Arts & Entertainment

A Page Turner: A Guide to Making Reading Goals and Actually Keeping Them

Emily Rosca | The Phoenix The Phoenix’s assistant A&E editor gives tips on setting book-related goals and actually following through with them.

It’s that time of year where most of us will sit down and write out our New Year’s resolutions in that new journal we bought ourselves over the holidays. Most of us probably made resolutions along the lines of “work out more, read more, get a 4.0 GPA, meditate, actually use this journal that I bought for $20 at Barnes and Noble.”

Let’s be honest, by March many of us will have forgotten we were supposed to be working out twice a day and that journal will probably have about five pages filled. That doesn’t mean setting goals isn’t a good thing, but staying on track can be hard. 

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I read so much as a college student. Aren’t I supposed to be busy doing, you know, college things? The simple answer is I set a goal and I stick by it. 

At the beginning of 2019, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read 50 books. I ended up only reading 42 but that was still significantly more than I’ve ever read before. You see, 2019 was the first year I set a number goal of how much I wanted to read. Instead of saying “I want to read more,” I gave myself a number and pushed myself to get there.  

Now, in 2020, I understand the importance of setting reading goals and trying to keep them. To spice things up, I set more specific goals too, such as reading at least 10 translated novels and five nonfiction books. 

This may sound like your middle school teacher’s lecture on why goals are important. It may even sound a little (a lot) cliche, but trust me, it works. 

Now it’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, but it’s so easy to get off track. Life can get in the way of even the simplest things and it’s easy to put leisurely reading on the backburner when you have a million other tasks to be doing. 

To expand the amount you read this year, I’ve compiled a few tips.

First, put your phone down for 30 minutes at night and read. Thirty minutes, that’s it. If you read 30 minutes a day, you’ll be surprised by how many books you can get through. It’s so low commitment. 

Next is carrying a book around with you. Whether you stick one in your bag for your daily CTA commute, or you have an e-book (because yes, I do believe they should exist, even though my very sarcastic column suggested otherwise) on your phone for when you’re waiting for the shuttle, spend your time reading a story rather than looking at Twitter memes. 

If you don’t like the books you’re reading, then you’ll never read as much as you want. Instead of forcing yourself to read that self-help novel or that “how to budget for college students” book your parents got you for Christmas, read something fun that will keep your attention and make you not want to stop reading. 

Remember that reading shouldn’t be a chore. It should be something fun to look forward to. 

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