How To

5 Tips to Help You Reach Your Reading Challenge Goal This Year

Rebecca Renner

Staff Writer

Rebecca Renner is a writer and editor out of South Florida. Her essays have been featured in the Washington Post, New York Magazine, and Glamour. A seventh-generation Floridian, Rebecca's main area of study has been the ecology, culture, and downright weirdness of her home. When not reading, hiking, blogging, traveling, exploring, or playing with her dog Daisy Buchanan (and never sleeping!), Rebecca binge watches TV shows like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and plots world domination via Twitter. Twitter: @RebeccaRennerFL Blog:

It’s only September, but I’m already woefully behind on this year’s reading challenge goal. In January, I was so young and full of hope. I thought I could read 125 books before the end of December. With new job duties and stress, and okay, lots of excuses, as of now my Goodreads Reading Challenge tracker says I’ve only read 65. That means I’m 22 books behind schedule.

My busy life isn’t going to let up any time soon. So instead, I’ve come up with some new strategies to help myself and other overly ambitious book worms who’ve bitten off more than they can chew.

reading challenge goal tip #1: buddy up and get some inspiration

You may already be working your way through a reading challenge, but if you aren’t, join one! They can give you reading inspiration. Plus they come with a built in network of people to cheer you on. If you’re not in on a specific one already, it isn’t too late to start. Here are twenty reading challenges running this year.

Feel like going more free form? Grab one of your IRL reading buddies, start a book club, and make a pact. Maybe you can both set the same goals. Or maybe you could read the same books at once. Either way, having some one to bug you in person may help keep you on track.

reading challenge goal tip #2: cut your goal up into little bite-sized goals

Sometimes big goals can seem daunting. I’m a professional reader, and even I’m freaking out at how behind I am on my reading goal. But after I finished panicking, I realized: I’ve got this. I just have to be smart about it.

The best way to make big reading challenge goals seem less scary is by using math. Yes, math. Fear not, book nerd! It’s easy. You can use a little math to break the big bite of your reading challenge goal down to more manageable morsels.

For me, I need to read…*gasp* 60 books before the end of the year. As of writing this, there are 110 days left this year. So I need to read a book every two days…or less! No wonder I’m falling behind.

Basically, that means I need to make some big changes if I want to reach my reading challenge goal. Good thing I have some more ideas:


reading challenge goal tip #3: Carve Out Some Quiet Time every day

To conquer my seemingly impossible reading goal, I’m going to need to carve out some time just for reading every day. A lot of people like to read before bed, but that personally gets me too riled up. Other people like reading in the mornings before work. That doesn’t work for me either, because I’d never want to move! No, what I like best is to come home after a long day, brew a cup of coffee, and flop down on the couch with a novel.

Whenever you like to read, try to make it a habit. Giving yourself some exclusive reading time every day will help get you back on track with your reading challenge goal.


reading challenge goal tip #4: Always Have a Book with You

I’ve seen a lot of silly advice (*cough* my fellow Book Rioters *cough*) that says to meet your reading challenge goal you should put away your phone. Don’t! Why nix the handiest tool you have in your reading arsenal?

Most smartphones have e-reading capabilities. So download some sweet bookish apps to jazz up your reading life. Two of my favorites let me check out books, audiobooks, and comics from my local library for free: if you haven’t checked out Overdrive or Hoopla, get on it!

With these apps, you can snatch an extra moment for reading any time. I read little chunks of books in waiting rooms and in spare moments of down time.


reading challenge goal tip #5: Read a Different kind of book

Okay, so you’re still stuck on your reading challenge goal. I get it. Now it’s time to bring out my secret weapon:

Shorter books.

Don’t laugh. I’m serious. If you’re behind on your reading challenge goal, that means you’re probably in the thick of a reading slump. Changing up what you’re reading will help. Reading shorter stuff will give your challenge that morale jumpstart you need to get back on track.

When I’m in a reading slump, I like to read poetry and plays. I’ve also been getting more into comics. You could even experiment with a little audio if you haven’t already.


Hopefully after employing all these strategies, I can get my reading life back together.

Do you have other tips for me? Leave them in the comments!