Reading Goals: How to Set (And Achieve) Them

It’s almost 2023, and with the new year means a new Goodreads Reading Challenge. Even if you aren’t on Goodreads, you may want to set some goals in the upcoming year. They may be as simple as wanting to read more, or as complex as branching out into new genres. We’re here to teach you how to set attainable reading goals and how to achieve them!

Use the SMART System to Achieve Your Reading Goals

Attainable goals are goals that are, well… attainable! A good system to follow is the SMART goals system. Though often used by businesses and entrepreneurs, SMART goals can translate well into any goal setting system. But, what are SMART goals? How I can I use these to set reading goals?

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. They work like this:

SMART goals

(S) Specific

Your goal should be specific. When translated into reading goals, this may be an exact number, specific genres, specific themes, etc. If your goal is too vague, it will be harder to achieve. You goal should answer at least some, if not all of the “W” questions: who, what, when, where, why.

Who: Who is included in this goal?

What: What do you want to achieve?

When: When do you want to achieve it by?

Where: Where will you accomplish the task set out for you?

Why: Why is this goal important?

(M) Measurable

Your goal should be measurable. That doesn’t always mean you have to measure in the terms of “I want to read X amount of books”. It could also mean things like, “I want to read X minutes per day” or “I want to finish reading one book per month”. Set a measurable goal by answering these questions:

How many?

How will I know when my goal is reached, and how will I indicate my progress?

(A) Attainable

If your goal isn’t achievable, you simply won’t reach it. You know you can only read 20 books in a year, so don’t set a goal of reading 100. Challenge yourself by setting a goal of 25 or 30. Your goals don’t have to look like other’s. Know your limits and what is actually possible for you to accomplish. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

(R) Realistic

Realistic goes hand-in-hand with attainable. Make sure your goal is realistic. You don’t want to set a goal that you can’t actually finish. Consider things like how much time you realistically can put towards achieving your goal, both monetarily and time wise. Make sure to consider that you have the resources to actually complete your goal. For example, if you can’t realistically afford to buy a new book every month, try setting a goal of reading books you already own, or rereading a series you love.

(T) Timely

Set a start and a finish date. You are more likely to finish your goals if you set a deadline to complete them by. If you have a busier schedule, you may want to set your goals by week or by month instead of yearly.

Putting it All Together

When you put all of these together, your goals may look something like this: “I want to finish reading 50 books by the end of December 31st” or “I want to read for 30 minutes every day for one month”. Set up a way to track your goals so you always know where you are in your progress. It can also help to set reminders on your phone to keep you on track.

reading goals

Some Ideas for Reading Goals to Set

If you’re at a loss for ideas on what goals to set, you’re in luck! You can take the Between Worlds Reading Challenge! However, if none of these look appealing to you, we have some standalone ideas that you can use to set up your own reading challenge.

Here are a few reading goals you can use:

I will read…

X amount of books by the end of the year.

for X amount of minutes per day.

3 new authors.

a new genre.

a non-fiction book.

a book written by my favorite celebrity.

an informational book on a subject I don’t know much about.

These are just a few ideas, but your goals can be anything that you know you can achieve! Don’t overthink them, challenging yourself with reading should be fun, and it should never feel like a chore. If your original goals aren’t working out, the good news is that you can always change them to fit your lifestyle.


Follow us on Instagram and share your reading progress with us by using the hashtag #BWReadingChallenge2023!

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