Read More With the Help of “Book Challenges”
Feeling the pull of books, want to read more, but not sure where to begin? Use the structure of a book challenge. Book challenges help you by providing a setlist of subjects or books for you to choose from. Many have quarterly deadlines (though you can join at any time) and badges to collect. They provide a community to talk about books and setbacks. Most of all, they make reading fun, and, in all the whirl of setting and reaching a goal, remember that is the ultimate goal.
The Keys To Reaching Your Goals
Keep your goals focused: For many of us, our desires outstrip our willpower. They advise you to choose to keep the number of goals as well as their size of a lower scale. For regular readers, look at what you read over the course of a year, check the calendar for challenges you know will come, and create a stretch goal. For those returning to reading, know it takes practice. Reading a book a month or even every two months is an accomplishment too.
Change your routine: Habits make our lives. Changing one’s routines around your specific goal ensures that you start ingraining new habits. Again, start small. We can all manage 10 minutes to read before bed or going to work.
Engage in implementation intentions: These are the deals you make with yourself around your weak spots. That can mean, if I don’t read today, I add an extra minute to the next 3 days to make up the time. Keep it positive, by replacing it with a specific behavior, not quitting altogether.
Plan ahead to avoid pitfalls: Not doing so leads us to default to our not-so-great habits when we find ourselves in unfamiliar situations. Create a list of books you want to read, including 5 more than you planned for, and then, when you finish one or find a book, not to your taste, you aren’t trolling through Amazon or your bookstore trying to find a replacement. You have titles at hand and can start the next one right away.
Know your why: this involves creating that all-important intrinsic meaning that makes success more possible as well as giving structure. Also, create self-implemented rewards and penalties. Check-in with yourself often. Goodreads gives you the ability to show your progress to your followers, a good way to make sure you’re moving forward, no matter how slowly.
Forgiveness: Bad days and breakdowns will happen, but those who make and keep goals do not see this as a statement on their character. They do not internalize. Rather they study it, see where they went wrong, and start again the next day with more information.
Now that you understand some of the operators for success, time to delve into the fun stuff so you can find a challenge that suits your goals and needs.
General Reading Goals
Want to read more, but don’t really know where to start. These challenges provide you with structure and prompt to help you find your reading.
PopSugar Reading Challenge: The editors at PopSugar have put together a list of 50 challenges. A great start for someone not sure what’s out there, book-wise, and need a guiding hand and a great list. They even have support groups on Goodreads and Facebook
Book Award Reading Challenge: GIRLXOXO has come up with a challenge that links reading with awards. Like film and television, books have their own awards that are presented throughout the year. Each month you’ll read books from the awards given that month. This list keeps you current and guarantees quality
Diversify Your Reading Challenge: Already reading, but it’s feeling a bit stale? Kelly Mongan has created a great challenge for you. Reading ideas along with worksheets and links to help you support your local booksellers can enliven your reading life in 2021
Genre Specific Reading Goals
Want to expand your options, but within your preferred genre? There are options for you as well.
Memoir Reading Challenge: Jamie Ghione has come up with a list of 30 prompts covering all kinds of memoirs, from celebrity to food to bestsellers, you can discover real people you never considered learning about before
Dystopian Reading Challenge: The Game Read Teach website has come up for your sci-fi and/or horror fans. It includes badges and everything!
Medical Examiners Reading Challenge: For your mystery fan, this is a fun site, where you collect badges and prizes by filling out “toe tags” telling the cause of death for the murderee in your books.
Just For Fun
Here are some ideas that do not take this all so seriously:
52 Books In 52 Weeks: The title sums it up in a nutshell
A To Z Reading Challenge: The goal here, read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet, in order. They have a mini-challenge as well
Finishing The Series Reading Challenge: Get around to actually finishing a series you started but lost track of
Mount TBR: Tackle the books you already own, but haven’t gotten to yet, with this challenge
Color-Coded: Really into color? Then this is for you
With some knowledge and skill, you can take your reading life to new heights. Doing so can help you reap rewards beyond the satisfaction of keeping a promise to yourself. Studies have shown that those who read only 30 minutes weekly report feeling 20% more satisfied with their lives and that it can reduce stress even more than waking, a cup of tea, or a session with your favorite music. Happy reading ahead!