New year, same TBR pile.
We all have books we’d like to read but always put off. Because we’re either too tired to read before bed, we don’t have enough time, or because we’re easily distracted by other things (like binge-watching Peaky Blinders).
Well, no more! If you want to finally go through your to-be-read pile and cross off everything of your list, check out our tips & tricks.
However, these are not just any tips. They are tried and true methods Bookly’s power users use to keep up with their reading resolutions.
Over 25,000 people use Bookly on a daily basis. We spoke with some of our most devoted readers to help you get on track with your reading resolutions in 2020. These are people who read up to 200+ books/year! And you can do this too!
We wanted to find out how they decide on their resolutions, what tips they have for following through, and how the Bookly App helps them keep their 2020 reading goals.
So if you want to make sure this year you actually keep your resolutions, follow their advice.
Ready to know this year’s resolutions out of the ballpark? Let’s begin!
Track your reading systematically
The first step towards making sure you keep up with your reading resolutions is to start reading. The second step is to use an app to track your progress.
Our users have been tracking their reading systematically for years. It’s allowed them to get a much better picture of what they read and how much, which has, in turn, made them want to up their game.
“Recording my reading time each day and for each individual book keeps me in line and on track,” says Sasha, one of Bookly’s power users who reads 100+ books/year.
So far, over 1,000,000 books have been tracked using Bookly. Now that’s an impressive number!
There are all sorts of things you can track with Bookly: your reading speed, number of books read, hours read, etc. And the best part is that, at the end of the month, you’ll get a personalized report with your stats, so you can see how your reading is improving month after month. Something like this:
Start small. 20 minutes a day is enough
Last year, our users have achieved over 8000 reading goals. That’s really impressive, so we want to give a big round of applause to everyone.
If you didn’t manage to achieve your 2019 reading goals, here’s how you can improve. Start with something like 20 minutes a day. If you think about it, you waste more than that daily on various tasks.
You can even use a countdown to keep track of your reading. This way, you can read without checking the time every 5 minutes. Just set the countdown for 20 minutes, and when the time is up, you will be notified your reading session is over.
The key is to start small. Here’s what Noah, a Bookly power user that managed to read over 9000 pages in 2019 suggests:
“Choose an amount of time that you know you can squeeze into your day, and then actually squeeze it in! Wake up early, stay up late, put your phone down, and put your nose in a book (or Kindle).”
Also, get rid of any distractions to make time for reading. Delete any apps you don’t need from your phone, make good use of the Do Not Disturb feature, and make sure that, before you call it a day, you’ve accomplished your reading goal.
If you need help making reading a habit, you can also set up reading reminders. They’ve worked wonders for Noah.
“Also, set up a system to remind you about your goal — maybe it needs to be a multi-pronged approach. Leave yourself a note on your bedroom door. Put your book on your pillow or in your backpack or purse. Ask your spouse to remind you. Use Bookly’s reminders.”
Also, make sure you always bring a book with you. “You don’t have to be sitting in your reading chair with a cozy blanket and an hour of free time ahead of you. Got a spare 10 minutes? Read. Waiting for the microwave? Read. Just read, already”, said Sasha.
Alternate between short stories, long novels, paperback, and audiobooks
Reading a book a week, for example, is not always an achievable goal. If your book is around the 100-page mark, that’s a breeze. But what if your book is 1000 pages long?
To make sure you actually stick to your reading resolutions and don’t go astray, aim for diversity. Choose short novels, long novels, audiobooks, and books with no text at all. Here’s what Sasha does:
“When I do feel like I’m falling behind on my goal, I will look for a few shorter novels to add to my stack – the closer to 250 pages or under, the better (if I’m really desperate, I might even throw in a couple of novellas)!”
You can even experiment with different genres. This will keep you from getting bored and make it easier to stick to your reading resolutions.
Track your progress over longer periods of time
There will be days when you won’t be able to keep your daily goal. But don’t let yesterday’s failure become today’s failure. What matters is that you improve your reading week after week, month after month. So don’t get discouraged and don’t quit.
If you didn’t manage to read for 20 minutes yesterday, maybe you can read for 40 minutes today. If you’ve already accomplished your daily goal today, but you have some spare time, read more to make up for tomorrow.
Here’s how Noah did it: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I set out to read 20 minutes every day in 2019. Did I read every single day? No. Did I read nearly every day? Yes. With any goal or resolution, the best time to start is yesterday, but the second-best time is today! Don’t let yesterday’s failure become today’s failure. Each morning is a fresh start.”
Find out what motivates you to read more
Ace, a Bookly user who likes to focus on diversity (he reads 3 books of each genre each year) is a competitive person. But that doesn’t always work in his favor: “For me, it was easy to achieve the 150-hour goal. But afterward, I forced myself to stop reading as the next goal was 250 hours. I knew that I would make myself miserable if I tried that just for the sake of doing it.”
Not everyone is motivated by the same things. Some of us have a desire and passion for reading. Some of us are really competitive and are motivated by stats.
This is why countdowns work so well for some; they force you to focus and read as fast as you can. But for others, it can be too stressful and it ends up doing the opposite.
So find out what triggers you to read more. Do you want to become a skilled professional? Read more books related to your job. Are you a sucker for romance novels? Then only read those. Do you only care about reading more, no matter the subject? Then that’s great – read every book you can lay your hands on.
Knowing what motivates you will keep you from getting discouraged when things don’t go your way.
Set a reachable goal and a stretch ambition
Setting an unrealistic goal will only demotivate you. But playing it safe will not help you progress either.
“I set a reachable goal that pushes me, and a dream goal that I forget about until I reach it. So far this structure has served me the best,” said Ace.
Use your Bookly Yearly Reading Report to find out how many books you’ve been able to read the previous year, and use that info to make predictions for the next year. Whenever you feel like you’re falling behind on your goal, diversify your reading list (by adding letter books or books with pictures that are easier to get through).
Adapt your reading habits to your lifestyle
For example, for Ace, changing when he chose to read helped him stick to a schedule. Reminders also helped. “At first, Bookly’s reminders didn’t help as I set them for noon. But then I changed them because I was most comfortable reading later at night.”
Goals are a great way to get started and keep you on track, especially if you’re a highly competitive individual. But if you manage to read a book solely for pleasure, that is the greatest achievement.
If you like to read in the morning with a clear head, then do that. If you like to relax with a book before sleeping, then make sure that’s the last thing you do before going to bed. If you can’t find time to read, bring a book with you everywhere and read on your way to work or while you’re waiting to pay your groceries. When there is a will, there is a way.
If you take three things from this article, let them be those:
1. Start small: if you only read a book a month, don’t force yourself to read 10. That’s unrealistic. Instead, ease your way into reading more until you’re able to read 20 books a month.
2. Find ways to include reading into your lifestyle: if you usually stay up late, it’s unrealistic to think you can wake up one hour earlier every day to read. So read a book instead of scrolling through your Twitter feed, or go to bed earlier so you can read in the morning.
3. Find topics you can relate to in real life: if you’re all about being healthier, read mindfulness books. If you have a big project going on, read motivational books that will lift your spirits. If you want to advance in your career, read everything you can about your industry.
Do you have any other tips you use to help you stick to your reading resolutions? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll add them to this list.