13 Smart Reading Goals for Adults in 2023

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With a lot going on in our lives amidst the distraction, work, and many unpredictable things that eat our time, finding realistic reading goals for 2023 can be difficult.

In this article, I share over ten different reading goals for adults whether you can barely find the time to read or you are looking to spice up your reading habit a bit. I got you covered.

Let’s get started.

1.Read More Books

This is by far the most popular kind of goal that comes to mind when we hear the word set reading goals.

We are looking at how we can read more books.

A typical example will be in this year _____. I will read X number of books.

While reading more books is great we forget that all books are not the same in terms of the number of pages.

Considering the length of time we have available to read we must allocate books that we know we can finish within that time.

Here are a few quick tips to help you read more 

For every book, we want to read we must know how long it will take for us to read it.

Details such as

  • Number of pages 
  • Word count
  • Reading Time

A website that can do this for you is how long to read.

When you type in the name of the book you want to read It will show you the number of words in the book and the reading time assuming your average reading time is 300.

If you would like to know how long it will take you to read the text.

Scroll down the page and you will see a sample text from the book. When you read the text it will tell you your average word per minute and how long it will take you to read the book.

2. Read More Genres

It’s time to check out other genres aside from the ones you normally read.

A good way to do this is to start with books that are a combination of the kind of books you normally read with the genre you are trying to get into.

For example, If you normally read self-help motivational books and you are looking to start reading fiction, you can start with Paul Ceolho’s book The Alchemist.

The book is a fable that tells the story of a man chasing his dreams.

Another combination can be science fantasy and romance.

A good combination for sci-fi readers trying to read romance or romance readers trying to get into sci-fi.

This approach ensures a smooth transition between genres.

Here are the most popular genres

  • Romance
  • Mystery
  • Fantasy 
  • Science Fiction
  • Thrillers 
  • Horror
  • Young Adult
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Biography, Autobiography, and Memoirs
  • Self-help and Inspirational 

3. Read More Poetry

When people talk about reading goals most of the time it’s either fiction books or self-help books.

Reading Poetry has its benefits too.

While you can read single poems or poetry collections(books)

Aside from poetry being important, it is short and relatively quick to read compared to the other genres of literature.

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If you are new to reading poetry I would suggest you start with confessional poetry. A good example is Rupi Kaur Milk and Honey. While still using some figurative devices the average reader can understand what the poem is about.

If you want to read daily poetry these websites will send you a poem every day if you subscribe to their poem-a-day newsletter.

  • Poetry Foundation
  • Rattle poetry 
  • The Academy of American Academy.

They also have a large library of classic poems you can read.

4. Read More Short Books

In the previous paragraphs, I talked about reading more books. One of the ways of reading more books is to look for books that are short compared to the average, which means you get to read more books in less time.

A good example will be the novella by Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.

Reading short books creates a loop that works for you.

Since the books are short you get to finish them on time which then inspires you to finish more.

Progress is inspiring”

5. Listen to Audiobooks

Going to school and managing a blog has been time-draining for me.

I wasn’t reading as I used to because there was less time to read.

 Although there was less time to read I spent a lot of time on tasks that don’t require me to be mentally present. I couldn’t hold a book to read like when I was cooking, washing, etc.

In addition, there was a lot of time spent in transit going to classes. Time spent moving both on foot and otherwise.

I decided to download a free audiobook from LibriVox. It was two hours long. The Apology 

At first, I thought it would take me over a week to listen to but in two days I had finished listening to it. The time available was revealed to me.

Since then I have continued listening to audiobooks.

Listening to audiobooks helps me read two books every week amidst my busy schedule.

You can download free classic books in the public domain from LibriVox or get a contemporary and classic audiobook of your favorite author for free. When you sign up for a free trial with audible.

Two audiobooks I recommend

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield 
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear.

6. Spend More Time Reading

When we set goals the year slowly ticks away and we find ourselves in the middle of the year with no significant progress on the goals.

One primary reason is becauthaton’t set a time for reading.

“What gets scheduled gets done” – Michael Hyatt 

We talk about the number of books we are going to read but those books remain on the shelf without time for them.

I would suggest you set a small time you can always keep based on your lifestyle.

Start small

Let’s say you decide to read for twenty minutes a day and you have an average word per minute at 300 wpm you would be reading six thousand words every reading session.

At first glance, it does look like much but it is relatively higher than zero.

Progress is better than perfection. 

Perfection for you might be reading fifty thousand words but when the options you have are either slowly progressing or not. 

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It is wise to slowly progress.

7. Read Short Stories and Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction like every other genre of writing has grown to gain significance.

