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Setting and Reaching Your Reading Goals

What's your reading goal?
Many Fable readers love to set annual reading goals, planning everything from how many books they will read next year to the kinds of books they will choose.We couldn’t be more excited to kick off the year with a new feature called “Reading Goals,” where you can organize your 2024 aspirations and insert the number of books you plan on reading in the new year on your Fable profile. Let’s talk about the many benefits of setting a reading goal, as well as my advice for readers who are scared they won’t be able to reach their goals.

How to set a reading goal on Fable

If you want to try setting a no-pressure reading goal for 2024, just open the Fable app on your smartphone or tablet. Next, tap the “Profile” icon at the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Finally, select "Set your 2024 reading goal" that suits your reading aspirations.Every time a book is added to your “Finished List,” your Reading Goal is automatically updated to reflect the number of books you’ve completed.

What is a reading goal?

Much like the name states, a “reading goal” is a goal you set for how many books you will read in the year.    When did this become such a huge thing? Honestly, I don’t think there’s an exact date I could point to, but I’m sure Booktok and other social media platforms have had a huge part in its skyrocketing popularity. Typically, readers set their reading goal for the new year in the first week of January - for some, this might be 25 books, 100, 300, or even more.   With our ever-growing community of readers connecting through social media, sharing your reading goals with your mutuals and following up with their own has become increasingly popular. For some, seeing a friend or favorite influencer set a specific reading goal can be a reference point for their own, or some might even try to follow along with this person.

What’s the purpose of a reading goal?

Whether you’re a new reader setting a reading goal in the hopes of reading more or a long-time bookworm trying to get through your never-ending To Be Read (TBR) pile, a reading goal can be beneficial for all.  Decades of research has proven that reading is a simple yet powerful tool to improve our fluency, speech, and reading comprehension. Ever since you were a child, gaining phonological awareness with every new page, the art of reading has improved your life.   In fact, your grade school teachers set some crucial goals that had a significant impact on your development, according to this research report:

“Phonological awareness facilitates growth in printed word recognition. Even before a student learns to read, we can predict with a high level of accuracy whether that student will be a good reader or a poor reader by the end of third grade and beyond.”

No matter what kind of measurable reading goal you set, you will unlock several literacy superpowers. You can read more about the benefits of reading on our blog, but here are a few key things you can gain with goal setting for reading.Furthermore, having a reading goal will likely mean you’ll be reading every day, or at least every few days, leading to improved memory and cognitive development. Not only does reading help our intelligence evolve, but it has also been proven to help tremendously with mental health. Studies show that reading is one of the most significant ways to unwind and destress, as it can “relax your body by lowering your heart rate and ease the tension in your muscles.” This was proven in a 2009 study at the University of Sussex, where they found that “reading can reduce stress by up to 68%.”    Padma Warrior founded Fable to help people reap the benefits of reading. By combining community and reading, Fable has become the “common room” for bookworms where they can come to replenish their mental battery before returning to the real world.   

Setting a SMART reading goal

If you need help creating great expectations for your personal reading, writer Christian Soschner recommends creating a “SMART goal.” That’s an acronym teachers and academics use as they set education standards. It stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely” reading goals. Soschner shared his personal reading goal in the article, a great model for setting your personal milestones: “By the end of the year, I will have accomplished reading 52 books. Each book will have a review written by me on Medium.”You can also put your reading goal visible in real life. Soschner ensured he sees his goal daily: “It’s printed out in my bedroom. So whenever I go to bed, it reminds me to read a few pages.”

The potential disadvantages of setting a reading goal

Much like with any other type of goal, it can be incredibly disappointing and discouraging when we get to the end of the year and realize we could not accomplish our goals. And while this should never be the case - you should always be proud of your progress, whether you reached that goal or not! - some readers can find themselves comparing their own achievements to those of others.    What’s important to realize when we set goals for ourselves is that no one person is the same. Everyone reads at a different pace, we have different tastes, and most importantly, we have different lives. Students, parents, workers, and so on - we all have different schedules, and for some, this means more reading time than others - that’s OK. It’s normal. I can certainly empathize with comparing your reading accomplishments to those of others, especially with social media being such a huge part of the reader community now. We scroll on TikTok, Instagram, or even YouTube to enjoy a break and watch some content we love, only to find ourselves comparing the six books we’ve read in the month to the 30 books another person has read. And I know this comparison might not be something that all readers do, but it exists nonetheless.    If you ever find yourself comparing your reading achievements to those of others, simply remind yourself that you’re doing what you can with the time you’re given, and that’s enough to be proud of. The mere fact that you even have the time to read is an achievement in and of itself. Reading should never be a competition; rather, it should be a hobby that comforts us (which I know it does for many readers). It’s easy to get carried away and turn this hobby into a race when you set a reading goal for yourself but try to remember that you have complete control over that goal - it’s not set in stone. If something happens in your life and you realize that you won’t be able to reach your initial goal, simply adjust it to what is more doable for you at this time in your life. 

How can I catch up on my reading goal?

Goal setting varies from reader to reader, depending on their moods, schedules, and lifestyles, so while these tips might not necessarily work for everyone, they are certainly a place to start.   
1. Read shorter books.
This is a bit obvious, but if you’re trying to catch up on your reading goal, reading shorter books is one way to do it. Reading books that are between 150-200 pages will take far less time than reading a book that is 350-550, but still reap all the vocabulary, comprehension, and language benefits of literacy. If you like graphic novels and/or manga, these are also great ways to increase your reading count! I’ve compiled a list of short books, which you can find here.  
2. Re-read a favorite book.
Yes, I do believe that re-reads count as “one book read.” I re-read my favorite book (Small Favors by Erin A. Craig) earlier in the year, which counted towards my reading goal. Reading something you know you love and are familiar with can be a great way to advance your reading goal, decoding the secrets of those familiar sentences. Although, this might not be for everyone as re-reading a book could be more “boring” to some than others.  
3. Read books in different formats.
Audiobooks are REAL books! Ebooks are REAL books! It is not just physical books that count. All types of books count towards a reading goal. Are you a busy parent who needs to do chores? Listen to an audiobook while you vacuum or while you’re grocery shopping. Commuting to work or school on the bus and didn’t bring your book? Start reading and annotating on Fable to keep up with your goal!   
4. Read with others
Reading with friends or in a book club can be incredibly motivating. Not only do you have to follow a schedule (i.e., read a particular book by the end of the month), but you’re doing so with other people. It helps with your reading goal but also helps with your mental health as you find a sense of community and home through a book club. Consider joining a book club on Fable today to keep up with your reading goal.   

Keep reading on Fable

The Fable app is built for social reading, with tools for sharing highlights, comments, insights, links, pictures, and videos as you set measurable reading goals. We also make it easy to launch your free book club. With our platform, you can host every aspect of an online discussion at a single destination to reach readers and build safe online communities regardless of location or time zone.
Start your own book club today!
You can also discover your new favorite book by exploring thousands of book lists on Fable, decoding your personal taste with our guided recommendations. It’s easy to make your own list as well!
Make a great book list.
Just finished reading a book and have the urge to share your thoughts with the world? It’s time to write your review and highlight your favorite sentences! You can also import your Goodreads reviews to your Fable account!
Rate and review your favorite books

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