How I Get Ahead on My Goodreads Goal Each Year

Posted January 27, 2017 / Discussions, Features / 21 Comments

Image result for goodreads logoI talked last Friday about why I reduce my Goodreads challenge each year, but now I want to talk about how I always make sure I reach my Goodreads goal. I’ve never really struggled to make it happen each year and I thought people might appreciate learning how I do it. Some of these tips are similar to those in my post about breaking reading slumps during slow-reading months, so feel free to check that post out too!

Go H-A-M in January

I love to start my year with a bunch of reading, to be honest. Getting as ahead as possible as early as possible makes me feel SO GOOD. You can follow the rest of these tips (or the ones in the aforementioned post) to try to get ahead, but that’s my biggest thing. I read a lot of shorter, quick books in January so I start off on the right foot. You know you’re going to be scrambling in December to read a bunch of novellas and graphic novels to finish, so why wait? Eliminate the pressure by reading all those tiny books in January. I always find my reading re-invigorated at the beginning of the year once I sign up for challenges, so it helps to use that extra motivation when you have it. Do you know how good it feels to see “X books ahead” in the second week of January?! SO GOOD, okay? I’m currently 4 books ahead on my challenge and I love it.

Audiobooks forever

I almost always have an audiobook going. I love listening to them during my commute and countless other times of the day. I can even squeak in some audio rereads during work hours, because you don’t have to pay full attention to them. Listening to audiobooks always leads to more finished books for your challenge. Seriously, if I didn’t listen to audiobooks I would have a much smaller Goodreads goal and read so much less. I try to listen to 2-4 audiobooks per month, depending on their length, so I can get anywhere between 24 and 48 extra books each year. CRAZY. And even if you listen to just one audiobook a month, you’ll add 12 books to your Goodreads total. Honestly it’s kind of like magic.

Addicting series binge

In 2016, I binge-listened to A Series of Unfortunate Events. Those audiobooks are so quick – most are in the 2-6 hour range, give or take – so you can get through 13 books in like a month. I’m pretty sure that’s about how long it took me to get through all of them. I know reading a longer series would have taken longer, but sometimes being able to just roll from one book into the next can keep momentum going. Binging a series back-to-back (especially shorter books) pushed me WAY ahead on my Goodreads challenge. I loved seeing how far I was ahead until I hit my reading slump later in the year. I could have finished my challenge so much earlier if October went according to plan.

Mix up your TBR

2015-09-21 22.31.20I don’t know if she still does this, but I loved Andi’s method of TBR planning each month. Instead of coming up with a strict list of books to read, she would come up with general categories of books to choose from. It could look something like this:

  1. Backlist ARC
  2. New release
  3. YA contemporary
  4. Adult fiction
  5. Freebie
  6. Graphic novel
  7. Owned book
  8. Retelling
  9. Library book
  10. etc. etc.

You can come up with any kind of list categories that make sense for you. I tried it for a few months but found myself looking at the TBR afterward and just fitting books I just finished into the categories, instead of using the TBR to choose the books. I hope to find a good TBR method (or try this one again) in the near future to keep things interesting. Instead of forcing yourself to read every single ARC that you have “due,” falling into a slump because you’re not in the mood to read those books, and then repeating the cycle… you can be more flexible and spread things out.

Serial Reader

So I haven’t actually tried this out yet, but I’m thinking I will! I’ve seen this app called Serial Reader out and about lately. It will send classic literature to your phone in bite-sized pieces each day. For example, you could read The Picture of Dorian Gray every day for 20 minutes on the app. It’s a nice, low-pressure way of sneaking in some classics you may not otherwise read or have the attention span for. I like classics sometimes but it can be difficult to focus in on them. I love the small goal for each day, and the fact that the app gives you it so you’re not pressured to read ahead. It also tells you how many issues are in the book, so you know how many days it will take you to read! I just signed up and ADORE the setup of the app. So clean and pretty.


What do you think?

I know there aren’t a TON of ideas here, but all of these have been really helpful for me in the past. Getting ahead early can be such a relief for when the (often inevitable) reading slump happens. I love having less pressure to finish my challenge at the end of the year because I read ahead throughout. I hope the new ideas (like Serial Reader) help me get ahead too… and put more classics on my “read” list!

21 responses to “How I Get Ahead on My Goodreads Goal Each Year

  1. Serial Reader looks great! I just downloaded.

    And I’ve kept different formats of books on me lately. An audiobook, a physical book, and an e-book. Then I can seriously read constantly. Standing in line at the store? Ebook. Looks like I’m just checking notifications. Driving to and from the store, audiobook. It’s the best!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your first two points – audiobooks and get ahead early! It’s especially helpful as people get super busy later in the year. And audiobooks – think of all the things you can do while listening! Not to mention it’s lovely to do an unpleasant thing (like commute) surrounded by a good story.

    These are great tips, all of them!

  3. Like you I LOVE getting ahead when I can in January! I was able to do so this year because I went on vacation, and I think I’m 3 books ahead on my goal for the year so far (such a good feeling!) I can’t get into audiobooks but I sort of have a system like you where I always have an e-book on my phone going so that way if I get stuck somewhere without my book/kindle I still have something to read! I’ve also found that reading while working out has helped me stay on top of my challenges as well. I can’t do this during more rigorous workouts, but I can definitely squeeze in quite a bit of reading time while on the treadmill or elliptical.

    • Yes that’s awesome!! I love being ahead. I need to get better with mixing up my formats like that. Sometimes I have three books going at once and sometimes (right now) I only have one. lol

      I need to be better about working out in general because I love reading/listening to audiobooks during that time!

  4. This is great advice! I try not to worry about my Goodreads goal very much…I set it low anyway. But I do get frustrated about reading so slow these days (years?). I want to read all the books! I do always have a audiobook going and I sometimes pick out a shorter book on my TBR just to get through one more quickly. Thanks for the great post!

  5. This is my first time hearing about Serial Reader! I’ll have to check it out, though I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it. Hmm.

    This year, I set my GR challenge to 1. I’m having it not pressure me haha. But before, I would have to read a ton of graphic novels just to catch up! I also wish I was better with audiobooks, but I really can’t pay attention to them. Or else I would be listening every waking moment 🙂

    These are some really great tips Lauren!

    • Haha it can be hard to wait for the next issue if I’m into the story, but otherwise I like it!

      I need to do a better job of paying attention to audiobooks too lol I’m obsessed with a few podcasts right now though soooo audios are on the back burner!

  6. This is an awesome post, Lauren! I’m with you. I like to start off each year with a bang and get going fast so when I inevitably hit a slump or get super busy with life, it’s okay. And YES, love listening to audiobooks, although in January I spent most of the month relistening to an old favorite rather than starting a bunch of new ones. Serial reader sounds really great. I always put classics on my reading challenges each year, but I NEVER read them. And I definitely need to give Andi’s category TBR a shot. I love the idea!

  7. […] Over the last few years, I never really struggled with my Goodreads Challenge. The number was always achievable based on how I anticipated my life going in that calendar year, or how ~into~ blogging and reading I was at the time. I was 13 books ahead for most of 2016 because I binge-listened to the Series of Unfortunate Events on audio. It gave me so much wiggle room during the months I didn’t read as much. I even wrote a post about how I always get ahead on my goal and maintain it throughout the year. […]

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