On Reading Resolutions

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to make resolutions, reading related and otherwise, for the upcoming year. This isn’t a spur of the moment activity for me. I get out a pad of paper and outline possibilities before coming up with a final list. For some resolutions I make mini goals and add them to my calendar as reminders throughout the year. This process always makes me feel hopeful for the future. It reminds me of the things I can and want to do. Getting stuck in a rut happens way too easily and often. Resolutions remind me to try something new. Reading resolutions remind me to get out of my comfort zone once in a while.

I make resolutions for multiple aspects of my life including health and fitness, relationships, travel, and of course reading. One of the benefits of book related resolutions is that they can help with other resolutions. Want to become more mindful, develop a yoga practice, or stick to a budget? There are books that can help with that. If the word resolution really bothers you call it a challenge or an intention, as in you are challenging yourself to read more books by people of color or you intend to read five books that were originally published in a language different from your own.

One of my favorite reading resolutions is something I call Reading the World. Most of us recognize the need for more diverse books. As I am not a publisher or professional reviewer I cannot directly impact which books and authors are published or promoted. But I can read, so I resolve to read more diversely. Specific resolutions tend to work better than vague ones. As such I decided to focus on particular areas of the world. I intend to read at least one book by an author from Central or South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, as well as at least two books originally published in a language other than English. I further resolve to read books that feature LGBTQ+ characters and characters with a disability. These are not the only ways to define diversity. These are simply the ways I’ve chosen to diversify my reading in 2017.

Another of my reading resolutions is to read a variety of genres. I have attempted different variations of this one several times before. Thanks to this resolution I have tried horror, true crime, poetry, and other genres that were either new to me or that I have rarely read since college. 2017 will hopefully be the year for westerns, cyberpunk, and short stories. Additionally I resolve to finish some of the series I started then wandered away from. Hopefully in 2017 I will finally learn how the Divergent, Women of the Otherworld, and other series ended.

In some circles resolution is a bad word. I understand why. People make grand plans on January 1st and feel bad if they don’t accomplish what they set out to do. I used to feel that way. Then I decided to change my mindset. Instead of thinking of resolutions as a marker of success or failure or something to check off a list I think of them as a journey. It is okay if I don’t finish a resolution. It matters that I tried. I only feel bad if I didn’t even start. Several of my 2016 resolutions will be making a repeat appearance in 2017. The way I see it each year I’m taking a few steps in the direction I want to go in. Don’t get me wrong. Getting to the destination would be awesome but even if I don’t, the journey is worth it.

Perhaps New Year’s intention would sound better, or goal or challenge. Whatever you call it, I like resolutions. Nothing and no one is perfect. There is always room for improvement. Contentment is a good thing but so are change, growth, and discovering new things. That’s where resolutions come in. They help me change, grow, and discover new things about the world and myself.

Are you making any resolutions for the New Year, reading related or otherwise?

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