It’s that time of the year again when many of us make half-hearted promises to change our bad habits: eat better, spend less, be nicer to annoying family members. For most of us, these attempts will peter out around January 26, and be a dim, distant memory by the time March rolls around. There are quite a few articles on why resolutions fail, with the most common reason being that people aren’t actually ready to make changes to their lives. They optimistically see the New Year as a time to reinvent themselves but deep down they’re not ready to put in the effort just yet. Also, eating salad and being nice to Uncle Know-It-All isn’t all that fun.
But do you know what actually is fun? Reading! As well as being an enjoyable New Year’s resolution, it also comes with a heap of health benefits. Regular readers are less stressed and feel the effects of depression less than non-readers. Reading also stimulates the brain, keeping it active and engaged and it can help to slow memory decline. Along with an improved vocabulary and being guaranteed to be entertained, there’s every reason to pick up a book in 2023.
I know what you’re thinking though. “Are there actually nerds out there who seriously set reading goals for their New Year’s resolutions?”
Raises hand. Yep, that’s me. I’m that nerd. Last year I set myself a goal of reading 100 books over the course of 2022. I also had an ‘unofficial’ target of hitting 365 consecutive days reading on my Kindle app. So, how did I go?
I smashed my book goal, coming in at over 200 books. I don’t have an exact figure as Goodreads doesn’t count re-reads as more than one read and there was one book that I read five times, as well as titles I reread from previous years. I am a huge re-reader and can enjoy the same story multiple times as I’m always able to uncover new depths to it. I was a little surprised to see just how much I do read though. I knew I’d reach my 100 book goal but I didn’t quite think I’d double it.
As for my plan to hit an entire year of consecutive days of reading… well, yes I did hit that goal but there was a hiccup. While I was in Canada and I went through a time zone change, my Kindle app decided that I’d missed a day and reset my count. To say that I was devastated would be putting it lightly. I’m slightly obsessive when it comes to things like this (don’t even get me started on my anguish when my highest Wordle streak ended) so it was quite a blow. No matter what the app says, I know that I’d spent part of each and every day reading so although there’s no ‘official’ record of it, I can be content that I reached my target.
I’m a voracious reader and it’s really all I do. I don’t watch tellie, I don’t play computer games, and I’m not a crafter. Reading is how I spend the majority of my free time and so hitting 200 books in a year was achievable for me. If you don’t have a lot of time to read, you can still make reading a goal for the year but make the number of books realistic for you. Whether that be two, 10 or 200, the satisfaction you feel when you hit your goal will still be golden.