Reading flash fiction has a satisfying feeling as you can quickly finish them in as low as one minute to hours.

When people talk about their reading goals there is no spot for short stories and flash fiction.

This shouldn’t be the case. 

A tool that can help you compile these stories is Feedly.

Instead of moving from site to site. All you need do is choose the online magazines you like for their stories and add them to Feedly.

Whenever these sites publish a story you get them in one place in Feedly saving you time moving from site to site looking for their new stories.

8. Use a Reading Tracker

Earlier on  I did say that progress is inspiring.

 Keeping a reading tracker that has the number of books we have with other forms of data like the word count of books genres and format gives us an intuition into our reading life.

What gets measured gets improved“- Peter Drucker

There are two major types of reading tracker 

  • Streak tracker
  • Data tracker

For the streak tracker, you get to cross a calendar making sure not to break the chain. 

This is useful if the goal is fixed and the purpose of keeping a reading tracker is to build a reading habit.

There are many ways to track your reading streaks 

  • Physical paper tracker
    • Calendar method 
    • Paper method
  • Digital tracker: you can use a habit-tracking app like Habitify or habitica.

An example would be tracking your goal of reading twenty minutes daily or another example would be ten pages daily.

The data tracker has all the details, metrics, and whatever you choose to measure

There are a lot of ways to track your reading 

  • Use a spreadsheet
  • Use Notion
  • Use Goodreads
  • Use Reading tracker apps

An important tip is to make it simple for you to track these data. Simple is relative. What is simple for you might not be for me.

9. Keep a Reading Journal

Have you ever been in a situation where a book you have read is mentioned but you can’t remember anything from the book besides the title and maybe the author?

Our brain sometimes just needs a little spark to help us remember.

Keeping a journal helps us to review the book we have read and take note of key insights.

An example is the self-help genre we might fall into the habit of reading without intentionally setting time to write our action plan. Without doing this we might not get the desired result from reading the book.

What should I write for fiction

There are many things we can write in our reading journal based on our purpose of keeping the journal

Some of the things we can write down 

  • Characters: Take note of the characters that standout your favorites and what you love or hate about them
  • Dialogue Quotes: In Fiction, some quotes stand out in a book. Writing them down makes it easy for reference.

10. Participate in Reading Challenges

Reading challenges make reading fun. They help to spice up our reading. The most common reason why most who want to read but don’t finish books is that the book is not interesting. After a while, it might seem boring but with fun reading challenges once in a while we can spice up our reading list.

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Reading Challenges is another name for a reading goal that is usually out of the norm.

What are some good reading goals?

  1. Audiobook Challenge

This challenge is based on the goal of increasing our audiobook consumption.

You make it intentional to listen to more audiobooks.

You can get started with a free trial on audible.

2. Alphabet Soup

The goal of this reading challenge is to read books selected through the alphabet

Some of the reading challenges you can adopt.

Reading books all through the alphabet from A to Z.

11. Join a Book Club

We are all social beings.

You could either join an online book club or look for a physical book club

Joining a book club that specializes in the kind of books we read helps to take the time we spend on finding the right book to reading the right book. 

These book clubs do the work of finding books for you.

If you can’t find a book club you can find a reading partner whom you share your reading goals with and set a time to review the books you have read.

12. Increase Reading Speed

If you want to read more books at the same time, that is never enough.

How about you increase your reading speed?

Here are the stats.

An average reader reads 200-250 words per minute, what if your reading speed was double of the average reader?

You will be reading two times more books than you usually read.

13. Build a reading habit

Ultimately the goal is not to just read books but to be a lifelong reader.

For you to be called a reader you have to be continuously reading.

We can do this by repeatedly reading.

All the other goals combine to help you become a better reader

It is not enough to read 100 books a year. The question is: And then what?

What’s next after the challenge or goal?

A better approach would be to build an identity.

The identity of a reader through a reading habit.

At this point, it doesn’t matter if you read 150 books a year or if you read 50 books a year. 

What matters is that you are a Reader.


We have thus far looked at some good reading goals.

 While you can see these goals as independent goals it is better to see these goals as goals that work together to make you a better reader.

For some of the goals, you are already adopting in your reading life. 

Let me know which of the reading goals you are going to adopt.

Are there any reading goals you already adopt that are not on the list?

 I would love to hear from you let me know in the comment section.

Join 387 Writers

Every Friday I send you 

  • 3 Writing Prompts 
  • 1 Quote
  • And Update on My Writing Journey

By Onyemechi Nwakonam

Hi ,I write poetry and short prose. I am excited to help you organise your writing journey.

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