Reading Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Patricia Thang

Senior Contributor

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find. Twitter: @aintnopthang

I’ll be honest. I hate setting New Year’s resolutions, especially concrete ones. Like, people are here resolving to make home-cooked meals three times a week, write a novel, become an astronaut…what are they thinking?! Sometimes I’ll give myself an extremely general guideline, like “do more of X” or “be less Y,” but otherwise I’m not a fan and don’t participate in the practice. And I definitely don’t give myself reading resolutions because I’ve never even successfully accomplished a “wouldn’t it be nice” non-goal, and I don’t need that negativity tearing me down.

Funnily, this preference is actually pretty at odds with my usual love of breaking up my life into little tasks and ticking things off checklists. I guess New Year’s resolutions just seem too large. If any of this resonates with you, you’re the perfect candidate for Project Reading Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep. Which is just an arbitrary list I came up with of reading resolutions that are extremely — almost laughably — achievable. But that faux official name sounds pretty good, right?

So if you still want the satisfaction of checking off accomplishments without getting discouraged by falling short on goals that were just a little too challenging, what are you waiting for? Get started with Project RRYAK below!

Read at Least 100 Words a Day

Congratulations! If you’ve read this far into this post, you’ve already fulfilled this quota twice over! As you can see, regardless of if you have a chance to crack open an actual book each and every day, you’re still going to be able to accomplish this goal pretty easily. And we like accomplishable goals! So whether you get your 100 words from street signs during your commute, ingredient lists on food packaging during your grocery run, or just doomscrolling on Twitter, at least you’re reading something, right?

Fall Asleep to an Audiobook Once a Week

Audiobooks have always intimidated me because what if I space out and miss something important? Or forget something from 30 pages ago but can’t flip back to check on it like I can with a physical book? So here’s a resolution that takes focus and memory out of the equation. Just turn on that audiobook app as you get into bed, and however much you miss, so be it. The important part is that we’ve familiarized ourselves and interacted with the format in some way.

Read the Jacket Copy of Your Favorite Authors’ Newest Books

I’m notoriously terrible at keeping up with new releases, but I have, at the very least, found it feasible to have a general idea of what’s coming up. You don’t need to know about everything that’s coming out (that’s a job for someone else), but choose a few favorite authors and check in for their newest projects every so often. Whether or not you actually get to reading those books this year, knowing what they’re generally about and that they exist at all is plenty!

For the extra ambitious, make sure you’re following our All the Books podcast to keep up with each week’s new releases!

Plan a System for Tracking Your Reading

First, choose any tracking method you want. From a spreadsheet (like the Book Riot Reading Log) to an app to a simple notebook, anything goes. Once you know what you want to use, get it prepped — customize your spreadsheet, set up the settings in your app, choose a nice notebook to use. And, ta-da, you’ve checked this resolution off your list! We haven’t done any actual tracking yet, you say? All this resolution is about is planning your tracking system. So if you don’t follow through with using it as conscientiously as possible (because who of us hasn’t just forgotten about tracking a month or two or ten’s worth of books before?), don’t sweat it!

Alternately, Ditch Tracking Altogether

On the other hand, if you’ve already been a diligent tracker for years but feel like the work it entails is starting to get stifling (because it totally has for me), make it a goal to stop worrying about stats and reports for 2022. We deserve a break!

Complete Two Tasks of the Read Harder Challenge That Particularly Excite or Interest You

The Read Harder Challenge consists of 24 reading prompts to help readers expand their horizons and venture out of their comfort zones. But for anyone who, like me, finds 24 books in a year a bit daunting, there’s no shame in paring it down to something that’s definitely doable. I, for one, have never finished a Read Harder Challenge, but certainly have been able to complete at least a handful of the tasks each year. So start small, and maybe we can work our way up to the entire challenge eventually.

DNF Books You’re Not Into

The easiest reading resolution to complete? Don’t! We can so easily get bogged down by numbers and the false need to finish things, sometimes it keeps us from truly enjoying this activity we supposedly loved. So this year, promise yourself you won’t force any books that aren’t giving you the experience you want or deserve.

And, look, if you actually were on the market for some serious bookish New Year’s resolutions, we’ve got those too (she said begrudgingly). You’re always welcome back here if they don’t work out though!