Should you set reading goals?

You may have heard others talk about their yearly reading goals, or maybe you’re one of those goal-setters. Whether it’s tracking the number of books through Goodreads or sampling different genres through a Pinterest challenge, there are many different types of reading goals.

Should you set reading goals? Are they really a good idea, or is it better to just read whatever and whenever?


  • Motivation: with something to work towards, you’re likely to be motivated! Some people treat themselves for accomplishing their goal, which is even more motivating.
  • Accountability: do you forget to read? Or maybe, you get caught up with your phone? Setting goals can act as reminders to pick up a novel and get to work.
  • Broadening horizons: when you’re reading more, you can read a variety of books across different genres. Reading books can make you more empathetic and knowledgeable.
  • Health: reading can help us unwind when we’re feeling anxious. This helps us fall asleep faster, and well-rested people tend to be happier and healthier people!


  • Deadlines: if your life is already stressful, adding another deadline to the mix could take a toll. Particularly ambitious goals are harder to accomplish, which only increases stress.
  • Restricting: challenges can be restricting. Trying to keep up with a challenge can take a negative toll on other aspects of your life. Challenges that encourage you to pick books based on prompts can feel particularly restricting if you’re not able to read books you’d normally want to grab.
  • Boring: you might feel forced to continue reading books you’re not too interested in. If you’re picking up the same genre of book for your reading challenge, the content can get repetitive.
  • Chore: for some people, starting a reading challenge just feels like another task. When something becomes an obligation rather than an activity for relaxation, it’s not nearly as enjoyable.


Set doable goals. Reading goals in moderation can motivate you. If something seems unattainable, you’re more likely find the challenge to be boring, stressful, and a chore. By setting a smaller and reasonable goal, you can remind yourself to read without feeling overwhelmed.

Ultimately, you know you best. If you can do 200 books in a year, go for it! If you hate deadlines and don’t count, go for that too. If you’ve been considering a reading goal, start a smaller goal than you would like and see how you do!

It’s always the right time to set a reading goal; you don’t need to wait for New Year’s! Do you already set reading goals or have you considered trying a reading challenge?

Beck, Julie. “The Adults Who Treat Reading Like Homework.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 6 June 2019,

Spatz, Steven. “Why You Should Set A Reading Goal For 2020.” BookBaby Blog, 5 Nov. 2019,

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