Why You Should Set Reading Goals

The other day, I wrote a post about How to Set Life Goals in 2013. In the post, I walked through the SMART goals framework from Paul Meyer’s Attitude is Everything (which I’ll recommend again — it’s just $2.99 for 144 motivating pages.)

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As I walked through the framework, I showed some of my personal goals for 2013, and one of them had to do with reading. For 6 years now, I’ve set a reading goal each year. For 4 years, that goal was 100, and I usually broke it by a dozen or so books a year. In 2012, however, I changed that goal to 150, and it worked well. Of those 150, a handful of those were ebooks (which are usually shorter than regular book length).

Setting a reading goal is an incredible way to stay motivated to make time for the essential task of self-improvement, and to give yourself a reason to seek the pleasure of reading. It’s one of the simplest goals I recommend to anyone, and, well, I’m recommending it again to you.

As for my reading goals for 2013, I’ll be setting the same goal of 150 books, although allowing myself a bit more breathing room by stating that handily 10 of those will be ebooks.

The reason is two-fold:

  1. I love ebooks, have lots of friends who write them, and find they are often about one of my favorite topics: productivity.
  2. Towards the end of the 2012, I worried that I was stretching a bit too much to read the 150 goal. Case in point: With a month left, and that 150 number looming, I had to give up on my goal of 10 Spanish books (it takes me about 30% longer to read in Spanish) to reach 150 overall. That seemed a bit too confining. So, in 2013 giving me some more ebooks will provide a bit more breathing room. 

Whatever your reading goal might be, it’s something I highly highly highly highly encourage. If reading isn’t a big part of your life, just pick 6 (or 12) books in 2012 that you think are a good mix of helping you grow as a person, and giving you time to escape to another world. It will (truly) change your life.

Do you set reading goals? What are they?


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10 thoughts on “Why You Should Set Reading Goals

  1. I usually try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction. If there is a fictional work that I’m looking forward to reading, I’m inspired to finish the non-fiction work. I also avail myself of the local library. Not only does it cut down on my reading costs, but the due date for the book to be returned motivates me to finish expeditiously.

  2. I love the idea of setting reading goals and love the ambitious ones as well. That being said I read on average about 12 books a year. I would love to reach 50 but cant see anyway I would read a book a week. How many hours do you spend a week reading so you can reach your goal of 150? Any advice.

  3. Just discovered this after reading your post today about Beyond the To-Do List. I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not currently at a 150-books-a-year level (or even 100).

    I set a modest 1-book-a-month goal at the beginning of the year and realized at the end of the 1st quarter I’d read 10, so I upped my yearlong total to 40.

    Thanks for inspiring people to do more than is sometimes comfortable, as that’s what it’s all about.

    • Awesome! Can’t wait to check them out. Just remember that the vast majority of the US reads — what? — less than 1 book a year!

  4. Last year I set the goal of reading 15,000 pages of non-fiction. I set the goal in pages rather than books because the length of books on my to-read shelf at the start of the year varied widely and I didn’t want to give myself a disincentive for reading the longer books. I did reach the goal, although a lot of it came through audiobooks for which I counted their page equivalents.

    • That’s so smart — I totally know the feeling of wanting to find a small book at the end of the year to help speed goals along. Page fixes that;)