Setting Reading Goals for 2022 and Accepting That Reading Habits Change

I'm seriously debating not having a reading goal for the first time since I was 13. Seeing how every year I read fewer and fewer books, it almost feels like a more depressing exercise than just accepting however many books I read on my own. My goal used to be 100 books a year, which I often beat by a solid margin, and I've spent the last few years wondering what was wrong with me because I never come anywhere close anymore. After I missed my goal of 100 books for the first time in my first year of college, I lowered it to 50 books for this year. I still didn't manage to meet that, and I finished 40 books.

2021 was my biggest failure with reading ever, and while I don't feel great about it, I understand why it happened this way. For starters, 2021 was my first year back in in-person school since halfway through ninth grade, which makes a major impact. I had less time to slip in 15-30 minute reading breaks throughout the day with a longer walking commute and not always being able to carry a book around. Also, 2021 was the first year in a while that I went to two semesters of school. In 2020, I started school again in the fall after finishing my gap year, and the year before that, I had a job that required far fewer hours than school, and I had more reading bandwidth because I wasn't finishing academic texts for college or high school courses. The final hurdle for this year was the lack of access to a library once I moved to LA. I tried to use the digital library as much as possible, but there was often long waitlists, and I get so much reading inspiration from wandering through the shelves. My neighborhood doesn't have a public library and my university doesn't stock non-academic books which was really upsetting and made reading even more difficult to keep going.  

So with everything going on in 2021, I understand why I did so little reading as compared to years past, I still would like to do better in 2022. I am happier, more creative, and more inspired when I'm reading regularly. I don't want to let my life to get too hectic to make time to read, and I also don't want to let my difficulty navigating between age categories scare me away from reading more often. 

In 2022, I want to do a better job of having an actual TBR lined up and schedule reading into my week to try to solve my main issues from this year. While not having a library where I can go gather a big TBR pile makes it more tricky, I want to start developing a long list of books I'd be happy to read so that I always have something lined up to read next that fits my mood and makes sure I'll be able to find an available digital loan. Also, I've found that I take things much more seriously when I write them down as tasks in my bullet journal, so since I'm not taking classes on Mondays or Fridays this semester, I'm going to set aside half an hour to an hour to read at least those two days a week. I don't love being held to an appointment for my hobbies, but I want to officially make the time for what's important. 

I want to keep up my general hold on book buying from 2021. I bought so many books when I was a younger teen to take cool blog photos and have new books for book hauls and bookstagram, but then I found I was drowning in books that I was never going to read again which felt wasteful. Now living in a small apartment, I get overwhelmed with a stack of ten books sitting on my floor. I don't need to bring more into my space. I did indulge in the Barnes and Noble 50% off sale to enjoy some books for the end of break and for when I come back to my parent's in the summer, but at least during the school year, unless I visit an indie bookstore, I don't want to buy more physical books. 

I guess the one question remains. Will I set a solid number of books as a reading goal in 2022? I want to reflect on my reading goals over the year to try to help guide this new goal. 

Number of Books I've Read By Year All The Years I've Tracked Them:

The Last 6 Months of 2016: 26 books

2017: 120 books; 37,626 pages 

2018: 117 books; 40,519 pages

2019: 89 books; 30,220

2020: 75 books; 24,878 pages

2021: 40 books; 13,760

Looking back at the data, I did find it interesting that there were only about 8,000 pages between the year I read 120 books vs 89 books and also one year that I read three fewer books, I actually finished more pages read. It just further proves that sheerly going by the total number of books doesn't quantify much. Also, since I've started reading fewer books, I've been reading way more 4 and 5 star books because I'm not going to waste my limited time on a book I don't love just so I can put it on the spreadsheet which has been a huge positive change. 

Despite the somewhat arbitrary nature, though, I feel like it's good to have a mark to work towards, and since I want to make reading a priority again, I'm not going to lower last year's goal even though I didn't reach it. I will do my best to read 50 books in 2022, and I won't judge myself if I don't make it. I do heaps of reading I don't track for school, and the number of books read isn't a race, even though seeing everyone's sky high numbers does provoke a more competitive side of myself. I also am going to let go of judging my reading habits by my past self. 

I have to constantly remind myself that 14 year old me lived a very different life than 18 year old me. Back then, I had a much more flexible schedule and entirely free summers entirely devoted to sitting on the couch with a stack of books, finishing multiple in a day sometimes. I used to run a stopwatch while I read to see how long it would take me because I had giant chunks of time to read instead of going a couple pages at a time. Also, my entire focus outside of school at that age was building my book blog, researching book releases, and reviewing books. Reading was my #1 priority, and I treated it like a job. Now with my music blog, college, other writing gigs, and YouTube, I have so many other commitments to juggle that require significant time that I just don't have the same exclusive devotion to books that I did. 

I can't jump in a time machine, but I can make small steps towards making reading and, for that matter, writing, bigger priorities in 2022. Going into the new year, I want to stop letting this blog fall by the wayside, even though I'm less in the book world than I was. I love this blog, this community, and books as much as ever, and I'm excited to find ways to expand the scope of the blog so that it fits into my life better now. I redesigned the look of the blog in 2021, but in 2022, I want to fully embrace a new direction, and I'm excited to see where it goes. 

Let's see if I can get close to this year's goal. It only takes around 4 books a month, which feels much more manageable. 

More on Reading, Writing, and Me...

21 (Almost) Best Books of 2021 

Margot Mertz Takes It Down Review

Daisy Jones and the Six Review

My Year of Rest and Relaxation Review

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