Behind on Your 2021 Reading Goal? Here Are 5 Tips to Help You Get Back on Track

The nearing end of the spring semester means more stress and a desperate need to relax for many students. With the stressors of the pandemic on top of this, we find solace in distracting ourselves with short-form, digestible content that keeps us scrolling for hours. We often forget the benefits of reading and how it can help alleviate stress through hard times. Whether you are deciding to read a lighthearted novel for pleasure, a non-fiction book to learn something new, or even if you find it hard to concentrate on your readings for class, here are a few helpful tips to help you keep up with your reading goals, even on a busy schedule. 

  1. 1. Audiobooks

    Audiobooks are a favorite of everyday readers, and it’s easy to see why. I was skeptical at first after seeing the hours of listening time required to actually finish an audiobook; but after finally giving them a try, I was quickly converted. Instead of booting up Spotify when I would clean my room, drive, or do other mindless chores, I would pop in my headphones and be able to finish huge chunks of a book without ever reading a page. If you’re someone like me who has trouble fitting reading into your busy schedule, audiobooks are a great option for any on-the-go reader. 


    You can access audiobooks for free through your local library using the Libby app. If your library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, or if you are looking to purchase instead, will give money to your local bookstore with each audiobook that you purchase.

  2. 2. Make It a Habit (and Break Some Old Ones)

    Woman Reading book in bed with coffee

    This may sound easier said than done, but one of the best ways to read more is to make it a habit. Finding even 15 free minutes in your schedule can help you to read every day. Some of the best times to start are in the morning while you eat breakfast, or at night before you go to bed. You’d be surprised how much reading you can get done in a week just by carving a little time out for yourself each day! Reading can also help break you out of a nasty screen time habit. Opting for a book instead of your phone before bed can help cut down on your time online and save you some much-needed sleep.

  3. 3. Keep a Book on You at All Times

    person holding an open book in front of their face

    If you’re constantly on the go, carrying a book with you is a great way to get some reading in. Whether you’re on the train, waiting for class to start, or in a long line, instead of your phone, pick up a book! If you find it hard to carve out time to read, this is a great way to fit some pages in on your busy schedule. Even if you can only finish a few at a time, those pages can really add up.

  4. 4. Start Out Small

    Person in a bathtub with lemons and herbs reading

    Many people shy away from books because they perceive them as long, wordy, and even boring. If your TBR (to be read) pile is a mile high, reading again may seem like a daunting task. Start out with a small, light novel to get yourself back on track. You can also try re-reading a book you liked; That way you can motivate yourself to start reading more. Work your way up to bigger and denser books when you’re ready to!

  5. 5. Don't Be Afraid to Put a Book Down

    This tip helped me so much when it came to reaching my reading goals. Oftentimes I found myself in a rut with a book, where I’d either reach a slow point in the story or wasn’t enjoying the book in general. Don’t be afraid to put it down! Think of it this way-- you’ll read more with a book you actually enjoy than forcing yourself to read a page of one you don’t. Put the book down for a bit and come back to it later. If you really don’t like it, don’t be afraid to say goodbye to it and find another option!

Starting to read again can be overwhelming, especially if you feel like you don't have much free time. But it doesn't have to be! Finding new ways to read and making time for books can help you to fall in love with them all over again.