With a new year comes a new beginning, and a great opportunity for setting goals. So many times we fall back on making the same resolutions we made the year before. This year, why not shake things up a bit by making an achievable New Year’s Resolution that you’ll enjoy keeping? Since I’m something of a bookworm and this blog is meant for readers, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re a bookworm too and suggest some ideas for book-ish resolutions you might enjoy keeping in the New Year. But first a cute New Year’s photo I took a few years ago.
1. Read a Certain Number of Books This Year.
The great thing about a resolution or goal like this one is that it’s measurable. At any given time thoughout the year, you can see your progress and how close you are to achieving your goal, which can be a powerful motivator. I like to use Goodreads to keep track of what I’m reading and what I thought of each book. The neat thing about using Goodreads, is they’ll let you set your own yearly goal and then track your progress for you, as you update the info on which books you’ve read. Here’s a link to their 2013 Reading Challenge. I’m assuming they’ll host one for the upcoming year as well. In choosing your number, consider how many books you read last year, and how quickly you generally read. You want a number that’s a little bit of a stretch, but not so much as to become a burden. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!
2. Finish the Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read.
I don’t know about you, but I know that no matter how quickly I read, there always seem to be at least a few books languishing on my book shelf or on my eReader. They’re generally ones that I really do want to read, but that I somehow never seem to get around to reading. If that sounds like you, consider identifying a few of those books and resolving to read them in the coming year. Then make them a priority. The great thing about this kind of resolution is you can aim to get it done early in the year while you’re still excited about your resolution. Then you can have a feeling of accomplishment and not have to worry about trying to keep it up throughout the whole year.
3. Participate in a Book Discussion Group.
As much fun as it is to read on your own, it can be even more fun to discuss what you’ve read with a group. If you’re not already in a book discussion group, consider joining or starting one in the coming year. Within a book group, with everyone reading the same book at the same time, you’ll find yourself reading and enjoying books you might not have otherwise read, and having the opportunity to share some of your favorite books with others. Plus, you’ll find yourself considering questions and points about the book that might not have occurred to you, and going away with a deeper appreciation for it. If this resolution appeals to you, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss my upcoming posts with tips on starting, joining, and participating in a book discussion group.
4. Find and Follow Some Book Review Blogs.
There are lots of bloggers out there reviewing books. Odds are, if you take a little time to search, you’ll find bloggers specializing in reviewing books within whatever genres and sub-genres you like best, whose taste in books may be very similar to your own. As you follow a particular book reviewer’s blog, you’ll get to know and appreciate his or her unique voice and reading preferences, and you may discover some books you’ll love that you might never have heard about otherwise. If this resolution appeals to you, and if you enjoy reading Christian fiction, I’d be honored if you would consider including my blog among those you follow.
Not sure how to “follow” a blog or even what I mean by that? Wikipedia has a good article on News Aggregators and how they can be used to “aggregate” articles from all your favorite blogs in one place for ease of reading.
5. Connect with Favorite Authors on Social Media.
As social media becomes more popular, more and more authors are connecting with fans on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and more. Odds are good that your favorite authors are more accessible online than you may think. Visit their Web sites, check out which social media networks they frequent, and consider connecting with them. You’ll have the chance to let them know how much you love their books and to stay up to date on author events, book giveaways, upcoming books, and the like. Follow your favorite authors on your favorite social networks now and this resolution will take care of itself as you stay connected all year long.
6. Broaden Your Reading.
It’s easy to get into a reading rut, always reading books within the same genre or topic, or books written by the same handful of authors. If you can relate to that, consider resolving to periodically try something new this year. Perhaps you’d like to try a book by an author you haven’t read before. Or a book from a genre you don’t typically seek out. Another time, you might go for a different format such as an audiobook, an ebook, or a graphic novel. Resolving to broaden your reading this way could keep things interesting and you just might discover a new author, genre, or format you love in the process.
7. Visit Your Local Library.
If you don’t already make a habit of visiting your local library, you may want to resolve to start this year. As a librarian myself, I can tell you libraries have changed a lot in the last few years, so your local library may offer services you never would have expected. When you visit, be sure to chat with a librarian and find out which services your local library offers. Services like: Downloadable audiobooks, downloadable eBooks, electronic magazines, music and movies, events for kids (not just story time though those remain ever popular), events for adults (book discussion groups, author visits, and a wide variety of programs not necessarily related to books), computer classes, Internet access, 3D printing, interlibrary loan (where the library borrows books for you from other libraries), readers’ advisory services (if you like x, you may also like y and z), and reference services (help finding answers to your information questions).
8. Find a Buddy (or More) Willing to Trade Book Recommendations.
You have friends who like to read too, right? Resolve to talk with them regularly about what they’re reading and share what you’ve been reading. You may discover some books you can’t wait to read, and then you’ll be able to discuss your mutual favorites. You can do this in real life, as well as on Goodreads. When you become “friends” with someone on Goodreads, you’ll see the books they’ve been reading and recommending, and you’ll have the opportunity to comment, and they’ll see whenever you share that you’ve read a book, or reviewed one.
9. Have Children in Your Life? Resolve to Read with them Regularly.
Whether they’re you’re own kids, grandkids, or otherwise related, reading regularly with the children in your life helps to instill a love of reading likely to stay with them throughout their lives. Whether they’re babies, teenagers, or somewhere in between, it’s never to early or too late to read together. By sharing your time with them, it’s one more way of showing them just how much you care about them. Plus, I think you’ll find it can be great fun!
10. Review the Books You Read.
If you haven’t been in the habit of reviewing the books you read, consider making it a New Year’s resolution to start. Your reviews could help others find books they might enjoy, and in a year or two, when you’ve forgotten exactly what you liked about a given book, you can look back at your review and remind yourself. Reviews don’t have to be long. Simply write a paragraph or two answering some simple questions like the following and post your review online, perhaps on a retailer’s web site or on a site like Goodreads. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Who might enjoy this type of book? It doesn’t take long, and I think you’ll find you enjoy the process. I know writing reviews has made me think more deeply about the books I read and come to a better understanding of what I do and don’t like about them.
There you have it. Ten ideas for New Year’s Resolutions. Thanks for reading! So, did you decide to make a New Year’s Resolution this year? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. And while you’re here, consider subscribing to my blog to keep updated on new posts including book reviews, discussion questions, ideas for book groups, updates on my writing, and more.