Our Reading Lives

How Reading is Helping Me Accomplish New Year’s Resolutions

Laura Marie

Staff Writer

Laura Marie is a writer and teacher in Ohio. She reads one or two audiobooks every week, loves falling into a good cooking memoir, and debates feasibility of tech from sci-fi books with her husband.

It’s been a couple of weeks, and now is when so many of us start getting real with ourselves. The new year is less shiny, and we’re starting to see that we still have to tie our shoes and make our beds in 2018, just like every other year.

I personally am completely committed to my New Year’s resolutions, though I typically start off with the word “goals.” “Goals” acknowledges that it will take some work to reach them, while “resolutions” makes it seem like there is no way I won’t succeed. This is not my first rodeo. I know there will be things I cannot accomplish.

That being said, I’ve found that some days, even only a few days into the year, I wake up a little overwhelmed. Or a lot overwhelmed. I feel like I want to achieve a whole year’s worth of results, but I can only do that one hour at a time. It makes me, counterintuitively, drop all my productivity and turn aside to wasting time.

So I’m trying to focus on doing something else instead: I try to read for at least 15 minutes as the start of my time working on goals. There are a ton of ways that reading can help with reaching New Year’s resolutions, but here are the ways they are helping me right now.

Do One Thing At a Time

When I’m tempted to start five projects and then immediately abandon them all, I have to scale it back. I say I will do just one thing, which is reading a book. Sometimes it is an important book I need to read to accomplish a goal, but just as often I grab whatever book I haven’t read yet and give it a few chapters.

Doing one thing at a time is tough for the Millennial generation. Since we’ve been rewarded for learning how to multitask ourselves crazy on electronic devices, it is nice that just reading clears my brain. What’s more, at some point, my mind will wander a little, even while I’m still reading. I’ll be ready to set aside my book to switch to just one new task. Typically I begin my freelance working mornings this way, since trying to do everything at once doesn’t work at all for me.

See Clear Results and Feel Accomplished

Closing a book and putting it to the side after reading the final page is so clearly an ending. When you know that you’ve finished a novel or nonfiction book, you can cross it off your 2018 Read Harder list. You can also write it in a notebook with all the other titles you’ve finished.

The feeling of accomplishment creates a drive to do so again. I know that finishing a book is enviably clear as far as completing goals go. With many of they typical New Year’s resolutions, it takes a long time to know of the goal has been met, and even then the results may seem mixed. Getting a cut-and-dry accomplishment in your system gives you sustenance on those days when it seems like no goal will ever be fully achieved.

Accomplish Tedious Tasks With Greater Entertainment

The same thing that makes uni-tasking a physical book lovely works in the opposite direction with audiobooks. An audiobook can help you resolve to clean your house more often, to work out at the gym, to finally address all those thank-you notes from the holidays.

The adult world is riddled with repetitive tasks like commuting that require some attention but not all of it, and I’m infinitely more motivated on those kinds of non-thinking tasks when I have my headphones on and a great book rolling.


How are you using reading to help you accomplish your New Years Resolutions? Share in the comments! Also, read up on How to Prepare for a New Year of Reading!