6 Proven Ways To Set & Stay On Track With Your Reading Goals

How to stay on track with reading goals scaled

I will be the first to admit that many times I have set very lofty reading goals for myself and fallen short, and the disappointment I usually feel is second to none.

Believe me when I say that there is absolutely nothing wrong in falling short of your goals because, in my opinion, what matters is what comes next – What comes next should be revising your strategy and looking back at your past mistakes.

So if you have a reading challenge you are participating in, or if you have simply decided to stretch your boundaries a little bit to take on the task of completing a reading goal, you definitely need to have a strategy.

And I know the word “strategy” makes it sound a little complicated, but that is just the terminology being used because I promise everything I will mention in this post are very laid back and low-effort methods of achieving your reading goals.

Now, before we dive into the actual strategies that have worked for me, the very first thing I always tell anyone who decides to challenge themselves this way is that you need to make up your mind: are you doing this or not?

There is literally no problem if you decide to start next week, next month, or next year, or even today, but what matters is that you need to tell yourself that you are ready to do this because that will inform every decision you make along the way.

Now, if you think or believe that you’re in the right frame of mind to start this challenge, these are some tried and true tips I have used to crush every reading goal I have set in the past decade.

1. Set Very Clear Goals

No two readers are the same, so your reading goals cannot be identical. You must personalise your goals to align with your interests and preferences.

It could be that you are keen on exploring a certain genre or that you want to finish a specific number of books by a certain date, which is all fine. The only thing that matters is that you make it a journey that reflects you and you must learn to center yourself at every point in time.

Once you decide on what you would like your reading list to look like while taking on this task, the next step is to set a clear goal. This could be in the form of giving yourself a deadline or simply stating the number of books you’d like to finish.

One thing that always works for me is breaking down my goal into smaller, more manageable steps. This helps me focus on the bite-sized milestones rather than the end result.

It also makes the entire process less intimidating because now you have a series of tasks to achieve rather than one overwhelming goal.

2. Create a Reading Schedule & Environment 

Reading is a hobby for many, and there’s often resistance against imposing too many restrictions. But, if you have a plan to achieve certain reading goals, you can’t avoid implementing restrictions, such as creating a reading schedule.

A reading schedule helps you dedicate specific periods in your day, week, or month to reading. The benefit of this is that you know it’s something you must do, which makes it a priority since it’s on your to-do list.

You can start by allocating time to reading, perhaps every morning, during your lunch break, or before bed, but consistency is key.

To get into the reading mindset and maintain it long-term, it’s helpful to create a cozy and comfortable reading area. Your reading space should be comfortable and ideally surrounded by things that inspire you to read, with minimal distractions.

If creating a dedicated reading space isn’t feasible based on your living arrangements or other considerations, you can still eliminate distractions from your surroundings and make yourself as comfortable as possible.

3. Track Your Progress

It’s a fantastic idea to keep track of your reading progress by maintaining a reading log or using apps or digital tools like Goodreads, StoryGraph, or Literal.

Personally, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time tracking my progress rather than actually reading, which can be tiring because it feels like I’m running without making much progress.

One approach that works is to see tracking as part of the process rather than the initiator. Instead of viewing tracking as something you have to do before reading, consider it as documentation of the reading process.

Seeing tangible progress towards your reading goals is a big motivation and morale boost. It also helps you identify patterns that can refine your goals and strategy later on.

Related: More for Less: 13 Best Sites To Get Free Books In 2024

4. Join Reading Communities (Online & In-Person) 

I genuinely feel that book clubs are severely underrated because, apart from giving you a sense of community, they also help you stay accountable to your goals.

When I first joined Bookstagram, my first activity was a buddy read with a friend who later became a bookish influencer. It was hands down the most amazing experience, and since then, I’ve participated in many similar events with other readers.

For our buddy read, we read about 20 pages a week of A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum, and every Friday, we had a debriefing conversation where we discussed everything that had happened. It definitely helped me stay on track, and I finished that text in a matter of weeks, which was unexpected.

So, if you find your attention slowly dissipating and it all feels a little intimidating to conquer alone, consider connecting with other like-minded readers online or in person. I’m certain you’ll feel rejuvenated.

5. Reflect and Review

Once you’ve been steadily working towards your goals, make sure to set aside some time to reflect on the books you’ve read and how far you’ve come in achieving your reading goals. What you want to do at this point is observe any patterns or improvements that can be made.

I mentioned earlier the importance of tracking your reading progress, and that point still holds true, no matter what.

The truth is, once you’re able to track your progress and reflect on what you’ve done right and what you could have done better, it helps shape your attitude towards your goals in the future.

6. Be Kind To Yourself

At the end of the day, you’re reading to make yourself happy, so always remember to show compassion to yourself because it’s only when you’re happy that you can properly achieve your goals.

You need to accept that there will be days when it feels like you aren’t making progress and days when you’ll fall behind. Instead of dwelling too much on those setbacks, learn to approach whatever comes with curiosity and grace, and I promise you’ll go even further.

Read Next: 40+ Fun & Exciting Things To Do While Listening To An Audiobook

If you’ve set reading goals for yourself, these are some tried and true ways I’ve been able to achieve mine, and I believe anyone will appreciate them.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions, and if you’d like to see more posts about a reading life, check out the related posts below.


Hi! I'm Preye ("pre" as in "prepare" and "ye" as in "Kanye"), and I am a lifelong book lover who enjoys talking about books and sharing bits and pieces of all the fascinating things I come across. I love books so much that I decided to become a developmental editor, and right now, I work with authors to help them tell their stories better. On this blog, I share everything from book recommendations to book reviews and writing tips, so feel free to stop by anytime you like!

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