New Year’s Resolutions have been around since ancient times. Each year people resolve to exercise, eat healthier, improve their finances, get married, and, yes, READ MORE! In a 2018 poll, 18% of participants vowed to improve their reading habits in the New Year. Yet, according to a 2018 New & World report, 80% of resolutions fail by February!
“14% of librarians spend New Year’s Eve speed reading so they can meet their reading goal for the year” (Source: Fake Library Statistics)
With those numbers, it is obvious that resolutions are easy to make but much harder to execute. In order to help us meet our own reading resolutions (and yours), here are some tips and tricks for keeping New Year’s Resolutions and how they can pertain to your reading goals.
What is your goal?
Do you simply want to read more? (Then congratulations as reading this article is already helping you towards that goal!) While a vague resolution may seem easier to achieve, you may find it harder to keep track or keep motivated. Try and set small goals such as reading every night before bed, reading the newspaper, or listening to audio books or podcasts while driving to help you achieve this goal. Other reading goals can be “read more books” or “read more non-fiction.” To help you achieve these more specific resolutions, read ahead…
The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, do you want to read one book every week in 2019? That’s realistic for some people, but, if you only read a total of eight books in 2018 (does half of a book count?..), then one book a week will require a bit more of a lifestyle change. While a resolution is supposed to be somewhat of a challenge, ask yourself if you are truly willing to make the commitment.
Have a list of books ready to go. That way, if you don’t like the book you are currently reading, you can put it down and have another one already waiting for you. This is especially helpful if you are requesting books from the library. If you goal is to finally read though all the books that you have collected in your house, try organizing them so that it is easier to pick one based on your mood.
Being able to visualize how far you’ve come on your goal will help keep you on track and motivated to continue. Plus, writing down what you read is very helpful if you find an author you like and need to recall which book in a series you left off on. A book journal – where you write a summary of every book you have read – is one option that will help you remember what you’ve read and also help increase your writing skills. However, if that is too much, a simple log will do. (The Carbondale Library has pocket sized book logs at the front desk just for this purpose. They are free for the taking while supplies last!)
Talk About It
Find folks who will support you during your resolution. Find a friend or family member who likes to read and that you can discuss books with. Speaking of discussion, most libraries have a book discussion group you can join. Not only do they keep you motivated to read but you can share ideas and find inspiration for the next book you read.
Start Small/Keep it simple
Want to read more? Try reading a little before bed or reading the newspaper every day. Want to read more books? War and Peace may not be the best book to start with (unless reading Tolstoy IS your resolution.) Start with something short, light-hearted, or a book that you’ve enjoyed before. You may want to learn more and choose several non-fiction books. However, don’t be ashamed of throwing in a few fiction books or even some teen reading if the more technical writing starts to feel like a slog.
It is generally advised to keep just one resolution a year so that you can focus your energies on achieving one goal. However, if you want to keep multiple resolutions, try combining them. Listen to an audiobook while exercising. Read those chapters at the beginning of healthy cookbooks before diving right into the recipes. If reading makes you drowsy, set aside time to read before bed to help you get more sleep.
Failure is not the end of the world
Has life gotten in the way and kept you from achieving your goals? Have you slowed down or fallen off the wagon completely? It is perfectly okay to reevaluate your goals and start fresh. Rather than lament at the time lost, pick yourself up where you left off and continue on a little wiser.
By February, most people have lost that initial spark that they felt upon making their New Year’s Resolution. Keep that motivation by continuing to work on your goal, even after facing setbacks.
Whether you’ve decided to start a resolution to read more in the New Year or not, we hope these tips can motivate you to set aside a little time for one of our favorite activities. Good luck with all your New Year’s Resolutions!