How To

Ideas for Making and Reaching Your New Year’s Reading Resolutions

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle

Contributing Editor

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle is a writer, podcaster, librarian, and information fanatic who appreciates potatoes in every single one of their beautiful iterations. Patricia earned a B.A. in Creative Writing and Musical Theatre from the University of Southern California and an MLIS from San Jose State University. Her weekly newsletter, Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice offers self-improvement and mental health advice, essays, and resources that pull from her experience as a queer, Black, & Filipina person existing in the world. She is also doing the same on the Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice Podcast. More of her written work can also be found in Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy edited by Kelly Jensen, and, if you’re feeling spicy, in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Patricia has been a Book Riot contributor since 2016 and is currently co-host of the All the Books! podcast and one of the weekly writers of the Read This Book newsletter. She lives in Oakland, CA on unceded Ohlone land with her wife and a positively alarming amount of books. Find her on her Instagram, Bluesky, and LinkTree.

Part I: Creating Your Goals

I imagine that most people’s bookish New Year’s resolutions revolve around an amount of reading such as “read x number of books” or, more broadly, “read more.” Here are some creative ideas on that theme and more:

  • When you set your goal, make the number attainable. Reading should be enjoyable and you don’t want to end your year feeling bad about not making your goal. You can even break it up into more manageable portions, such as “Read two books per month.”
  • Concentrate on forming a habit of reading, such as “Read a little bit each evening” or “Only listen to audiobooks when driving or at the gym.”
  • Focus on reading more diversely, like taking part in Book Riot’s annual Read Harder Challenge.
  • Make your own reading challenges, such as, “Read 8 books on my shelves that I have never read,” “Read 3 books I received as gifts that I haven’t read yet,” and “Reread a book from my childhood.”
  • Don’t forget to mix in shorter books, graphic novels, picture books (if you have little ones or have little ones you gift books to), comics (personally, I don’t count issues towards my goals but I count trades), and audiobooks.

    Part II: Reaching Your Goals

    So now that you have your reading resolutions, how do you set yourself up for success come next December? I suggest making a plan, which, yes, you may wander astray from, but at least you’ll have a road map for how to get back on track. Here are some tips and tools for helping you maintain your course.

    • Don’t be afraid to quit books you hate. I know that, for me, if I’m reading a book I don’t like I read much more slowly or am hesitant to read at all. You’re not some kind of hero for reading a book you don’t like. You’re not going to get any award at the end of it. Life is too short to read shitty books.
    • Integrate reading into your hobbies or exercise goals. Audiobooks can be great for walks, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, cross stitching, puzzles, and running.
    • Make reading social! Join a book club or a 24-hour readathon. Read with your partner or kids if you have either (or both).
    • Stop watching so much TV.
    • Always have a book in your bag, pocket, or phone so you can read while in line or waiting rooms or, if you’re like me, at parties.
    • Schedule your reading time! Be consistent. Read right when you wake up or just before bed instead of refreshing Twitter for the hundredth time. Schedule reading on your calendar app so you get notifications to start wrapping up whatever you’re doing because it’s time to read.
    • If you are trying to read daily, to do list apps such as Habitica and ToDoist are super at keeping you on task with your everyday items.
  • Check out fellow Rioter Danika’s post on how to read more and be on the internet less. A browser extension is a brilliant idea. I’m also a fan of the Forest app for desktop and mobile, which plants a virtual tree for a set amount of time and the tree grows as long as you don’t close or minimize the app. This means that your tree dies if you log onto Facebook or Insta or anything that is not Forest.
  • No room or patience for apps? Keep your phone in an entirely different room when you’re reading.

    Part III: Track Your Progress

    As the saying goes, what gets measured gets improved. You don’t know if you’re reading more if you don’t have data on how much you’re reading already.

    Check out these posts on tracking your reading goals: