March 8, 2024 - 14 min read

20 SMART Reading Goals and Strategies to Stick to Them

SMART Reading Goals.
Nicolas Moore
Nicolas Moore Growth Mindset Expert

Do you ever start a book filled with excitement, only to abandon it a few chapters later? Or perhaps you make a resolution to “read more” every year, but the books just keep piling up?

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! But with the right approach, you can achieve all your reading aspirations.

In this article, we’ll tackle SMART reading goals and give you strategies to make them part of your routine for good.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go."

SMART goals to read Dr. Seuss

20 SMART Reading Goals Examples

Goal setting can get tricky, so here are some examples to inspire you.

These goals follow the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), which we’ll discuss in more detail later in the article.

For now, see if any of these resonate with you, and use them as a starting point for your own reading journey!

SMART goals to improve reading skills

1. Read one non-fiction book per month.

Expand your knowledge and explore new topics by diving into a non-fiction book each month.

  • S: Focus on non-fiction books.
  • M: Read one complete book in a month.
  • A: Start with shorter books to ensure it’s achievable.
  • R: Contributes to overall reading habit and learning goals.
  • T: Aim to finish one book by the end of each month.

2. Finish an audiobook during my commute.

Make the most of your commute time by transforming it into a learning experience.

  • S: Focus on audiobooks.
  • M: Finish one complete audiobook during your commutes.
  • A: Choose audiobooks based on your commute length.
  • R: Increases your reading exposure in a convenient way.
  • T: Set a goal to finish one audiobook within a specific period (e.g., two weeks).

3. Read 20 pages of a classic novel each night.

Explore the timeless works of literature and make steady progress with consistent reading.

  • S: Focus on classic novels.
  • M: Read 20 pages every night.
  • A: Start with a classic you find intriguing.
  • R: Builds your familiarity with classic literature.
  • T: Set a daily reading habit before bed.

4. Join a book club and participate in discussions.

Connect with other readers, gain new perspectives, and broaden your reading horizons.

  • S: Join a book club (online or in-person).
  • M: Read the selected book and actively participate in discussions.
  • A: Find a club aligned with your interests.
  • R: Expands your reading choices and deepens your understanding.
  • T: Commit to the club’s reading schedule and meeting dates.

5. Try one new genre every quarter.

Step outside your reading comfort zone and discover something unexpectedly amazing.

  • S: Focus on exploring new genres (e.g., sci-fi, mystery, historical fiction).
  • M: Read one book from a new genre each quarter (3 months).
  • A: Ask for recommendations from friends, librarians, or online communities.
  • R: Broadens your reading interests and might lead to new favorites.
  • T: Set a quarterly deadline for exploring the new genre.

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one."

SMART reading goals examples George R.R. Martin

6. Complete a reading challenge.

Gamify your reading experience and add a sense of accomplishment.

  • S: Find a reading challenge that appeals to you (there are many online).
  • M: Complete the specific requirements of the challenge.
  • A: Choose a challenge that aligns with your reading level and interests.
  • R: Motivates you to read more and try different types of books.
  • T: Challenges typically have a set timeframe for completion.

7. Listen to a literary podcast.

Expand your knowledge of books and authors in an engaging way.

  • S: Find a literary podcast that aligns with your interests.
  • M: Listen to at least one podcast episode per week.
  • A: There are many podcasts to choose from, covering various genres and topics.
  • R: Exposes you to new authors and books you might not otherwise discover.
  • T: Set a weekly listening schedule.
What are good smart goals examples

8. Read a book by an author from a different cultural background.

Expand your worldview and gain new perspectives through literature.

  • S: Seek out authors from cultures and backgrounds different from your own.
  • M: Read at least one book by an author from a different cultural background.
  • A: Utilize online resources, bookstore recommendations, or library displays for discovery.
  • R: Enhances understanding and promotes cross-cultural empathy.
  • T: Set a deadline to finish the book within a reasonable timeframe (e.g., one month).

9. Re-read a favorite childhood book.

Reconnect with a beloved story and see how your perspective has changed.

  • S: Choose a specific childhood favorite book.
  • M: Re-read the entire book from cover to cover.
  • A: Find a cozy spot and allow yourself to immerse in the nostalgia.
  • R: Rekindles a sense of joy and offers a new appreciation as an adult reader.
  • T: Set a comfortable timeframe to complete the re-read.

10. Start a reading journal.

Document your reading journey, track your thoughts, and discover patterns in your reading preferences.

  • S: Find a journal or notebook you like, or use a digital note-taking app.
  • M: Write a short entry after finishing each book.
  • A: Start with simple notes on your reactions, favorite quotes, or key takeaways.
  • R: Helps you process your reading and become a more mindful reader.
  • T: Make journal writing a regular part of your post-reading routine.

11. Attend a book signing or author event.

Connect with your favorite author or discover new writers that inspire you.

  • S: Find out about upcoming author events in your area or online.
  • M: Attend at least one author event within a designated timeframe.
  • A: Check bookstores, libraries, or community centers for event listings.
  • R: Provides a unique way to engage with the literary world and learn more about the writing process.
  • T: Choose an event date and make necessary arrangements (e.g., tickets, transportation).

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."

SMART goal to read more Frederick Douglass

12. Create a dedicated reading space.

Designate a special area in your home where you can relax and escape into a good book.

  • S: Choose a quiet corner or a cozy spot in your home.
  • M: Set up comfortable seating, good lighting, and minimal distractions.
  • A: Personalize the space with comfortable blankets, pillows, or items that inspire you.
  • R: Encourages more frequent reading sessions and creates a positive association with the activity.
  • T: Set a deadline to have your space organized and ready for use.

13. Donate gently used books.

Share your love of reading with others and make space for new literary adventures.

  • S: Collect books you’ve read and are ready to pass on.
  • M: Donate a designated number of books to a library, school, or a local charity.
  • A: Ensure the books are in good condition.
  • R: Helps spread the joy of reading and supports literacy initiatives.
  • T: Choose a specific date to drop off your book donations.

14. Learn the basics of speed reading.

Increase your reading efficiency without sacrificing comprehension.

  • S: Find resources on speed reading techniques (there are books, courses, and apps).
  • M: Practice techniques regularly and track your reading speed improvement.
  • A: Start with short texts or articles for practice.
  • R: Allows you to consume more information in less time.
  • T: Set a timeframe to learn the basics and see a noticeable improvement.

15. Read a collection of short stories.

Enjoy the versatility of short-form fiction and discover new writing styles.

  • S: Choose a short story collection by a specific author or within a particular genre.
  • M: Complete the entire collection.
  • A: Short stories are great for fitting into shorter reading sessions.
  • R: Exposes you to various writing styles and narrative structures.
  • T: Set a realistic timeframe to finish the entire collection.

16. Gift a book to a friend or family member.

Spread the joy of reading and share a story you love with someone.

  • S: Think of a friend or family member who would enjoy a particular book.
  • M: Purchase a copy of the book and gift it to them.
  • A: Consider their interests and reading preferences.
  • R: Encourages a shared love of reading and might spark interesting conversations.
  • T: Choose a special occasion for your book gifting (birthday, holiday, or just because).
SMART goals reading

17. Read a book in a foreign language.

Challenge yourself and improve your language skills while enjoying a new story.

  • S: Choose a book in a language you are learning or want to brush up on.
  • M: Read the entire book, making use of translation tools when necessary.
  • A: Start with a book at your current language level or slightly above.
  • R: Builds vocabulary and helps you understand the language in a more natural context.
  • T: Set a realistic timeframe for completion, depending on your language skills and the book’s length.

18. “Read” a graphic novel.

Expand your definition of reading and explore the unique storytelling of this visual medium.

  • S: Choose a graphic novel based on your interests or recommendations.
  • M: “Read” the entire graphic novel, paying attention to both the artwork and text.
  • A: Don’t underestimate the depth and thought-provoking nature of graphic novels.
  • R: Provides a different reading experience and might expand your understanding of storytelling.
  • T: Set aside a dedicated time to focus on enjoying the graphic novel.

19. Visit an independent bookstore.

Support local businesses and discover hidden literary gems.

  • S: Find an independent bookstore in your area or while traveling.
  • M: Spend time browsing and purchase at least one book.
  • A: Ask for recommendations from the staff to find unique choices.
  • R: Helps support local bookstores and diversifies your reading selection.
  • T: Plan a visit within a set timeframe.

20. Unplug and read for an entire hour without distractions.

Rediscover the simple pleasure of focusing completely on a book.

  • S: Find a quiet place and turn off all electronic devices.
  • M: Read for one full hour without interruptions.
  • A: Choose a book you’re eager to dive into.
  • R: Reawakens your focus and enhances your reading enjoyment.
  • T: Schedule a dedicated distraction-free reading hour.

Bonus Tool 😮

If none of the above goals quite hit the mark, don’t worry! You can easily create personalized reading goals that perfectly match your interests and needs.

Free SMART Goal Generator!

Importance of the SMART Goals

You might be bursting with new ideas after seeing our list of reading goals, but how do you turn that initial excitement into lasting progress? The key is to create well-defined goals that provide direction and maintain your motivation.

That’s where the concept of SMART goals becomes incredibly powerful. Let’s explore why SMART goals are essential for achieving your reading aspirations and the specific benefits they bring.

Why SMART Goals Matter for Reading Success

Beyond helping you set effective goals, the SMART framework offers several advantages that enhance your entire reading experience. SMART goals boost your motivation by providing clear targets and achievable milestones.

They eliminate confusion, ensuring you always know what to focus on and how to track your progress. Additionally, SMART goals encourage consistency, helping you develop lasting reading habits.

Achieving your goals brings satisfaction, making reading even more enjoyable. Most importantly, SMART reading goals fuel your personal growth, expanding your knowledge and broadening your perspectives.

People who read for just 6 minutes a day can reduce their stress levels by up to 68%. (Source: University of Sussex)

Benefits of SMART Reading Goals

Beyond helping you set effective goals, the SMART framework offers several advantages that enhance your entire reading experience. Here are some key benefits you can expect:

  • Increased Motivation: The clarity and achievability of SMART goals make them incredibly motivating. Each milestone you reach reinforces your commitment and makes you eager to keep going.
  • Clear Direction: SMART goals eliminate confusion and guesswork. You always know exactly what you’re working towards and how to measure your progress.
  • Improved Reading Habits: SMART goals naturally encourage consistency. By focusing on specific, manageable targets, you cultivate lasting reading habits that become part of your routine.
  • Enhanced Enjoyment: Achieving your reading goals provides a deep sense of satisfaction, making the reading experience even more fulfilling and enjoyable.
  • Personal Growth: SMART reading goals extend beyond just finishing books. They help you expand your knowledge, discover new perspectives, and contribute to your overall personal development.

Setting SMART reading goals is an ongoing process. Evaluate your progress regularly, adjust goals as needed, and celebrate your achievements along the way!

SMART goals for reading books

Strategies to Stick to Your Goals

Now that you’ve established your SMART reading goals, it’s time to make them stick!

Let’s explore some practical strategies to stay motivated, on track, and achieve the reading success you desire.

1. Break Down Your Goals into Manageable Chunks

Big goals can be intimidating. Instead of focusing on reading an entire book in a week, think in smaller increments. For example, set daily or weekly page count targets, or commit to reading for a set amount of time each day.

Smaller milestones make progress feel more attainable and boost motivation.

2. Schedule Your Reading Time

Treat your reading time like an important appointment. Schedule dedicated blocks in your calendar for reading, whether it’s 20 minutes before bed, during your commute, or over a leisurely weekend brunch. Protecting this time makes it more likely to happen.

3. Find an Accountability Buddy

Share your goals with a supportive friend or family member. Check in with them regularly to discuss your progress. Knowing someone is rooting for you (and might even ask about your reading) provides extra motivation to stay on track.

You could even join a book club for built-in accountability!

4. Reward Yourself

Celebrate your reading milestones, no matter how small. Set rewards for yourself, like buying a new book, enjoying a relaxing bath while reading, or treating yourself to a cozy coffee.

Anticipating these rewards makes reaching your goals even more enticing.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust

Life happens, and sometimes you need to be flexible. If a goal becomes too difficult or your circumstances change, don’t give up entirely. Simply reassess your goal using the SMART criteria to make it more manageable or realistic.

Be kind to yourself and remember that progress, even if slow, is still progress.

"Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary."

SMART goals for reading examples Jim Rohn


Setting SMART reading goals and committing to proven strategies lays the foundation for a fulfilling and enriching reading journey. By embracing specific goals, tracking your progress, and staying motivated, you’ll transform your relationship with books.

You’ll expand your horizons, cultivate knowledge, and unlock the power of personal growth through reading.

Next Steps

  • Choose Your Goals: If you haven’t already, take some time to define 2-3 reading SMART goals that excite you. You can use our list for inspiration or even try our SMART Goal Generator!
  • Choose Your Strategies: Select a few strategies that resonate with you and will support your goals. Start small and see what works best.
  • Start Reading! The most important step is to pick up a book and start! With your goals and strategies in place, you’re well on your way to achieving all your reading aspirations.

Remember, reading is a journey, not a race. Enjoy the process, celebrate your victories, and embrace learning along the way. Happy Reading!

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