the challenge and focus on the process. Try a habit tracker. For example, there have been studies that suggest reading 30 minutes a day helps reduce stress. If reading for pleasure isn’t a daily activity, create a habit tracker for a month.
If you need to know your book budget, the spreadsheet is the best method to monitor your spending. Some readers even track how much money they save when they get books from the public library.
Do you waste too much time on Booktube, Bookstagram and BookTok? Where do you get most of your book recommendations? Collect and check the data!
Is your book buying influenced by social cataloguing sites or through online bookseller reviews? Are you following your favorite book blogger more out of habit, or is she still providing the best reading lists? Track your online resources and find more efficient book discovery methods.
Are you a reviewer and you jot down notes as you read? Do you write pages in your journal as you read because you take part in bibliotherapy? Logging random questions and phrases on the phone will not be ideal. Make sure your reading journal has enough space based on your writing style. (It’s also a great way to document your journey as a reader!)
And there are the long-term and specific goals that readers enjoy. Do you want to read an author’s extensive backlist? Or do you want to read all of the books of a series? Don’t rely on your memory! This is when a goal tracker or a printable helps you focus and stay on track.
Finally, if you’re using any kind of journal or tracking method, don’t forget the stickers! Maybe I participated in too many summer reading programs as a child, but I think every reader deserves merit badges.